Category Archives: Catalan

Recaredo Cava & Cheese

RECAREDO CAVA ARRIVES

Established in 1924, Recaredo is a pioneer in the production of totally dry Spanish cavas, working with oak barrels and extended aging on the lees.

The musts from the oldest Xarello vines ferment in oak barrels, which give structure and greater complexity to Recaredo’s cavas.  Some of the base wine is also aged in oak barrels for a few months and this wine will be used to add greater finesse and structure to the final blending.

  Viticulture at Recaredo is based on dry farming, use of only estate fruit, and vineyards are certified organic and biodynamic.     The wines are meticulously produced, hand-riddled, and aged on the lees with cork stoppers.  They are disgorged manually, without freezing the necks of the bottles which provides the most natural product.   All cuvées are vintage-dated and have zero dosage. These sparkling wines must simply be tasted to be believed!
2010 Recaredo “Relats” Brut Nature, Gran Reserva Penedes ($33.00)  Relats means “little stories in a bottle” and with its extensive 54 months of lees aging, Relats says a ton about depth and complexity.   A blend of  54% Xarel-lo and 46% Macabeo, this is the youngest cuvee made by Recaredo.   With rich brioche aromas, hints of nuts and toast, this bone-dry cava has a fine mousse of bubbles with staying power and elegance.
2008 Recaredo Terrers Brut Nature Gran Reserva, Penedes ($41.00)  46% Xarel-lo, 40% Macabeo, 14% Parellada, aged 71 months on the lees.  Fresh aromas of yellow apple are bright and creamy on the palate. Ripe white fruit has a hint of nuts and mineral and very fine bubbles, which end in a delicate crown.  Balanced acidity with a persistent finish, showing notes of almond and anise.  “… an elegant bouquet of white flowers, pears, apples and freshly-baked brioche, fresh and elegant, subtle, with a fresh palate with tiny, almost imperceptible bubbles that only seem to add freshness and texture, with clean flavors, superb acidity and balance. A great Cava at a bargain price. Drink now-2017.”  92 points WineAdvocate
Also available from our distributor (call or e-mail to order):
2006 Recaredo “Brut de Brut” Brut Nature Gran Reserva ($60.00)
2004 Recaredo “Particular” Brut Nature Gran Reserva ($115.00)

CHEESE PLEASE
   Infinitely variable in texture, flavor and unctuousness, cheese can play the meal’s starring role or be the fill-in workhorse.   Imagine an artisanal cheese platter accompanied by dried apricots or figs, charcuterie or nuts. Served with Recaredo cava, the seductive platter is a very romantic meal.
  Everyday quick and easy recipes like pizza, lasagna or toasted cheese sandwiches can be brightened up by using a different queso.   Variety is the spice of life; try one of the following tasty Iberian cheeses.
  One of our favorite meals in a hotel room is uber simple:  a selection of great cheeses and a bottle of wine.    This strategy is essential when restaurant options are poor.  Never leave home without emergency supplies!
Recommended Artisanal Cheeses:

Garroxta:  Goat milk.  Semi-hard and luscious, delicately flavored and smooth.   Excellent with cava!
Roncal:  Sheep milk. Made from raw milk of the Lacha and Aragonesa breeds that feed in high Navarran pastures.  Aged 6 months.  Intense flavors, nutty, with hint of mushroom.
Valdeon blue cheese:  Cow and goat milk.  Sweeter than Cabrales, it is smooth, rich and caramelized.
 
Olveha Amanteigado:  Portuguese sheep milk.  A non-DOP Serra de Estrela cheese, it is made with thistle rennet.  Unctuous and soft, sweet with hints of thistle.  Slice the top off this cheese and eat the center with a spoon.
Excellent Melting Cheeses:

Young Mahon: Cow’s milk.  Aged 4 months. Has a slight piquancy, with fruity, rich and nutty flavors.
Tetilla:  Cow’s milk.  Made in Galicia, the cows graze on lush grass and the cheese is aged 15-20 days.  Mild, buttery and semi-soft.
Palhais:  Goat milk.  From Portugal, semi-soft, crumbly and tangy.   Great stuffed inside piquillo peppers and warmed.
Great picnic cheeses:

Pata Cabra:  Goat milk. A washed-rind cheese from Aragon.  Fruity and refined when young, it develops tanginess with age.
El Valle Semi Curado:  Sheep milk.  Everyone knows Manchego sheep cheese from Spain, and we carry a selection from a number of producers.  El Valle is a non D.O. sheep milk cheese that is slightly creamier than Manchego, with fresh flavors of hay, and is a touch sharp.

