Category Archives: Food

Mother’s Day Gifts

MOTHER’S DAY IS SUNDAY MAY 8TH.   Happy Mothers Day to you all!
There are excellent gifts for Mom at The Spanish Table.   Some great items we have in stock are:
Hand made ceramics.    Give Mom a gorgeous, hand painted serving bowl, pitcher or flower vase.  We also have coffee cups, “Vuelve Tortilla” plates used to flip Tortilla Españolas, platters, and deviled egg platters.
 
Cazuelas:  Clay cookware made in Spain is durable and practical.    Available in a huge assortment of colors, shapes and sizes, they can be used on the stovetop, in the oven and in the dishwasher.
Paella kit: Get Mom a starter kit for making paella.   It contains a paella pan, ½ kilo of bomba rice, olive oil, saffron, paprika and Paella cookbook.   Add broth, vegetables and/or protein and get started!
  A selection of high quality extra virgin olive oils make a fantastic gift.   We have oils for salad, smoked and flavored oils for drizzling and intensely flavored oils for dipping.
Spanish Style by Kate Hill – Regularly $49.95, now $19.99.  Is Mom an architect, or thinking of moving to Spain?  This book showcases over 20 Spanish residences, from stylish city apartments, to Modernista seaside homes and country villas.  Featuring wrought iron accents, sumptuous textiles, Spanish tilework… this book is an inspiration to interior design.
Raw Greek Honeys:    Plain or with hazelnuts, Ariadne Pure honeys are raw and contain all of the natural pollen & propolis.   There are no preservatives, additives nor flavorings; the honey has not been heated, processed nor filtered.   The plain raw honey comes mostly from orange blossoms with traces of sage and lavender while the hazelnut honey has a nutty flavor along with the floral notes.   These are some of the most delicious and nutritious honeys available.
MARK YOUR CALENDARPIKE PLACE MARKET FLOWER FESTIVAL: Saturday, May 7 – Sunday, May 8, 2016     9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Pick up a gorgeous bouquet for Mom from one of Pike Place Market’s 40 local farmers, on Mother’s Day weekend.  Special tents will line the west side of Pike Place for this event and there will be more fresh flowers than ever.   Grab a bouquet and then purchase a beautiful vase at Spanish Table.
NEW! Pitted Peruvian olives, unpasteurized.  Mild and buttery green Ascolana olives come with a fiery marinade made with spicy Aji Limo & Rocoto Aji peppers and paprika.    Excellent in ceviche, to add heat and depth of flavor.
NOTABLE WINES 
2015 Txomin Etxaniz Rose, Getaria ($20.99)   Salmon berry colored with a slight spritz, Txomin Rosado is beautifully festive in the glass.   Offering notes of wild strawberry and apple, this mouthwatering dry rosé will have you yearning for a plate of fried fish.    Limited availability.
If there a wedding in your future, we have the perfect red wine for the special day!   2014 Flaco Tempranillo is produced with grapes grown in a high elevation vineyard in the mountains outside Madrid.  Aged in large concrete and stainless steel tanks, this is a quaffer that will please everyone.   And at a price of $7.99 per bottle, less 10% for 6 bottles or more (plus tax), the price can’t be beat!   Medium bodied with bright red cherry fruit, it shows notes of spice and a depth of complexity considering the price.   With low tannins, this is a great sipping wine which also pairs well with a variety of foods from poultry, pork, and spicy seafood.   “The red fruit nose shows Pinot-like energy, with white pepper and floral pastille nuances adding complexity. Silky and sweet on the palate, offering intense but edge-free raspberry and spicecake flavors. A wine of noteworthy elegance, especially for the money. Finishes sappy, floral and long, with lingering red fruit character and just a hint of tannins.”   90 points Stephen Tanzer/Vinous
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Filed under Basque, Books, Ceramics, crockery, Food, Red Wine, Rose, Spain, Tempranillo

