Category Archives: Jamon

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

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

Whole jamones – Serrano & Ibérico

Christmastime in Spain: Look around and you will see a strange sight. Here and there, in the bustle of a downtown plaza or in the cramped quarters of the autobus, people are cradling mysterious, bulky packages. If you could peek beneath the wrapping, what would you discover? ….a whole leg of jamón, hoof and all!

A whole jamón is a common Christmas gift in Spain, where festive generosity revolves around food and drink. So why not celebrate Christmas like a Spaniard this year with beautifully cured a leg of jamón Serrano or Ibérico. Atop the table, it makes a show-stopping—not to mention mouth-watering—centerpiece for a party.

We have several whole jamones available for purchase at our Paris Grocery store, just two doors down the street from The Spanish Table. Choose from traditional jamones and paletas (the foreleg), Serrano, Ibérico, and Bellota, bone-in and boneless.

Jamón-Ibérico-FermínCurrently available:

  • Fermin bone-in jamón Serrano
  • Jamondor boneless jamón Serrano
  • Fermin boneless paleta Serrana
  • Fermin bone-in paleta Ibérica de Bellota

Feliz Navidad! Oink, oink.

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Hello Small Vineyards!

Perfectly delicious wines are made by large producers, using state of the art technology and economies of scale.   I am thrilled to find, for example, a bottle like Marques de Riscal Rioja in a small town restaurant.   Savoring a dependably tasty bottle of wine with a meal absolutely increases the pleasure!

But when able, I’ll choose a wine from a small producer.  Often small wineries’ bottlings are a labor of love, sometimes made with difficult-to-grow varietials that have a limited market appeal.  Small wineries fill important niches:  maintaining diversity in the plant world and on the wine shop shelves, and making wines that reflect the terrunyo of infintesimal plots.

We’re excited to now feature Small Vineyards’ portfolio of Spanish and Portuguese wines.  Small Vineyards seeks out and supports diminutive family-owned estates that make exceptional wines for the price.   Their criteria for adding a producer to their portfolio is simple:  The winery’s size must be in the smallest 10%  for that country;  the estate must hand pick all grapes to ensure that only the ripest fruit is made into wine, and the producer must use sustainable growing methods to make earth-friendly wines.   We’ve  chosen to spotlight the following terrific wines in our floor stack just inside the door.  Give them a try!

2009 Aravo Albariño, Rias Baixas ($19.99)   Fresh green apple and citrus flavors have a weightiness on the palate.   Clean and full of minerals, this wine stuns with mint, acacia flower and wet granite notes.

2008 Terras de Xisto, Alentejo ($8.99)  A terrifically expressive wine and an extraordinary value!  With a bouquet of dusty red fruit, spices and a hint of menthol, Terras de Xisto has been described as “Portuguese Chianti with a zing.”  Concentrated, balanced and vibrant, it has dusty notes from the “xisto” (schist) soil.

2009 Clua Domenech Garnacha, Terra Alta ($11.99)  Raised in stainless steel, Clua Domenech is bursting with ripe fruit, lively acidity and admirable color. This 100% Garnacha boasts a hint of mushroom on the nose.   Bright and juicy with spice notes, this lengthy effort pairs wonderfully with cured meats.

2007 Perfil Douro ($17.99)   Powerful and lush with muscular tannins, Perfil Douro is a red wine to serve with hearty, winter fare.  From an exceptional vintage, it has notes of coffee, earth and ripe black fruit. A full-bodied red, it has notes of tobacco on the persistent finish which add complexity.   With every sip, I thought again “this is delicious!”

2006 Parmi l’Infant Priorat ($36.00)  2006 was the first vintage from this estate and they’ve started off with a bang!  Parmi l’Infant is a full-bodied, concentrated teeth stainer.  This fascinating wine is fermented in oak, but not aged in oak.   Extracted and structured, it has layers of pomegranate, pencil lead, crushed rock and mineral.  Only 400 cases were produced – this is a stunning value from the Priorat region.

