The Spanish Table February 10th, 2011
Monday is St. Valentine’s Day, a holiday whose origins are murky, but rooted in a pagan fertility rite. The ancient Romans feasted to heathen God Lupercalia on February 15th. Boys and girls were segregated, but on the eve of February 14th the girl’s names were written on pieces of paper and inserted into jars. Each boy then drew a girl’s name from the jar and they were partners throughout the Festival. The Catholic Church replaced Lupercalia with the feast day of Saint Valentine and changed the date to February 14th, to honor the saint who performed secret marriage ceremonies. Clearly, for centuries St. Valentine’s Day has been a day to speak of love and enjoy a good meal.
My favorite part of the Valentine’s Day experience is dipping into a box of chocolates. I’ve been sampling here at the store and testify that anything from Delaviuda will make a chocolate lover very, very happy. Choose from Chocolate Truffle assortment, Bombones and Mendiants (Chocolate disks covered with nuts).
A new shipment of Chocolove bars arrived yesterday, including my favorite, dark chocolate with almonds and sea salt. The large bars have a poem inside
For the Olive lover, these customer favorites arrived yesterday:
Ybarra Piquillo Stuffed Manzanilla Olives “Alta Seleccion”, 8.4 oz jars and Ybarra Anchovy Stuffed Manzanilla Olives in medium (350 g) can
Early Harvest 2010 Neus Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Produced from Arbequina olives, picked while still green, this oil has a spicy edge to its fruity and buttery flavor. Early harvest oils have higher polyphenols and antioxidants which typically give them a longer shelf life.
We now carry these Spanish meats at our Paris Grocery store, where quantities can be sliced to order:
Cava Rosat from Agusti Torello Mata ($24.99) sparkles with seductive notes of cherry blossom, strawberry, rhubarb & subtle hints of savory herbs. Produced from the traditional Trepat grape, its refreshing crispness & intriguing depth meet persistent bubbles that dance on the palate. Complex and meaty, yet light and very dry. 91 points Wine Advocate
Kripta Cava, ($78.00) Agusti Torello’s finest expression of cava offers up a refined complex, delicate bouquet with persistent small bubbles, mouth-filling flavors & exceptional length. Balanced & seductive, this cava can compete with the best of Champagne.
94 points Wine Advocate
2004 Marques de Gelida Brut Reserva ($14.99) Aged 36 months on the lees, Marques de Gelida has a creamy edge to its fruity and citrus flavors. Clean and fresh, it has excellent balance and a long, delicate finish.
2001 Rioja Bordón Gran Reserva Rioja ($22.99) A classic Spanish Gran Reserva from one of the oldest bodegas in Rioja. Bordón displays silky tannins, elegance and grace from the spectacular 2001 vintage. It won’t last long – the importer declared bankruptcy and we bought the last available four cases.
A GREAT BUY ON EXCEPTIONAL RIOJA GRAN RESERVA VINTAGES!
1981 Montecillo Gran Reserva Selección Especial Rioja ($50.00) “Complex aromas of plum, red berries, cinnamon, tree bark, pepper and bacon; autumnal in the style of a mature syrah yet still fresh. Less sweet in the middle than the 1982 but more penetrating, with lovely clarity of flavor. Finishes with firm, slightly drying tannins. For tasters unfamiliar with fully mature classic Riojas, this would be an excellent starting point.” 91 points Stephen Tanzer
1982 Montecillo Gran Reserva Selección Especial Rioja ($60.00) “The superb 1982 Gran Reserva Seleccion is from a great Rioja vintage. The wine was aged for nearly four years in French barriques and bottled in 1987. It exhibits a deep red-brick color and a sexy nose of earthy minerals, smoky tobacco, spice box, cherry, and red currants. This is followed by a nicely structured wine with elegance and a certain stateliness marking it is a classic example of old-style Rioja. This splendid effort should drink well for another decade.” 93 points Wine Advocate
1985 Montecillo Gran Reserva Selección Especial Rioja ($45.00) “Mature aromas of strawberry, meat, leather and truffle. Old-style, slightly funky Rioja flavors of pungent strawberry, leather and baking spices; lovely acidity gives the wine a juiciness and impressive inner-mouth lift. Reminded me a bit of an old Graves. Finishes juicy and long, with a slight dryness. A very idiosyncratic and satisfying example of a fully mature Rioja” 89 points Stephen Tanzer
1991 Montecillo Gran Reserva Selección Especial Rioja ($40.00) ” The 1991 Gran Reserva Seleccion, from a difficult vintage, is nevertheless an outstanding effort. It spent 46 months in French barriques before being bottled in 1996. Dark ruby in color, the wine emits a lovely perfume of spice box, tobacco, and cherry. With considerable stuffing consisting of wood, mushrooms, currants and cherries, and a long finish, this deceptively powerful wine can be enjoyed for another 5-7 years.”
90 points Wine Advocate
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