Portuguese Wine Tasting, Snack Packs

PORTUGUESE WINE TASTING SATURDAY APRIL 23, 2:30 P.M. to 5:00 P.M.
Mark your calendar — a week from tomorrow we’ll be tasting Portuguese wines with Eugenio Jardim from Wines of Portugal.
  Last July, Eugenio led us on an eye-opening trip around Portugal’s gorgeous wine regions.  Each day we toured vineyards of indigenous grape varietals – Portugal has over 250 native grapes; the Douro Valley alone has 116 native grapes.    Most grow nowhere else on earth.      We met passionate winemakers, who, recognizing the treasure of their native grapes, are producing distinctive, character-filled wines with these grapes.
I was a fan of Portuguese wines before the trip, but came home wildly enthusiast about getting more of these phenomenal wines into the shop.  They are mind blowing, especially considering the prices!
Eugenio will be on hand April 23 to talk about the fantastic wines coming out of Portugal right now.  We’ll be pouring samples of several wines that represent what the excitement is about.     Join us between 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. for this event!
Ybarra Anchovy Stuffed Olives in JarSALE!! Regularly $3.99, now $1.99

Food tastes better out of a jar, and these anchovy stuffed Manzanilla Olives are selected for high quality, and stuffed with anchovy paste.  Excellent for snacking, or chop up and put on a pizza!
New!  Mina Shakshuka Sauce – A Tunisian sauce traditionally served with baked eggs for breakfast or lunch, its popularity has spread throughout the Middle East.  The sauce ingredients vary with the seasons but typically contains peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic with a variety of spices.  Shakshuka is also excellent on pizza or roasted vegetables.
New!  Snack pack – We’ve packaged up cubes of Manchego cheese, trail mix and dried fruit combination to satisfy that mid-afternoon slump.   Avoid hangriness in a healthy way!
Paul and Pippa cookies:  Featured in Wednesday’s New York Times, these delectable cookies made from organic ingredients are in stock at The Spanish Table.   The Cocoa and Salt Flakes are my personal favorite.
2013 Belondrade y Lurton Verdejo (Rueda) $36.00 Jean Belondrade paid a visit to Spanish Table yesterday and gave a first-hand account of the meticulous vinification process that makes these wines so incredible.  His father, Didier Belondrade released his first vintage in 1994 after tasting a Verdejo wine and becoming convinced of the grape’s potential for aging.   The winery owns 30 hectares with 19 plots, each with differing soils and aspects.   Each vineyard is fermented in oak using native yeast on the lees and aged separately.  Oak barrels are from different French coopers, some given a light toast, others with heavy toast and used based on the characteristics of each plot.
  “2013 was not an easy harvest in Rueda, but those that worked well in their vineyards and were able to harvest early (by hand and sorting the grapes), the result is often a fresh wine. For those that worked well, 2013 could be similar to 2007, which not coincidentally, is my favorite vintage at Belondrade. However, they had to sort and discard lots of grapes (around 10%) for this 2013 Belondrade y Lurton. The nose is really exuberant, very perfumed, very Verdejo, very fresh, open and expressive, with aromas of lilies, aromatic herbs (lavender), fennel, rhubarb and a hint of orange peel; the oak is in the background, much better integrated than in the old times. The palate is very fresh, lively, vibrant (in general there is no malo, but as they use natural yeasts if a barrel starts doing malo they do not stop it) with some citric flavors reminiscent of grapefruit, talcum powder and aromatic herbs; it has with good length and balance. This has the potential to have a long life in bottle, especially in large formats. As a reference, I tasted the 2010 which is aging nicely and developing balsamic aromas that reminded me of some aged Cavas. As some new vineyards had come into production for Belondrade (as a general rule the vines have to be around ten years old and they have to see the potential in the must), the total volume was around the same as in previous vintages, as in 2013 there were 92,000 bottles produced.”  93 points Wine Advocate
2009 Vina Alberdi Reserva Rioja ($20.99) THIS CUSTOMER FAVORITE IS BACK IN STOCK!  100% Tempranillo.   “Aromas of ripe red berries, candied rose, vanilla and pipe tobacco, with a mineral element contributing vivacity. Juicy, penetrating and gently sweet on the palate, offering vibrant raspberry and cherry flavors that deepen on the back half. Shows very good heft and power on a long, focused finish framed by harmonious, slow-building tannins.”  92 points Stephen Tanzer/Vinous