Look for other Small Vineyards wines on our shelves – they wear a distinctive gold sticker and tell the story of the producer on the back label.

GIFTS FOR FOODIES

A flavorful Extra Virgin Olive Oil adds complexity to grilled fish and is essential in salads.    Our favorites:  Duc de Foix and Luis Herrera from Spain, and Nectar from Portugal.

Sherry Vinegar:  There is no substitute for this intense vinegar – its bright acidity makes flavors pop in a salad.  Our favorite brand:  Toro Albala.

Spanish Bonito del Norte Tuna in olive oil:   I eat this for lunch a couple of times per week, on top of mixed greens or on a baguette.   One of my favorites is on top of warm brown rice.  The nuttiness of the rice is a perfect foil for the rich tuna.   Our favorite brand:  Ortiz

Olives! We have an incredible selection of Spanish olives, stuffed and plain.  Our favorites:  Spanish Table brand lemon stuffed and Miguel & Valentino Manzanilla Olives.

A whole leg of jamon serrano.   We’ve got three boneless legs left, and it’s sure to make that special person very, very happy.

Spice kits:  An assortment of 9 spices from North Africa and the Middle East to inspire the cook in your life.

Flavored sea salts:   Flavors include smoked paprika, black olive and smoked.   Our Paris Grocery store has many additional styles.

Our Paris Grocery store, located two doors south of Spanish Table, can slice jamon serrano and lomo to order.

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Filed under Food, Jamon, Portugal, Red Wine, Spain

Stocked Up For Thanksgiving

Legs of Jamon, Curing

Extremadura means “extreme” which aptly depicts its remote location.  Located in western Spain, enclosed by mountain ranges, rivers and forests, this traditionally backward region offered a hardscrabble life for its pig and sheep farmers.    While its lands are still passed over by most travelers, its stellar foods have taken the culinary world by storm.   The legendary smoked paprika from La Vera is produced here, as is Jamon Bellota, the suave melt-in-your-mouth jamon that tastes like meat butter.   Incredible cheeses such as Queso Torta del Casar, Queso de los Ibores and La Serena come from Extremadura.    Thousands of olive trees grow here and produce exceptional oils.

On our last trip through Extremadura, we discovered an extraordinary line of olive oil products and just received a new shipment including the best nourishing hand cream that I’ve ever found. We now have an extensive line of La Chinata products made from extra virgin olive oil, including exfoliant, bath salts, bath gel, liquid soap, toner and shaving cream.   These make great and unique gifts, and are available exclusively at The Spanish Table.

NEW PRODUCTS

Whole Legs of Jamon Serrano.  One of our vendors had to free up space in their cooler for holiday specialties and offered us an incredible price on whole jamones.  We’ve now got whole Redondo Iglesias bone-in jamon for approximately $265.00 (based on actual weight) and Jamones Segovia whole, boneless legs of jamon that range from $235.00 to $270.00 each.  These boneless jamones are nitrate and nitrite free, aged 12 months.

200 Años Extra Virgin Olive Oil, regularly $14.00 now $11.99.  A blend of olive varieties, it is flavorful and buttery with light spice notes.

Authentic Angulas in Olive Oil from GaliciaThese are the real thing – serve them at your special holiday meal!  $50.00/115 gr tin.

Rose Petal Harissa Sauce:  Customers have been raving about this sauce for a few weeks now, and I finally tried it on scrambled eggs the other morning.   I almost swooned!  At once earthy and spicy with exotic spice flavors, it’s also great with cheese or even on a grilled pork sandwich.

E. Moreno Almendras Rellenas:   Baked pastry surrounds a soft almond and cinnamon filling.  What’s not to like?    E. Moreno Piñones, sugar coated.

Just arrived today! Delaviuda chocolate confections – Mendiants (chocolate with nuts) Crujientes (biscuits with chocolate), Chocolate Florentines and Butter Waffle Crisps.

We still have fresh Padron Peppers – our latest shipment arrived yesterday.   It’s 80 degrees in the Bay Area this week, so we should be able to get them for another week or so.

