Spanish Table Seattle & Paris Grocery Newsletter

February 4, 2010

We gladly waved goodbye to the construction equipment on lower Western Avenue this week. The chasm at Union and Western has been filled in and the street is now reopened to two way traffic. The detour is gone. Lots of street parking is now available, so don’t hesitate to come on down and see us!

Spectacularly beautiful, the Douro River’s precipitous terraces are the birthplace of port, Portugal’s celebrated fortified wine. But this region also produces sensational table wines which we’ve recommended for years, and these wines are finally gaining traction with wine critics.

We were fortunate to get a personal update on this area from Sophia Bergquist, owner of Quinta de La Rosa over lunch last week. Somewhat similiar to France’s wine estate classification system, in the Douro, grapes are graded from A to F based on the quinta (estate) that produced them. The steeply terraced vineyards can only be harvested by hand which guarantees gentle treatment of the grapes and selection of the best fruit. Sweltering summer heat ensures that grapes are fully ripened and generate structured reds with long ageing potential. Four out of the last six vintages (2003, 2004, 2005, 2007) in the Douro were outstanding.

Quinta de La Rosa’s fruit is all Grade A and the estate has been family owned since 1815. One of the first in the region to produce table wines, they are such a hands-on operation that owner Sophia herself has even jumped in to pick grapes during harvest. For fans of plush, complex, full-bodied reds, the wines of the Douro should not be missed!

THE WINES OF QUINTA DE LA ROSA

2007 Vale da Clara, Douro Red wine ($11.99) Quinta de La Rosa purchases the fruit for this wine, which is a perennial staff favorite here at The Spanish Table. 2007 was a very good year in the Douro, giving Vale da Clara rich and perfectly ripened black fruit. With notes of black olive and a touch of herbs, it has ripe tannins and a long, smooth finish. It’s a great quaffer!

2006 Quinta de La Rosa Douro Tinto ($19.99) A blend of grapes that are used in port wine, this elegant red table wine is made from hand-picked, estate grown fruit. Enticing floral and ripe fruit aromas make it hard to tear your nose away from the rim of the glass. On the palate, delicate flavors of black cherry and currant have lift and a persistent minerality. Silky tannins and great balance make this wine a pleasure to drink.

2005 Quinta de La Rosa Douro Reserve ($42.00) Vintage 2005 in the Douro was rated 93-95 by The Wine Spectator, producing “balanced and powerful reds.” The Quinta de La Rosa Reserve is no exception. A rich and juicy red, it displays notes of coffee and smoke, earth and minerals. It’s got the stuffing to age well for another five years, and it will be a big hit now with any fan of muscular reds.
2006 Poeira 28 Barricas Douro ($54.00) Quinta de La Rosa’s winemaker, Jorge Moreira, owns his own north facing plot uphill from QdLRosa and Poeira is his personal project. Made from old vines, only 28 barrels (barricas) were produced. Terroir driven, Poeira is distinctive, angular and restrained. Loaded with elegance and finesse, it’s brooding black fruit is concentrated with notes of crushed rock. It’s got the backbone to age well for through 2017, although it’s absolutely delicious right now.

Throwing a Super Bowl party? Our favorite party foods are grilled chorizo sausages (try the GEM Basque chorizo which is now back in stock!) served with slices of Ibsa Roasted Red Pepper strips.

A cheese plate is always a hit – we recommend a mix of sheep’s milk cheese such as Roncal or Nisa, Caña de Cabra goat cheese, Young Mahon cow’s milk cheese and a creamy blue cheese such as Bleu de Basque. Serve alongside Spanish Tapas Flatbreads which are now back in stock, in Rosemary and Manchego Cheese flavors.

And which beer to serve? We’ve got Estrella Damm beer from Spain, Casa beer from Morocco, Sagres beer from Portugal, Tecate and Bohemia beer from Mexico.

COLLECTOR’S CORNER: Available next week by special order (6 bottles available):

2007 Alvaro Palacios L’Ermita, Priorat ($672.00) Alvaro Palcios is one of the star winemakers of the Priorat, and was an early pioneer of this region. 100% old-vine Garnacha produced from 70-year-old, head-pruned vines from a dramatically steep 2-hectare hillside. Harvesting is by hand, with multiple passes to pick optimal fruit. Aged in 100% new French barrique. Only 250 cases produced. “Bright ruby. Intense, mineral-driven aromas of spicy red berries, candied cherry, blood orange and potpourri, plus a sexy Asian spice quality. Tangy and sharply focused, with striking purity and energy. Sweet raspberry and cherry flavors are framed by silky tannins that are quickly absorbed by the fruit. Manages to be deep as well as vivacious, showing strong finishing minerality and a lingering note of star anise. This plays Lafite to the Dofi’s Latour.” 94 points Stephen Tanzer

Our new sister store, Paris Grocery, has an outstanding Facebook page with their newest cheeses, charcuterie and wines. Check it out and become a fan.

Shop from home on The Spanish Table’s websites. Visit

The Spanish Table wine website for Spanish, Portuguese, South American vinos as well as Madeiras and ports. Orders are shipped from our Berkeley CA store which may have different inventory and prices than our Seattle store.

Click on The Spanish Table to purchase food, books, cookware and other non-wine products.

NEW PRODUCTS/BACK IN STOCK

Padron pepper seeds: Spring can’t be far behind when the seed packets roll in the door! Start these indoors early, so that the plants will be full size by June and ready to start producing peppers.

Mloukia Leaves: We searched high and low for this herb after reading about it in Paula Wolfert’s Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking (p. 158). As described in the cookbook, the flavor is “fascinating – tastes like nothing else.”

5 liter plastic jugs of EVOO $49.99 We’ve had many requests for large containers of extra virgin olive oil since we ran out of the Ybarra brand. We’ve now got Sol de La Mancha brand in stock.

A new shipment of cazuelas arrived Monday. We’re now restocked with all sizes, in charcoal, and traditional earth color.

We look forward to Saveur Magazine’s “Top 100”

issue every January. It’s a compendium of the best kitchen products, new personalties in the culinary world, places foodies should know about, and implements of the year.We’ve stocked these hard to find items from Saveur’s list:

Salt cod (called Bacalao in Spain; Bacalhau in Portugal)

Argentinean Malbec wines (we’ve got 50 + Malbecs to choose from)

Lupini Beans

Olive Oil Tortas (new flavors Seville Orange and Sesame Sea Salt)

Sumac

Have a great week and we’ll see you soon!

Sincerely,

Sharon Baden and Steve Winston, Owners

The Spanish Table, 1426 Western Avenue, Seattle WA 98101 phone# 206.682.2827

Hours: Monday- Saturday, 10 AM – 6 PM. Sunday 11 AM – 5 PM

Paris Grocery, 1418 Western Avenue, Seattle WA 98101 phone# 206.682.0679

Hours: Tuesday- Saturday, 10 AM – 6 PM. Sunday 11 AM – 5 PM. Paris Grocery is closed on Mondays

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Filed under Argentina, Cheese, Food, france, Meat, Portugal, Red Wine, Spain, Uncategorized

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