Spanish Table Seattle Newsletter October 8, 2009
One of our most memorable trips began in Sevilla, in southern Spain, during the Feria de Abril. We reveled along with the Sevillanos, drinking copas of fino sherry and eating plate after plate of jamon serrano. When we could take no more, we headed north towards Madrid, stopping in Cordoba for lunch. Our hedonistic trip eventually ended in the Languedoc, where we foraged and dined on the rich bounty of southern France.
If ever near the city of Cordoba, do not hesitate to dine at El Churrasco Restaurant. One of the most popular tabernas in the city, the tapas bar showcases coolers full of meat and stacks of fresh vegetables.Cheese The dining room bustles with waiters juggling plates of grilled lamb and fish. One of El Churrasco’s signature dishes is eggplant, sliced, delicately fried and seasoned. We’ve never found vegetables anywhere outside of Andalucía that are so perfectly prepared! Click on El Churrasco’s website link to view their menu: http://www.elchurrasco.com/espanol/restaurante/espanol.htm
Our final stop was in Limoux, France to visit our friend Héléne’s relatives. The Languedoc region is a foragers’ dream, with asparagus and mushrooms growing wild alongside the road, rivers full of fish and pastures full of snails, ready to be gathered. One can live off the land in southern France very, very well. And the village of Limoux is famous for its production of Blanquette de Limoux sparkling wines. Locals claim that fermentation in the bottle was developed here before it was used in the Champagne region.
We were fortunate to be invited to Héléne’s grandparents house near Carcassone for a langorous and memorable lunch. Tossed greens from the garden were followed by fish caught by grandpa, served with mayonnaise made from grandma’s own eggs. A small hen was roasted and served with a sauce of foraged porcini mushrooms. Uncle Andre and cousin Xavier who are winemakers, brought their Corbieres red wines to serve with lunch. A blend of Carignan, Syrah and Grenache, the wine was so delicious that we brought some bottles home to enjoy in Seattle. Those were the glory days, when security didn’t bat an eye at a few bottles of wine in the hand luggage!
Welcome to Isaac Rivera, our new manager! Isaac has been a great asset to our Santa Fe store for the last three years and, ready to live in a larger city, he moved to Seattle this week to take over as store manager. Isaac was a chef at Charlie Trotter’s Restaurant in Chicago, then worked in the wine business, and is, not surprisingly, an avid cook. Isaac is an expert on olive oils — the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper published his in-depth article on the subject. Feel free to ask him for any recipe advice, or help with any food or wine-related questions.
NEW WINES FROM SPAIN
NV Vilarnau Brut Cava, Penedes ($14.99) Vilarnau is owned by the Gonzalez Byass family and is a crown jewel among their wine producing properties. Vilarnau’s vineyards are situated in the highest area of the Penedes region and the cooler temperatures contribute to a slower maturation of the grapes and higher acidity. Made from 100% estate-grown fruit which is uncommon in Penedes, Vilarnau has aromas of toasted brioche and citrus flavors. Soft mouth-filling bubbles and zesty acidity spill out of the glass and provide a lot of pleasure for the dollar.
2008 Abadal Picapoll, Pla de Bages ($19.99) Spanish Table exclusive!
Picapoll is the Spanish name for the grape called Picpoul in French, which translates to “lip stinger.” That unfortunate translation is not at all discriptive of the Abadal Picapoll which has ripe pear flavors, a rich texture and energetic acidity. Round and full-bodied, Abadal is an elegant white wine with notes of sea shell and subtle mineral notes which make for a clean, interesting finish. This is a great wine to serve in the fall with cheese or rich cream sauces.
2005 Banda Azul Crianza Rioja ($11.99) This silky Rioja has legions of fans in Spain and America. Very traditional in style, Banda Azul spends 18 months in used oak barrels, which give it a refined earthiness. It’s bright red cherry fruit is medium-bodied, balanced by vibrant acidity. This is a great choice for those who like a wine low in tannin and Banda Azul is exactly the type of wine you’d be served by the glass in a Spanish tapas bar.
2007 M1 Monastrell, Valencia ($9.99) From the region of Valencia, M1 is full-bodied and fresh with great concentration. With silky tannins and notes of mineral, it has a smooth and persistent finish with flavors of cacao. Made of 100% Monastrell, M1 is a great choice to serve with a cheese and fruit plate.
2008 Quo Grenache, Campo de Borja ($9.99) Quo is a fruity melange of strawberry and red cherry flavors and a pure expression of Grenache. Dry and medium-bodied with an exotic spicy black pepper edge, it is delicious with spicy Mexican foods, such as carne adovada.
LIMITED PRODUCTION WINES
2004 Roquette E Cazes Xisto, Douro ($63.00) 1000 cases are produced by this venture between renowned Bordelais wine producer Jean-Michael Cazes and Jorge Roquette, owner of the Quinto do Crasto estate in Douro. 2004 was a classic Douro vintage with perfect harvesting conditions. The wine’s name “Xisto” refers to the schist soils in its steep, terraced vineyards. Powerful and opulent, nuanced and complex, Xisto has muscle and staying power. Elegant and supple tannins provide backbone for this rich and lengthy effort.