SUPERB THANKSGIVING WINES

2009 Muga Blanco Rioja ($14.99) Made of 90% Virua and 10% Malvasia. Slow fermentation in new French oak and three months aging on the lees give this wine a fresh crispness, round texture and pleasing weight on the palate.  Well-integrated oak flavors with bright citrus and white fruit notes have a mineral spine and a clean, dry finish.

2005 Albak de Elviwines, Ribera del Jucar ($9.99)  Close out! A blend of 45% Tempranillo, 21% Syrah, 18% Merlot and 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, this red is all-around exceptional. Elviwines’ winemaking group got their start in the Priorat region, producing top notch Cims de Porrera and Clos Martinent cuvees.  In Ribera del Jucar, the aim was to produce a moderately priced, delicious red from an unknown region with great potential.   2005 Albak has ripe fruit aromas with notes of boysenberry and black cherry have elements of mushroom and licorice.  ” Smoky redcurrant, and strawberry aromas are complicated by incense and musky underbrush. Light-bodied red fruit and dried rose flavors reminded me of a Piedmont wine, as did the fine-grained texture and gentle herbal qualities. Finishes with gentle grip and tangy minerality.”  88 points Stephen Tanzer

2001 Viña Lanciano Reserva, Rioja ($22.99)  Traditionally, the fruit for Rioja wines come from a number of disparate vineyards. Viña Lanciano is one of the few Riojas produced from a single plot.  The vineyard, encircled by the Ebro River with its special microclimate and soils, is where the grapes for LAN’s best wines are grown.  “From what will go down as a legendary vintage, the ’01 Lanciano is a full-boned but elegant wine with deftly balanced aromas of chocolate, mint, graphite and berry compote. The feel is satisfying and chewy, while the flavors of cherry cola, black plum and cocoa are pure and lasting.”  Wine Enthusiast

2006 Quinta do Crasto Douro Reserva Old Vines, Portugal ($40.00) This is my pick to serve on Thanksgiving!  “Aromas and flavors of kirsch, chocolate and dark plum are the hallmarks of this sumptuous Portuguese red. Very silky tannins and zesty acidity carry the long, sandalwood- and cherry-filled finish. Drink now through 2014.”  92 points Wine Spectator

2004 Remelluri Rioja ($34.00)  “Captivating aromas of cherry, cured meat, tobacco and licorice. Lush and juicy, with fresh red and dark fruit flavors, silky tannins and slow-mounting herbal qualities. Turns sweeter on the finish, with sexy oak spices lingering seductively. This is really delicious and already complex enough to enjoy in the near term.”  93 points Stephen Tanzer

2007 Alto Moncayo, Campo de Borja ($45.00)   “Deep, bright ruby. Complex bouquet offers scents of blueberry, boysenberry, cola, dark chocolate and mace. Broad, sweet dark berry flavors display liqueur-like depth and power and are nicely framed by velvety tannins. A tangy mineral note gains strength with air and adds vivacity to the long, sweet, spicy finish. I’d drink this alluring wine on the young side for its exuberant fruit character.”   93 points Stephen Tanzer

NV Torres Floralis Aqua D’Or dessert wine, Penedes ($20.99) Sipping this sweet Moscatel from Penedes is like drinking nectar. Floralis has aromas of lemon verbena, orange and seductive floral notes.  With concentrated flavors of roasted almond and citrus peel, its zippy acidity keep its unctuousness at bay.

Cune Rioja Bottle Library Offering!   Bodegas Cune has decided to release a limited number of old Reservas and Grand Reservas.   Pre-orders are due no later than December 8th and the wines will be shipped directly from Spain.   Expected arrival is beginning of March 2011.   Standout offerings include a 1917 Imperial Gran Reserva ($603.00), 1964 Viña Real Gran Reserva ($467.00), and vintages from the 1940’s through the 1990’s.   If you are looking for a special bottle for an important birthday or anniversary, one of these wines will make a fantastic gift.   Please let us know if you are interested in viewing the list and we will email a complete list.

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Filed under Food, Jamon, Red Wine