Beira:  Cow’s milk.  From Portugal, near the Serra de Estrela mountains.  Flavorful, smooth and grassy.
Upcoming Paella class on Saturday March 19, 11-1 PM.
Details:  Hot Stove

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Filed under Catalan, Cava, Cheese, Events, Food, Jamon, Paella, Spain, Wine

Spanish Pantry Essentials

Not a fan of slogging through pounding rain to the grocery store?   Or don’t have time?   By keeping a few essential Spanish ingredients on hand, it’s easy to pull together a nutritious, tasty meal in a flash and save a run to the store.
Conservas are a must.  In Spain, vegetables are picked at their peak of flavor, roasted or simmered and then packed in jars or cans.   Equally delicious are a wide range of fish and shellfish, many packed in olive oil.  The oil can and should be used in recipes.
Rice is a versatile staple to have in the pantry.    Rice simmered with chorizo and jarred, roasted red peppers is delicious and quick to prepare.   If there is chicken in the frig, make a fast and toothsome rice soup with Aneto chicken broth, Spanish garbanzo beans and a sprinkling of dried lime.   Or, make a complete paella in 30 minutes with an Aneto Paella broth.   Choose from Seafood, Squid Ink or Valencian Paella; comes in easy to store tetra paks with a one year shelf life.     
In Spain, pasta called fideo is used to make a dish called fideau.   Fideo, simmered with broth in a paella pan, can be prepared in minutes by adding jarred ingredients.   For example, toss olive-oil packed Spanish tuna with strips of piquillo pepper, the oil from tuna, capers, water and pasta.
Or use Aneto Squid Ink Paella with fideo and revel in this different take on a traditional Spanish dish.   If Mac n’ Cheese is a favorite, upscale it.  Combine chicken stock with pasta and saffron; simmer until the pasta is done, then drain and stir in Manchego cheese to melt.
Gluten intolerant?    A jar of lentils, cooked with spicy chorizo makes a hearty and simple meal.   Canned mackerel or anchovies are fantastic tossed with lentils or white beans.
 
Got a freezer?  Store packages of Bilbao Chorizo, Chistorra or Morcilla for the right moment.  Scramble choistorra with eggs.  Grill chorizo and serve with de la Estancia organic polenta from Argentina which cooks in 3 minutes.  Just add grated Mahon cheese.
NEW!  Hernán products from Mexico, made by artisan producers.    Just arrived are Mole Poblano andMole Pipián sauces.   Mole Poblano is a blend of chiles and spices, tempered by an infusion of nuts, chocolate and other ingredients. Typically served on chicken or pork.   Mole Pipián contains roasted pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and peanuts with spicy chiles and epazote and is excellent on fish.
  Hernán Mexican hot chocolate with cinnamon is now available, in powder and squares.
Brush up on Spanish with Spanish Circle on Wednesday evenings.  Held at the Seattle Public Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Level 4, Room 1.  Jan 13-March 16 at 6 p.m.   Free!   For more information call 206.684.0849.

WINES
 
2013 Narupa Alala Albarino, Rias Baixas   ($26.99)   First vintage!  Sustainably produced from a 30 year old, family-owned vineyard planted by the winemaker’s Grandfather.  The grapes are pressed by foot and fermented with native yeast.  Raised in stainless steel with no malolactic fermentation, it has extended aging of one year to develop complexity.   Fresh aromatics with a hint of tropical fruit have notes of citrus and dust.   Mineral-laden with great mouthfeel and a pleasurable weight, this is a terrific expression of Albariño.   Limited availability – only 3 cases came to the state of Washinton, and we have 6 bottles.

2012 Carramimbre Roble, Ribera del Duero   

SALE!  Regular price $14.99, now $10.99  

We rediscovered this tasty gem last weekend, accompanied by a tapas assortment.  Versatile and nuanced, and it’s now 25% off!   (6 cases available).  90% Tempranillo, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged four months in oak.  Offers up aromas of ripe blackberry, hints of earth and road tar, reminiscent of an old-school California Zinfandel.  Very smooth and full-bodied, it displays lifted notes of white pepper, tobacco leaf and mushroom.  Black fruit and mineral notes on the lengthy finish.   Decant for 20 minutes to fully release aromas and depth of flavors.

2012 Lagar de Robla Premium, Castilla y Leon ($10.99) 100% Mencia, aged about 18 months in oak.    Plush, with soft tannins and a hint of earth.   Round and smooth, Lagar de Robla is mineral-laden, with well-integrated notes of oak.   This is really good!   “This firm red is reserved, but shows depth and integration, with mulled plum, licorice, mineral and smoke flavors that mingle over well-integrated tannins, giving way to the juicy finish.”  91 points Wine Spectator

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Filed under Albariño, Catalan, Cheese, Chile, Fish, Food, Meat, Mencia, Paella, Recipes, Red Wine, Spain, Tempranillo, Uncategorized

New Year, New Wines; Chorizo Restocked

WE ARE OPEN REGULAR HOURS ON MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY (MONDAY, JANUARY 18)  10 AM-6 PM  
 
Our cured meats, cheeses and groceries have been restocked since the new year began.
Need Bilbao chorizo or Bomba rice for paella?   It’s here.    Looking for Morcilla, Chistorra or Cantimpalitos?  Back in stock.   
All manner of dried beans are here for making robust winter stews.  My new favorite is Zursun Dapple Grey Beans.   Creamy and ideal for soups, the bean’s mottled grey and ivory colors are reminiscent of a cowboy’s horse.

Mini wheels of 3 month aged Maese Miguel Manchego are available again.  This is a buttery and flavorful manchego cheese with tangy hints.   Slice and serve, or make into a sandwich with rustic bread.
  