6 bottles available
RED WINES FROM FRANCE
2006 Domaine Grand Lauze La Mariole Vin de Pays D’Oc ($12.99)
We were thrilled to locate the wines of Hélène’s uncle right here in Seattle! The vineyards are subject to the burning heat of the Midi and the grapes subsequently ripen to perfection. Grand Lauze is biodynamic and the grapes are hand harvested. A blend of 80% Carignan, 15% Grenache, 3% Marselan and 2% Syrah from vines averaging 105 years old, La Mariole is medium-bodied and rich with a hint of smoke. Silky smooth tannins lead into a wonderfully finessed finish. Highly recommended!
Cuvée Occitane, Vin de Pays D’Oc ($19.99) From the Languedoc Roussillon region of France, Cuvee Occitane is a blend of 45% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 15% Mourvèdre and 10% Carignan. Loaded with rich, ripe red fruits, it has an earthy character and is deep and voluptuous. Aged 9 months in French oak, it has terrific balance, notes of chocolate and spice, and a lingering, dry finish.
2003 Château Coutelin-Merville Cru Bourgeois, St Estephe ($27.99) This was my favorite wine at our French tasting dinner last weekend! A left bank Bordeaux, it is a blend of 50% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Petit Verdot, 30% of which has been aged in oak. Concentrated, full bodied, opulent and balanced, it paired beautifully with the rich short ribs and polenta.
It’s been a hectic two weeks since Paris Grocery opened. We’ve already added more hard-to-find French cheeses and charcuterie, and will be adding additional wines and other delicacies as soon as we are able. Thanks for your support in these early days!
Cone de Port Aubry is a raw goat’s milk cheese and a cousin of the famous Loire cheese Crottin de Chavignol. The cheese is made close to Selles sur Cher and aged for two to three months on rye straw mats in caves, giving a natural mold rind on the outside and a firm interior. The pliable texture of Cone de Port Aubry has a nose of melted butter with an almost dusty earth undertone. The flavors are complex, starting with buttered popcorn and mushrooms, then fading into a pronounced acidity like crème fraiche with a hint of lemon and a subtle finish of hazelnuts. This cheese is hard for me to not swoon over! Wine pairing: Try with a Loire white, such as a Sancerre. SALE $36.99/lb.
Herve Mons Gabietou Aged by one of Europe’s best affineurs! Gabietou contains raw cow & sheeps milk from animals that graze on alpine grass, wild herbs & flowers. Washed with brine made from warm local salt springs, this is sweet & richly complex with a silky creaminess & nut aromas. Exquisite! SALE $29.99, $7.49 per quarter lb.
Gres des Vosges Alsace has exceptionally rich soil & is full of beautiful cherry trees from which the farmers make their own local liquor. Each oval of Gres des Vosges is washed with saltwater & then kirsch which lends a fruity fragrance. Slightly salty with a touch of onion & a luscious texture make this cow’s milk cheese a favorite!
The following cheeses just arrived today via airfreight!
Picadine Chève mini logs
Le Picandou goat cheese buttons
Crottin de Chève
French Country Olive Mix A colorful blend of green, pink and black olives with Lupini beans and bell peppers. These are tossed in a lively French marinade of spices, peppers and vinegar. Perfect for any gathering!
Picholine Olives The Picholine is the queen of green olives! Crisp, yet tender and slightly salty, these fresh Picholines are unpasteurized and bright.
Fresh Luques Olives These fresh (unpasteurized) French olives are meaty, sweet and crisp. The green flesh is firm, bright and fruity.
Pitted Nicoise-Coquillos Olives This olive is the same variety as the authentic Nicoise, though generally grown in Portugal, Spain and Italy. Its flavor parallels that of Nicoise: rich and faintly smoky. This olive is naturally cured and a key ingredient in Salade Niçoise.
Goose Mousse Suprème Pâté Made with goose & duck liver, duck & chicken fat with sauternes and topped with aspic and oranges. No artificial ingredients.
Pâté Provençal My favorite pâté. Course spreadable pork liver with herbs de Provence, and sweet and savory spices.
Our first shipment of cured meats and specialty products from D’Artagnan will be arriving early next week! We’ll have sliced Jambon de Bayonne, Wild Boar Bacon, Chicken and Truffle Sausages, Veal Demi-Glace and Foie Gras, just to name a few of the specialty items that are arriving next week.
We have Caviar, Crème Fraîche and French butter in stock now!
Baguettes from Macrina Bakery are delivered fresh each day to both Paris Grocery and The Spanish Table.
WHITE WINES FROM FRANCE
2007 Cuvee Francoise Blanquette de Limoux ($12.99) This festive sparkler comes straight from it’s traditional home in Limoux, France. Cuvee Francoise is fresh on the palate with fine soft bubbles, white fruit flavors of pear and ripe apple. It finishes dry and clean with refreshing acidity. This is great with sushi.
2008 Novellum Chardonnay Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes ($10.99)
Producer Lafage has crafted one of the best Chardonnays we’ve ever tasted, and it’s a very affordable price. 30% is aged in oak on the lees of Viognier which give it a rich creaminess. With flavors of citrus, apricots, apple and toast, Novellum is lush and balanced. “…hints of caramel and brown butter, vanilla and nutmeg. What’s more, there’s a savory saline, mineral streak all the way through the considerable finish of this “little Chardonnay”.
89 points Wine Advocate
Have a great week and we invite you to come on down and check out our new products!
Sharon Baden and Steve Winston, Owners
The Spanish Table, 1426 Western Avenue, Seattle WA 98101 phone# 206.682.2827
Paris Grocery, 1418 Western Avenue, Seattle WA 98101 phone# 206.682.0679