A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visting Spain for the first time, needless to say it was quite an experience. I hit the ground running the moment that I landed in Barcleona. Xavier from Blanxart picked me up from the airport and whisked me away to their factory. By 9:00am I was feasting on chocolate covered almonds and moka (coffee) filled truffles. What could be better?
After Blanxart, I arrived at my hotel in Terrassa, a small industrial town north of Barcelona. I met Rosa from Ferrer Conserve in the hotel lobby. We enjoyed a wonderful sun-drenched ride to Ferrer’s warehouse in Santpedor. Ferrer makes delicous food available in jars ranging from sofrito, romesco, piquillo pepper and velvety soups. All of which are available at The Spanish Table.
But lets get to the real “meat” of the trip. Having never been to Spain before I could only imagine what real Spanish food would be like. Let me say, for the record, its amazing. Thinly sliced sweaty jamon serrno on a tomato and garlic rubbed piece of toast will absolutely make your head spin. There were so many highlights where should I start?
Perhaps I should talk about the microwaved morcilla or the chipirones and white beans. What about sauteed padron peppers or berberechos drizzled with olive oil and sea salt. Maybe I should mention the pulpo gallego with a sprinkling of smoked paprika or the cabrales blue cheese croquettas. Oh I know, you have to hear about the…
P.S. La Boqueria in Barcelona is amazing!
SPANISH TABLE WINES
The Wine Advocate’s April 27 issue raved about the latest release of Spanish wines. Here’s a partial listing of the best wines we stock, with notes and scores by Jay Miller:
2007 Clos Erasmus Priorat ($190.00) Two bottles available “The flagship 2007 Clos Erasmus is once again a benchmark against which all other Prioratos must be measured. It was fermented in a small, open top wood fermenter followed by 22 months in new French oak. Purple-colored, it displays a super complex aromatic array that soars from the glass. Mineral, espresso, truffle, underbrush, white pepper, Asian spices, black cherry and plum are just a few of the notes that come to mind. Dense and rich, on the palate, licorice and chocolate make an appearance with the oak totally integrated. Creamy and suave with no hard edges but plenty of underlying structure, it will evolve for 6-8 years and drink well through 2032 if not longer. It is a tour de force!” 98 points
2006 Pago de Carrovejas Crianza Ribera del Duero ($40.00) “Pago de Carraovejas’ 2006 Crianza is a blend of 85% Tempranillo with the balance Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot aged for 12 months in a mix of new and used French and American oak. Purple-colored, it displays an expressive nose of smoke, Asian spices, leather, violets, black cherry, and blackberry. Dense, rich, and concentrated on the palate, it is packed with spicy black fruit, has several years of aging potential, and impeccable balance. Drink this lengthy effort from 2012 to 2021” 92 points
Highly rated and less than $30.00:
2007 Alto Moncayo Veraton Campo de Borja ($27.99) “The entry-level 2007 Veraton is 100% estate-grown Garnacha aged for 17 months in new French and American oak before bottling without filtration. Deep crimson-colored, it has a sexy nose of smoke, spice box, lavender, black cherry, and black raspberry that wafts from the glass. Full-bodied on the palate with layers of succulent red and black fruit, it is balanced, pure, and lengthy. Drink it over the next 6-8 years. The vocal low-alcohol crowd will have disdain for this wine; those who enjoy big, powerful, in-your-face wine will love it.” 92 points
2007 ÁN/2 Mallorca ($25.99) “The 2007 AN/2 is 65% Callet, 20% Mantonegro-Fogoneu, and 15% Syrah aged in 35% new French and American oak. Dark ruby-colored, it displays a bouquet of earth, tobacco, mineral, iodine, black cherry, and blueberry. Supple-textured with some underlying structure, this complex, succulent effort will evolve for 1-2 years and drink well through 2017.” 91 points
2007 Alvaro Palacios Camins del Priorat ($24.99) “The 2007 Camins del Priorat is a blend of 60% Carinena, 30% Garnacha, and the balance Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah aged for 3-4 months in barrique followed by tank and cask aging. Deep crimson-colored, it offers up a captivating nose of mineral, lavender, underbrush, and black cherry. Medium to full-bodied on the palate, it has excellent concentration, plenty of sweet fruit, a forward personality, and a lengthy, fruit-filled finish. It is a sensational value and a great introduction to the DO of Priorat.” 91 points
2007 Numanthia Termes Toro ($27.99) “The 2007 Termes is a bit more elegant with its velvety texture, ripe tannins, and silky finish. It, too, has the ability to improve with 2-3 years of cellaring, but can be enjoyed now. Bodegas Numanthia-Termes was sold by the Eguren family to Moet-Hennessey prior to the 2006 vintage. What this might ultimately mean for quality or style of the wine remains to be seen but there is no questioning the performance of the 2006 and 2007 vintages.” 92 points
SPANISH TABLE CHEESES
La Peral This delightful blue from the Asturian town of Illas is made with pasteurized cows milk. La Peral is a cross between a velvety washed rind cheese and a buttery Roquefort. Delicious, creamy and sweet with a tanginess all its own. La Peral is made in very small quantities and aged in Asturian caves for 60 days. Pairs wonderfully with sherry and port.
Nevat This rarely seen and impressively large soft-ripened goat cheese from Catalonia is made with a blend of two different types of goat milk. The interior is soft, spreadable, and slightly spongy, like a goat Camembert. Nevat is yogurty-rich and creamy with notes of sweet grass and a lingering delicate tangy finish. This cheese cries out for a fruity Albarino.
NEW PRODUCTS/BACK IN STOCK
More fresh padron peppers just arrived! We sold out within 24 hours last Friday, so ordered up twice as many this week.
Nuñez de Prado EVOO From the 2009 harvest, in one liter cans and 100% organic in 500 ml bottles; L’Estornell organic Arbequina EVOO from Catalonia; 3 liter tin Les Moulins Mahjoub organic EVOO from Tunisia; Estancia Lucia meaty green olives from Argentina; Arte Oliva Ali-Oli in picnic-sized 125 ml boxes.
To win a copy of The Spanish Table cookbook published by Gibbs Smith, click Zester Daily and visit their site which explores “The Culture of Food and Wine.” Click Barcelona’s Gastronomy to read Zester’s four part series.
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