Meeting Argentine Legends

Salta emp
Assortment of Treats in Salta, Argentina
Spanish Table Seattle Newsletter

May 27, 2010

SUSANA BALBO is one of the superstars in the world of winemaking and we were privileged to meet her at a winemaker’s lunch last week.  Passionate, groundbreaking, and incredibly skilled, in 1981 she earned her enology degree and began making wine.  Susana was the first female winemaker in Argentina and the first Argentinean winemaker to be hired as a consultant outside of Argentina.  She has made wine in Australia, California, Chile, France, Italy, South Africa, and Spain, and she spends a month each year in a different wine region of the world studying with local winemakers and growers.

ERIKA GOULART OF BODEGA GOULART in Mendoza visited The Spanish Table this week.  We’re already big fans of her wines and it was a treat to hear her amazing life history.  The grand-daughter of Brazilian Marshall Gastao Goulart, Marshall was the leader of Brazil’s Constitutional Revolution in 1932. But back in 1915 when Marshall was living in Mendoza, he purchased two 15-hectare properties and planted them with Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Some 70 years later Erika discovered the deed to the vineyard and laid claim to it. With help from experienced agricultural engineer Mauricio Parodi, she restored the vineyard back to its original condition and hired Luis Barraud, a partner with Paul Hobbs in Cobos, as a consultant winemaker.   Today the wines of Bodega Goulart are mostly Malbec and Cabernet-based with many of the original 80 year old vines still producing concentrated and penetrating wines.   Goulart also produces a fresh and lean Torrontes.


We’ve got a new line of fresh sausages from Olé Olé:

The best Butifarra we’ve had outside of Spain; Merguez and Chorizo sausages.  Barcelos brand Linguiça made in San Jose is lean and flavorful – comes in Mild, Medium and Hot.    And visit our Paris Grocery store two doors down to pick up a French mustard to serve with the sausages!

Fry up some fresh Padron Peppers to serve with the sausages.  10 pounds of fresh peppers arrived yesterday.    Serve the sausages and peppers on plastic and colorful Loteria plates ($2.99 ea).


Grilling cook books:  “Seven Fires, grilling the argentine way” ($35.00) by restaurant owner  and famous chef Francis Mallmann.  It has baked empanada and grilled vegetable recipes as well; “Mediterranean Grilling” by Diane Kochilas ($17.00)

Just arrived! Mi Conserva brand Pepper products:   Whole red Piquillos ($2.99/6.5 oz); Piquillos stuffed with Albacore Tuna; Piquillos filled with Cod and Prawns; and Piquillos filled with Hake and Prawns ($5.99/7.9 oz)
Goats roasting over a fire in Mendoza

BACK IN STOCK: Tagine: Spicy stews from Morocco ($15.95) This is a great cookbook to go with a new tagine!

NEWTagines & Couscous ($24.95)  A more in-depth look at traditional and modern tagines with mouthwatering recipes.

THE WINES OF SUSANA BALBO AND BODEGA GOULART: Nicknamed the “Queen of Torrontes”, Susana Balbo was the first winemaker to produce a wildly popular white wine from the notoriously hard-to-vinify Torrontes grape.  Susana is responsible for introducing Torrontes to the American market.   We love the minerality and elegance of her Torrontes.

2008 Crios Torrontes, Salta ($12.99)  Enticing aromas that are strikingly similar to Viognier, with hints of peach pit, white pear, flowers, and orange citrus fruit. On the palate, it has beautiful structure and acidity similar to Sauvignon Blanc along with enticing fruit flavors that keep you coming back for another sip.  With plenty of body for a wine that shows such delicate aromas and flavors, it is still quite dry, this wine has to be tasted to be believed.  It’s a fantastic pairing with Thai satay and peanut sauce! 90 points Stephen Tanzer, 90 points Wine Advocate

2009 Crios Rosé of Malbec, Mendoza ($10.99)  Has a surprising amount of body for a rosé wine, and beautiful aromas of fresh, ripe wild strawberries. On the palate, the flavors of strawberries and young cherries come rushing in, accompanied by some spice notes and a clean, dry finish. This is the perfect chicken wine and a charming companion to mildly spicy Asian cuisine.   89 points Stephen Tanzer

2006 Susan Balbo Virtuoso  Late Harvest Malbec, Mendoza ($24.99)  Made of 100% Malbec, aged in French oak for 18 months, it is aromatic and round with tantalizing hints of dried black fruit.  Notes of violets and a hint of spice are backed up with rich red fruit flavors. At only 14.5% alcohol and 100 grams/liter of residual sugar, it is the perfect after dinner wine and maybe one of the few dessert wines that truly goes well with chocolate desserts.

2009 Goulart Torrontés, Mendoza ($9.99)  Goulart’s Torrontés is produced from the Mendocino clone which is better suited to the climate and soils of Mendoza.  2009 Goulart is aromatic, with an initial  leanness which blossoms on the mid palate with a purity of citrus flavors and a dry, crisp, elegant finish.


2008 Monjardin Chardonnay, Navarra ($7.99)  ON SALE – normally $12.99.  Stock up on this crisp Chardonnay for summer parties or weddings!   Flavors of apple with honeyed notes, the 2008 Monjardin is balanced and elegant.   Clean and dry, it has a long zesty finish.

2005 Vall Llach Embruix Priorat ($26.99)  ON SALE, was $34.00 When this delicious Priorat went on sale, we scooped up all of the remaining bottles!  “Rich yet focused, this powerful red from Spain delivers plum, black cherry, anise, tobacco and sage flavors over muscular tannins. It’s thick on the palate, yet dissolves to licorice, spice and flowers on the finish. Best from 2010 through 2020”  93 points Wine Spectator

2006 Muga Reserva Rioja ($29.99)   The 2006 Muga Reserva has an outstanding elegance and depth of fruit that paired exceptionally with lamb chops at our house last week. “Muga’s red wines begin with the 2006 Muga Reserva… aged for 6 months in wooden vats before spending 2 years in 60% new French and American oak. Purple-colored with an already complex bouquet of pain grille, mineral, violets, black cherry, and blackberry, on the palate it is smooth-textured, layered, and concentrated. It conceals enough structure to evolve for 1-2 years and will offer optimal drinking from 2012 to 2026. It is an excellent value in serious Rioja.”  91 points Wine Advocate

STRANGER THAN FICTION:   E & J Gallo is selling their wines in Spain!   This, after they sued The Spanish Table for selling “Gallo” brand pasta from Barcelona.   Wonder if the pasta company will now sue E & J Gallo?   Read all about it here.  There’s a delicious seafood fideuá recipe in the article as well!

VISIT US ON LINE! Shop our wine website at Spanish Table Wines. For food, cookbooks, paella pans and all non-wine items, go to The Spanish Table website. For the latest product news from Paris Grocery, visit the PG Facebook page.


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