Category Archives: Cheese

ROSADO, BLANCO & BOCADILLOS

March 31, 2016

Tip a glass to our few days of sunshine with the first Rosado of the season!
2015 Ostatu Rosado Rioja  70% Tempranillo and 30% Garnacha from 60 year old vines.  Lightweight and aromatic, with wild strawberry flavors and nuances of spice.  Very dry, it offers up a rich palate, balanced by refreshing minerality.  Fans of Provençal-style rosés will love this rosado.  Take a sip, relax, and know that summer is around the corner!
   Don’t wait to pick up a few bottles of this because the distributor will be sold out by next week.
2014 Licia Albariño, Rias Baixas ($16.99) 2014 Licia is extraordinarily tasty and fit to be quaffed on a sunny day.  Licia’s vineyards are in O Rosal and Condado do Tea, the warmest sub-zones of Rias Baixas that produce the ripest fruit.  Licia is dry and steely with bright citrus notes and a fresh minerality.   With creamy apple and quince notes offering stoniness and weight, this is a solid Albariño at a great price.   What really impressed me about this wine is its pure freshness.  It will rock in 70 degree weather, especially with a plate of shellfish or cheese.
Enjoy the outdoors while the great weather lasts, by keeping meals simple.  Make fancy bocadillos (sandwiches) with a loaf of crusty bread.  Mix and match ingredients, such as our Bruschettas (Piquillo Pepper and Artichoke or Piquillo Pepper and Eggplant) topped with a sheep’s milk cheese such as El Valle Semicurado.   Or chop green, pitted olives, mix with Spanish Bonito Tuna and alioli and spread on bread.  Slices of roasted Piquillo Peppers withBlack Empeltre Olive spread paired with Majorero goat milk cheese is divine.   Brush slices of bread with flavorful extra virgin olive oil and top with slices of Chorizo or Jamon Serrano with Manchego cheese to make a classic sandwich. Or, peruse our shelves and invent new combinations!    

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Filed under Albariño, Cheese, Fish, Food, Garnacha, Jamon, Meat, Rioja, Rose, Spain, Wine

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

Now that the world has not ended…

I am quite frankly unimpressed with Mayan divination. After spending yesterday in a state of anticipation—how cool to be among the few to witness the blazing finale—I awoke this morning only to be bitterly disappointed. Talk about an anticlimax.

On the plus side, the prospect of imminent annihilation provided the perfect excuse to indulge in copious quantities of wine and fruitcake. Why worry about your waistline or blood pressure when there’s no tomorrow?  Today, however, we have a whole new reason to celebrate. After all, it’s quite a charming little planet we live on, with its green forests and snow-capped mountains, its vineyards and olive groves and oceans. If you weren’t in the Christmas spirit already, this reassuring piece of news might stir some festive feeling. Woohoo, crack open that Rioja gran reserva and have a party.

If you were banking on Mayan meteorologists, then perhaps you’ve neglected that Christmas shopping list? Not to worry, The Spanish Table is open this Sunday and Monday all your last minute needs. Need ideas? Here’s a few of our favorite stocking stuffers and tasty morsels for you holiday table:

Stocking Stuffers

  • Half bottles of Port, Sherry, or Rioja
  • Olivewood cooking spoons (in all shapes and sizes)
  • Argentinian alfajores (chocolate-covered, dulce de leche stuffed goodness)
  • Turrón (soft, hard, crunchy or chocolate)
  • Paella aprons and oven mits
  • Little bottles of truffle infused olive oil
  • Rabitos (truffled figs, soaked in brandy and covered in chocolate)
  • Spanish anchovies in olive oil
  • Mantecados and polverones (traditional Christmas cookies)
  • Mitica orange blossom or lavender honey

For the table

  • Jamón Serrano and Ibérico
  • Chorizo – semi-cured and dry-cured
  • Manchego – young, middle-aged, and mature
  • Basque cheeses – Kukulu and Idiazabal
  • Olives stuffed everything imaginable, from chorizo to blue cheese
  • Marcona almonds, fried and salted (perfect with a glass of sherry)
  • Superb Spanish olive oil
  • Reserva Sherry vinegar
  • Artisan crackers
  • Pan de higos (dense fig  ‘bread’ dotted with whole almonds or walnuts)

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Filed under Cheese, Christmas, Food, Jamon

New Cheeses and 1994 Grahams Vintage

Spanish Table Seattle Newsletter                                               September 26, 2011      

George, cheesemonger here at Spanish Table and Paris grocery, located some spectacular quesos at the summer Fancy Food Show. We had a special order of lucious cheeses flown in, and just have a few wheels of each, so come in now for the broadest selection!