New!  Smoke-dried Ñora peppers from La Vera.  Use these to make a smoky romesco sauce (see recipe below).

New Year, New Wines!

2014 Castillo de Mendoza Vitarán Cepas Viejas Blanco, Rioja ($14.99) 100% Viura produced from old-vine, estate vineyards in Rioja Alta.   Aged on the lees and in neutral French oak, 2014 Vitarán offers up aromas of tropical fruit.   Fleshy and rich on the palate with a hint of oak, it is smooth and bright, with a touch of spice.  Finishes clean and dry.   Great with Asian or spicy foods.

2012 Valdecampana Crianza, Ribera del Duero($16.99)   100% Tinto del Pais (Tempranillo) aged 12 months in oak.  A delightful sipper, this medium to full bodied red is also a stand out with hearty meals.   Delivers heavenly aromatics with well-knit flavors of marionberry and black cassis.  Very fresh and lifted, its graphite and mineral notes add complexity to this distinguished red.    Shows some grip on the lengthy finish.   Great value!
2007 Viña Cubillo Crianza Rioja ($22.99)   Bodegas R. Lopez Heredia is a benchmark producer of traditional style Rioja wines.  Family owned and operated since 1877, Maria Jose Lopez de Heredia passionately adheres to her great-grandfather’s vision of making wine only from their own vineyards, using natural yeasts, long aging in wood and no filtration at bottling.
  The Viña Cubillo vineyards average 40 years of age.  The wine is a blend of 65% Tempranillo, 25% Garnacha, 5% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo, aged at least 3 years in barrel and 3 years in bottle before release.  Most producers would label this a Gran Reserva; and at $22.99 per bottle, it’s a steal!
  Viña Cubillo seems to get better with every vintage.  The 2007 is intensely aromatic, showing a bouquet of dried cherry fruit and iron. Bright, aromatic, and satiny on the palate, it offers up layers of dried leaves, mushroom, plum, red currant fruit and incredible length.   With cigar box spice, it is medium-bodied, dry and relatively low in alcohol (13%).
   91 points  Stephen Tanzer/Vinous, 91 points Wine Advocate: 
  “Lively smoke- and spice-accented cherry and raspberry aromas are complemented by floral oils and pipe tobacco. Sweet and seamless on the palate, offering juicy red fruit flavors that deepen with air. Shows very good energy and appealing floral character on a long, penetrating finish that’s given shape by harmonious tannins. Drinking nicely now, this fruit-driven Rioja should provide plenty of pleasure over the coming decade.”  (Vinous)
  “This could well be the best Cubillo of recent times.” (Wine Advocate)
2013 Alto Moncayo Veraton Garnacha, Campo de Borja, ($26.99)   NEW VINTAGE  The grapes for this wine come from Campo de Borja, thought to be the birthplace of Garnacha.  Veraton is made with grapes from ancient vines which are placed in open vat fermenters, then aged 17 months in 60% French, 40% American oak barrels.  Bottled unfiltered.
  “This is a blockbuster, 100% Old Vine Grenache cuvée, with a deep-purple color, great intensity, loads of blackcurrant and black cherry fruit, with licorice, lavender and touch of graphite and earth. It is full-bodied and powerful.”  92 points Wine Advocate

SMOKED ROMESCO SAUCE
Romesco is a Catalan sauce of tomatoes, red ñora peppers, garlic, vinegar and hazelnuts or almonds with stale bread as a thickener.  It is one of those sauces of infinite variation with every cook having different proportions and variations on the ingredients.
4-5                     Smoked Ñora peppers, re-hydrated with boiling water
2 tablespoon      Olive oil for frying
1 slice (½ cup)    Stale Bread
1 clove                Garlic, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon         Coarse sea salt
¼ cup                 Marcona Almonds and/or hazelnuts and/or pine nuts.   (In a pinch, walnuts can even be used.)
1                        Fresh Tomato, peeled and seeded, or grated.  (Or roasting the tomato first, which adds depth).
1 tablespoon      Red Wine vinegar or sherry vinegar (optional)
4 tablespoon      Reserved liquid from ñoras
2 tablespoons    Extra Virgin Olive Oil  (if needed)
Cover ñoras with water and bring to a boil.  Allow to steep for half an hour. Reserving the liquid, remove stems and seeds saving flesh and skin.
Fry nuts in olive oil until brown, remove with slotted spoon. Fry bread in olive oil adding more if needed.
Put garlic and salt in a mortar and blend together with a pestle or put them in food processor and give it a couple of bursts.
Add cooled nuts with bread and grind. Add ñora and blend in.
If using tomato, blend it in now.
Season with a splash of vinegar.  If serving with vegetables, go a little heavier on the vinegar.  If using with fish, use a lighter hand or omit.   If too thick, add a splash of extra virgin olive oil.
As with all sauces, running this sauce through a food mill gives a smoother, more sophisticated product.
Serve with baked or grilled seafood.  Delicious with halibut or prawns!

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Filed under Catalan, Cheese, Chile, Food, Garnacha, Meat, Recipes, Red Wine, Ribera del Duero, Rioja, Spain, Tempranillo, Uncategorized