Sketch Albarino and New Ceramics

Spanish Table Seattle Newsletter                                                     February 22, 2012 

There’s been plenty going on here at The Spanish Table as we unloaded our latest shipment of Talavera ceramics, including a new line in gorgeous cream and brown colors.   ceramThese beautiful pieces are made for us in the town of Lagartera, near Talavera, a region whose ceramic traditions date from the Moorish era. Made entirely by hand, each piece is a little different, like the individual flowers in a bouquet. The store is abloom!   Highlights include:

3-part Olive Serving Bowls ($21.00). People love these – they lend such a sweet orderliness to a table. Each dish has 3 clearly labeled sections, 1 for your “aceitunas” (olives), 1 for the “huesos” (pits), and a little one to hold the “palillos” (toothpicks). We also have devilled egg platters, sugar bowls, butter dishes, sangría pitchers, and much more. Spring weddings and Easter brunches are just around the corner!

And if you need a little humor in your day, click this link to see how we stock shelves!


plentyOne of my top holiday gifts was the vegetarian cookbook “Plenty“, by Yotam Ottolenghi (2010 Chronicle Books, $35.00). A London restauranteur, his recipes combine traditions and ingredients in unorthodox ways, but always in the service of highlighting the “star” qualities of the main ingredient. Last night I served Chickpea Sauté with Greek Yogurt and tossed it with braising greens from the farmer’s market.   Yum!     His recipe below for Saffron Cauliflower is typically atypical. You’ll never think of cauliflower as broccoli’s boring albino cousin again.

wine guide

A Traveller’s Wine Guide to Spain by Harold Heckle ($22.00), is a 2012 publication that will be an indispensible aid in planning a wine-focused trip anywhere in Spain including Andalucia or the islands. With recommendations on hotels and restaurants, wine shops and festivals, this little gem is small enough to fit in a large pocket


Diving for bottles of Sketch

2009 Sketch Albariño, Rias Baixas ($76.00)  

Photo by Friederike Paetzold

2 bottles available!  We tasted Sketch on a boat in a Rias Baixas estuary while eating mussels and oysters plucked fresh from the sea. Fermented in large barrels for 12 months, Sketch is then bottled and aged underwater with no oxygen contact at all for 60 days, resulting in a superlative and one of a kind Albariño. Drinking it truly is an experience!   Notes of honey, sea shell, pear, and citrus have salty notes and a huge mineral component.    “2009 Sketch is an Albarino sourced from a parcel harvested 1-2 weeks later than all the other vineyards. It was fermented and aged (without malolactic) in two 700-liter barrels for 12 months followed by 60 days of aging in the bottle at 30 meters under the sea. It offers up an enthralling bouquet of mineral, saline, floral, tropical, and marzipan elements. Intense, complex, impeccably balanced, and remarkably lengthy, this is as good as Albarino gets. Bodegas y Vinedos Raul Perez is the hangout of Spain’s most visionary vigneron, Raul Perez. These latest releases only reinforce the legend.”   96 points Wine Advocate

2009 Cal Blanca, Toro ($17.99)   Last May, we travelled Spain’s wine regions with a group of 30 wine professionals and the importer, Peninsula Wines. 2009 Cal Blanca was the group’s overall favorite red wine and after a long wait, we finally have it in stock! “Cal Blanca” means white chalk and refers to the limestone soils of the vineyard. Made from 100% Tempranillo, organically grown grapes, the combination of high elevation vineyards and soil type result in grapes that ripen very slowly. Aged in French oak for 6 months, Cal Blanca is offers up freshness along with flavors of vanilla, boysenberry and layers of dusty notes. Balanced and powerful, it has “Seductive aromas of raspberry, potpourri and licorice, with a note of white pepper adding lift and vivacity.  Sappy and broad, offering pliant red and dark fruit and floral pastille flavors and showing no excess fat.  Finishes seamless and energetic, with impressive tenacity and echoing floral notes. ”   90 points Stephen Tanzer

2010 Bozeto de Exopto Rioja ($19.99) This new artisanal Rioja was another discovery from our trip to Spain last year.  A blend of 50% Garnacha, 40% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano, only 1200 cases were made.  Half is aged in oak for 9 months; the rest ages in concrete.   Velvety and round with a purity of fruit, this medium-bodied red is spectacular with stews or paella. “Aromas of crushed pepper, balsam wood, violets, cinnamon, and blackberry inform the nose of a sweetly-fruited, vibrant, well-balanced Rioja. It can be approached now but has the stuffing to fill out for another 1-2 years. This outstanding value will deliver plenty of enjoyment through 2018+.”   90 points Wine Advocate

2008 Quinta da Muradella Albarello, D.O. Monterrei ($85.00)   This is a stunner!   Made from 100% Albarello (also called Brancellao), this is believed to be the oldest indigenous variety in Galacia and is practically extinct. Albarello is an intensely aromatic red varietal that needs time and contact with oxygen to express itself fully. Made with indigenous yeast and aged 14 months in a used French oak barrel. Only 1 barrel was produced, yielding 66 cases – we have 6 bottles available.   Sweet red fruit aromas have a intense minerality with a structured spine and silky tannins.   Herbal notes are interwoven with ripe black cherry, dried plum, and a hint of menthol.   Round and smooth, this wine keeps on delivering new waves of complexity.   “The 2008 QDM Albarello (100%) is the earthiest of these resurrected varieties along with lots of spice and floral notes. Tight, savory, and impeccably balanced…. Muradella is a garage winery where proprietor Jose Luis Mateo and Raul Perez make wine from 34 unique, certified organic, parcels. A principal purpose of the project is to relate the history of the region through the wines.”   91+ points Wine Advocate

We are often asked “Where can we go for Paella”? The Harvest Vine has Paella Tuesdays (call for reservations) and Olivar Restaurant has Paella on their daily menu.   But in downtown, the options have been practically nonexistent since Taberna del Alabardero closed – until now.   Through the end of February, The Steelhead Diner in the Pike Place Market will be featuring a special shrimp and chicken paella.   They’re using our Bomba rice in the paella to guarantee authenticity and spotlighting The Spanish Table during this special.    Try it while you can!Saffron Cauliflower

1-1/2 teaspoons saffron threads
1/3 cup boiling water
1 medium cauliflower, divided into florets
1 large red onion, sliced
2/3 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup good-quality green olives, pitted and cut in half lengthwise
4 TBSP olive oil
2 bay leaves
salt & black pepper
4 TBSP roughly chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the saffron threads in a small bowl with the boiling water and allow to infuse. Then pour the saffron and water into a large mixing bowl with all of the other ingredients, except the parsley, and mix everything together. Transfer to a medium ovenproof dish, cover with foil, and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender but not soft. Halfway through the cooking time remove the dish from the oven and stir well, then cover again and return to the oven. Once the cauliflower is cooked, take it out of the oven, remove the foil, and allow to cool. slightly before stirring in the parsley. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 4 as a side.



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