  Tou del Til.lers: A raw cows milk from Lleida in Catalonia with a bloomy rind and soft paste. Spreadable, nutty, and mushroomy. Melts well and is ideal for recipes that include melted or grilled cheese. This cut-to-order cheese can be found at our Paris Grocery store.

Viejo Maestro: from Extremadura, produced by the family who pioneered Torta del Casar. Viejo Maestro is just like Torta del Casar except made with goats’ milk cheese. With a creamy and intensely goaty flavor, it is phenomenal! This cheese is cut-to-order at our Paris Grocery store.

Petit Odre: A cousin to Catalan goat cheese Nevat, it is produced by same cheesemaker but with sheeps’ milk cheese. Odre has a full rich buttery flavor with herbal overtones and a sweet finish. Think slightly chalky sheep camenbert. Small wheels, approximately half pound, in the grab-n-go case at Spanish Table.

Quinta da Rigueira: Portuguese cured sheeps milk cheese in half pound wheels. A less expensive version of the intensely flavored Azeitao, look for this in the Spanish Table grab-n-go case.

Casa Lusa Amonteigado: Soft and delicious Portuguese cured sheeps milk cheese in half pound wheels, wrapped in fabric. In The Spanish Table grab-n-go case.

Torta de Barros: Produced in Extremadura from raw sheeps’ milk cheese, it is made with a vegetable rennet. Soft, with a piquant touch, it has intense flavors and herbal notes. Winner of a gold medal at the 2009 World Cheese Awards. This cut-to-order cheese can be found at our Paris Grocery store.

Our cut-to-order cheeses are now stocked at Paris Grocery, our French store two doors south of Spanish Table on Western Avenue. At Spanish Table, we stock fresh, in-house cut and wrapped cheeses such as Manchego & Argentinian Reggianito, as well as the above selection of small whole wheels.  

NEW WINES 

1994 Graham’s vintage port ($94.00) A small amount of this stunning 1994 port has just been released; last week we were supremely fortunate to taste it. Superbly balanced with an intriguing and subtle note of herbs to offset the sweetness, it can absolutely be enjoyed now but also has the stuffing to age for another 10 to 15 years. An excellent gift for port afficiandos!. “In a [1996] port tasting, Graham’s is almost like tasting a big, rich, succulent Merlot after a group of blockbuster, tannic Cabernets. Sweeter and more obvious than many ports, the opaque purple-colored 1994 is fruity, powerful, and rich, with an addictive hedonistic quality. It will be ready to drink in 8-10 years and keep for up to 30. As always, this is a showy, flamboyant port that has the advantage of being slightly sweeter than other 1994s. A great Grahams.” 96 points Wine Advocate

2008 Mas Doix Salanques Priorat ($29.99) I’ve been hounding our distributor for the new vintage of Salanques ever since the exceptional 2007 vintage sold out. The 2008 vintage is fabulous, indeed just as delicious as the 2007. “the [winery] owners consider 2008 to be one of the top 3 vintages of the decade, a great vintage with low yields and vibrant acidity. A blend of 65% Garnacha, 20% Carinena, and the balance Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, it has been aged in second year barrels. Medium purple in color with a fragrant nose of cedar, mineral, spice box, lavender, black cherry, and blueberry, on the palate it is smooth-textured, intense, and concentrated with 2-3 years of aging potential. It will perform optimally from 2014 to 2023.” 91 points Wine Advocate

We’ve got Czech pilsner! There are only seven independent breweries left in Prague. When we discovered that a pilsner from one of the independents is available here, we had to have it. Zatec Lager is deep gold, with complex malt, bright hop aroma and finish.   

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Filed under Cheese, Port, Red Wine, Travel

Condiments and New Wine Specials

Spanish Table Seattle Newsletter                                               September 16, 2011      

We just returned from two amazing weeks in Eastern Europe.  The weather was scorching which made the cold pilsners taste crazy-good in Prague! DubrovIn Dubrovnik, Croatia our daily platters of grilled seafood fresh from the Adriatic were perfection. The heat, the beaches and the plates ofpescaitopescaito frito (small fried fish) made it feel almost like Spain. Now if they could just figure out rosé wines…

One thing they do really well in Eastern Europe is judiciously use great condiments. A variety of mustards on grilled sausages really takes this simple dish to the next level. We’ve got over 20 mustards at our Paris Grocery store – grab a selection for the next tail gate party! Ajvar, the eggplant and pepper sauce was served everywhere with grilled vegetables and also made a great dipping sauce for French Fries. The Spanish Table has three brands of Ajvar, and it’s finally the season to grill eggplant and zucchini. We’ve also got a large selection of tapenades made from asparagus, artichokes and of course black or green olives. Wild mushroom mousse is fantastic on crostini, and we stock Baba Ganoush, the traditional eggplant and tahini spread that is traditionally served with warm pita bread.