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Filed under Events, Food, Portugal, Rioja, Spain, Tempranillo, Travel, Verdejo, Wine

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

Easter Specialties

March 25, 2016

Easter, or Pascuas, is a major holiday in Catholic Spain.  The week before Easter is Semana Santa (Holy Week), when many towns close down and hold religious processions throughout the streets.   The arrival of Pascuas ends the fasting of Lent, and special sweets such as torrijas (similar to French toast) are widely enjoyed.
  For Easter brunch or other meals, using hearty Spanish ingredients will enhance any recipe.  For example, using roasted Piquillo Peppers from a jar, scrambling or baking them with eggs and chorizo makes an easy and crowd-pleasing brunch dish.   Or make a Tortilla Espanola in advance, and grill a side dish ofchistorra (breakfast sausage).    Accompany these dishes with our Easter Brunch Bread (recipe below), which delights with Spanish flavors of orange blossom honey, orange zest and pine nuts (ingredients are available at The Spanish Table).
NEW ARRIVALS 
A timely shipment of cured meats arrived yesterday, including favorite chorizos for paella, the semi-cured Bilbao and Riojana.
New:  Despana chorizo – a semi-cured sausage, with smoky and mild flavors of garlic and spices.
 
Dacsa Valencian paella rice is back in stock, again available in 1 kg and 5 kg bags.
Customer favorite Miguel and Valentino Arbequina extra virgin olive oil arrived this week.   Fruity, buttery and flavorful!
New cut:  The uncured, raw Iberico Bellota meats are melt-in-the-mouth tender.  In addition to the Solomillo (tenderloin) cut, we now have a limited supply of Carrilleras (cheeks).
Easter basket treats:    
From Portugal, pastel colored, sugar coated, egg shaped almonds.
 
Spanish hot chocolate mix.   Extra thick style to cling to churros or anything sweet that is dipped into it.
We’ve got churro mix and churreras (extruders for making churros), too.
WHAT TO DRINK WITH THIS FABULOUS MEAL?
 
ROSÉ SANGRIA is refreshing and gorgeous, and perfect at Easter brunch.
INGREDIENTS:  (substitute frozen fruit if necessary)
2 cups blueberries
2 cups blackberries
2 cups hulled strawberries
2 cups mixed red and golden raspberries
1 tablespoon superfine sugar
5 ounces Framboise or Cassis
1 bottle chilled Abadia de la Oliva rose wine
1 1/3 cups white cranberry juice
DIRECTIONS
In a pitcher, combine fruit. Stir in sugar. Add Framboise; let sit at least 1 hour. Stir in wine and juice. Serve chilled.

EASTER BRUNCH BREAD
Bread is relatively inexpensive and there are many great bakeries, so why bother?  Because making bread is a chance to participate in the almost mystical experience that occurs as the yeast springs to life and loaves of bread puff up, rising before your eyes.  So once in a while, I make some off-beat bread that is not like store bought bread at all.  This is one, a fluffy loaf with a sprinkling of flavors I associate with Spain.   Steve Winston
 
Sponge:
½ cup Flour
½ cup Warm water
1 package Dry yeast
1 tablespoon Orange blossom honey
Dough:
1 cup Milk, room temperature
¼ pound Butter, melted (we recommend using French butter, available at Paris Grocery)
½ teaspoon Salt
2 large eggs
1/8 c cup minced orange zest
1/8 c cup Poppy seeds
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
3½ cups all-purpose flour
Sponge: Combine first four ingredients and proof for 30 minutes until bubbles form.
Dough: Mix in the remaining ingredients, adding flour ½ cup at a time.
Turn out onto a board and knead until elastic, 15-20 minutes.    The dough will be quite wet so keep your hand floured and work the dough with a pastry scraper.  Oil a large bowl and turn the dough into it, turning it over so the oiled side is up.  Let rise until doubled in volume.
Preheat oven to 350º
Form into a loaf.  It is very flexible.  I make a U shape and twist the two arms over each other.  Place on a baking sheet sprinkled with corn meal. Let rise again, 40 minutes. Bake for 40 minutes.

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Filed under Food, Garnacha, Jamon, Meat, Portugal, Recipes, 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