NEW PRODUCTS AND OLD FAVORITES BACK IN STOCK 

Calasparra rice is back in stock! ($8.99/kg.)   Named after the province where it is grown in Murcia, southeastern Spain, this special strain of rice has its own Denominación de Origen.   Calasparra is grown in mountain valleys, unlike Valencian rice which is grown in coastal areas. These conditions produce a hard grain rice which takes a few minutes longer to cook and requires more liquid. Its nutty taste and firm texture offer up a subtle difference in rice dishes. It’s especially delicious in mushroom rice dishes. Lomita is a smaller and more affordable version of the pure acorn fed, 100% iberico, cured pork loin. We think it’s better than Jamon Iberico! The Iberican pigs roam free on 400,000 hectares of Dehesa (acorn tree forest) in the province of Cordoba, Spain. The acorn trees that grow here are the Encina (Holm Oak), considered to have the sweetest acorns in Spain.

Larsa San Simon – We’re excited to introduce a new brand of this traditional smoked cow’s milk cheese from Galicia. Larsa San Simon does not come in cryovac which allows it to develop naturally. The cheese has a drier paste and wonderful woody, smoky note reminiscent of an artisanal Idiazabal.

2012 Spanish and Portuguese calendars are here ($14.99).   With seasonal photos from all over each country, it’s the next best thing to being there.

Juego de Loteria games are back in stock! Learn Spanish words and numbers while you play this Mexican bingo game.

NEW WINES 

2003 Marti Fabra Selecció Vinyes Velles ($9.99) SALE! Regularly $19.99. “Aged 10 months in French oak, the unfined/unfiltered 2003 Marti Fabra Seleccio Vinyes Velles (70% Grenache, 10% Carignan, 10% Tempranillo, and equal parts Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon) exhibits a rich, sweet perfume of black cherries and earth, an elegant attack, medium to full body, good depth as well as ripeness, and a long finish.” 90 points Wine Advocate

2009 Dacu Tempranillo, Ribera del Guadiana ($9.99) Produced in Extremadura from the second largest D.O. in Spain, it is also one of the least known wine regions. The cool nights in this 1837 foot-high vineyard enhance the bright fruit flavors, and the 2009 vintage is marked by concentrated black fruits and licorice notes. Balanced and dry, it finishes with notes of tobacco and earth. This is all-around delicious!

2006 Celler Ripoll Sans Closa Ballett, Priorat special price $29.99 (regular price $45.00!) Mark Ripoll Sans of Celler Ripoll Sans gave us a Jeep tour of his Gratallops family vineyard in May and ushered us into his infinitesimal winery. He produces less than 20,000 bottles per year and makes three wines: Black Slate Gratallops, Closa Batllet and a white wine made of escanyevcuran, a native grape that is practically extinct. 2006 Closa Batllet is a serious red wine with sweetly ripened fruit, characteristic of the warmer weather in 2006. Made of 65% Carineña, 20% Garnacha, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot and Syrah, it is explosive, full-bodied, structured and balanced. Notes of black cap berries, tar and dust lead into a lingering finish which is dry and mineral-driven. This is an amazing price for a profound wine! Only 4000 bottles made.

The Wine Spectator featured the wines of one our favorite Rioja producers, Cune Imperial in the October 15, 2011 issue. We’ve got the 1996 Imperial Gran Reserva Rioja in stock ($72.00) which is “Dark red. Bright, spicy cherry and redcurrant on the nose, with sexy oak spice, leather, anise and coffee accents. Silky, broad and sweet, with the vibrant red fruit flavors building with air. The supple tannins blend nicely into the wine’s rich cherry and currant flavors while conferring structure and focus. There’s a load of flavor here but the palate impression is elegant and graceful. Concentrated, suave and long, a late note of cigar box providing even more interest. Absolutely lovely right now, this should hold for some time to come.” 93 points Stephen Tanzer

1998 Cune Imperial Reserva Rioja ($51.00) is “Highly nuanced, quintessential Rioja aromas of plum, strawberry, cherry, mocha, minerals and tobacco. Firm and quite dry, with sinewy flavors of plum, minerals and tobacco leaf. Solidly structured Rioja, finishing with dusty tannins and a minty note. With time in the recorked bottle, this put on weight and sweetness, showing a very pure strawberry flavor and considerable elegance.” 90 points Stephen Tanzer 

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Filed under Cheese, Fish, Food, Red Wine, Travel