Category Archives: Red Wine

Raul Perez Wine Offering

Raúl Pérez is “One of a handful of the best winemakers in the world.”
  Winemaker Raúl Pérez is a genius at coaxing the maximum expression from each vineyard’s fruit.  Thoughtful, mercurial and experimental, he produces over 200 wines using mainly the red Mencia or white Albariño grape.  Most of his wines are made in minute quantities of just one or two barrels each.  A natural winemaker, his grapes are grown organically and his work is informed by respect for the environment.  He uses gentle extraction to preserve acidity and enhance ageability.
  In 2014 he turned to completely non interventionist wine making.  Of paramount importance to Raúl is understanding the place, and letting the wines transmit the expression of its soil and climate.  His wines are known for their purity, complexity and balance.   I’ve been fortunate to taste through a range of his wines from different vineyards, and it’s akin to comparing a Burgundian Gevry-Chambertin to a Pommard, versus a Vosne-Romanée.
Raúl Pérez has three of his own wineries in Bierzo, located in Spain’s northwestern province of Galicia,  His family founded the Castro de Ventosa estate in 1752 which now owns 75 hectares of vineyards in Bierzo’s Valtuille de Abajo.   Raúl runs this winery in addition to his other projects, and is in the process of classifying Valtuille’s hillside plots from which he cultivates the grapes. . He also collaborates with many top oenologists all over the world, in Portugal, France, Chile and South Africa. He has been described as restless, a superstar, uncompromising, humble, generous, and one of a handful of the best winemakers in the world.
 The wines of Raúl Pérez are of limited availability due to the infintesimal production and we scoop them up whenever the opportunity arises.  A lover of Burgundy wines would especially appreciate the nuanced character of these wines. 

They make very special gifts, and Father’s Day is just around the corner.

Raúl Pérez wines in stock.   REPLY TO THIS EMAIL OR CALL OUR SHOP TO ORDER – 206.682.2827.
BLANCO

2012 Muti Albariño, Rias Baixas ($46.00)  7 bottles available  “The 2012 Muti is pure Albariño, a mixture of different plots from the Salnés valley, 50% fermented and aged in oak and the other half in stainless steel. It has a sharp palate, with good freshness and a slightly bitter finish. The nose talks more about the soil, think about wet granite stones, white flowers with some faint smoky hints like roasted sunflower seeds, turning more and more mineral with time in the glass. This is superb, a real surprise. 1,500 bottles were made.”    93 points Wine Advocate
2013 Leirana Albariño, Rias Baixas ($38.00)   1 bottle available “Even the regular, early-released 2013 Leirana Albariño has a part that has been fermented in oak. It’s produced from vines from different villages in the Salnés valley, mostly with influence from the sea. You can feel the proximity to the sea in the nose but more in the palate where it’s almost saline, quite powerful and offering very good acidity and freshness. The nose mixes white flowers, apples and pears with a sea breeze sensation. This is much more than a young, fresh Albariño. 20,000 bottles produced.”  92 points Wine Advocate
2014 Leirana Finca Genoveva Albariño ($49.00)   4 bottles available “The Albariño 2014 Leirana Finca Genoveva comes from an old pergola vineyard (80% of the vines are thought to be over 180-years-old!). The grapes fermented with indigenous yeasts and without temperature control in oak foudres, and were kept in contact with the lees without racking (or bâttonage) for one year. It’s surprisingly more open than the regular Leirana, mixing the sea and soil sensations with lemon zest, white pepper and grapefruit, and even some aromatic herbs (mint?). The palate is sharp as a razor, ultra-focused and defined, vertical, precise like cut with a laser. A dry Mosel meets Puligny with granite electricity? Super! 4,000 bottles produced.”  95 points Wine Advocate
2012 Ultreia La Claudina, Bierzo ($61.00)  6 bottles available  “Love it or hate it, the 2012 Ultreia La Claudina is 100% Godello sourced next to La Cova on sandy soils produced in an oxidative/biological way in oak foudre where there was a veil of yeasts for a while, never refilled and with a slow fermentation. It has a deep golden color and a nose of cereals, nuts, pollen and yellow flowers. The straight palate is austere with a good acid frame, incipient complexity and a good length. The nose is round and the palate is much sharper – you can feel the different texture compared with the one coming from clay soils -, which is a surprising contrast. This should age very well, increasing its complexity and elegance with time in bottle. A white of strong personality, with a little bit of a Jura tang.”   93 points Wine Advocate
TINTO

2011 Vico  Mencia, Bierzo ($39.99)  2 bottles available   “(made from mencia vines that were planted in 1924; aged for 11 months in French oak): Deep ruby. Powerful, deeply pitched aromas of black and blue fruits, dark chocolate and licorice, with a spicy topnote. Densely packed and chewy in texture, offering smoky cassis and boysenberry flavors that coat the palate. Closes smooth and long, with lingering smokiness and slow-building tannins. I’d bet on this wine rewarding patience.”   91 points Josh Raynolds, Vinous

2011 La Vizcaina El Rapolao Tinto, Bierzo
($52.00) 6 bottles available “The 2011 La Vizcaina El Rapolao comes from the fresher of the red vineyards in the new La Vizcaina project. Like all the wines in Raul’s projects, these old vineyards have a field blend with a majority of Mencia, but they all have some Alicante Bouschet, Estaladina (the local name for Merenzao/Bastardo/Trousseau) and Souson. El Rapolao is a north-facing vineyard which is harvested 25-30 days after the warmer vineyards, and its soils are rich in clay and iron. The elegant nose shows some wild herbs, red rather than black fruit, and a strong sense of wet soil. The palate is balanced, with a light touch of the stems. Drink 2013-2020.”  93 points Wine Advocate
2011 La Vizcaina La Vitoriana Mencia, Bierzo ($52.00) 5 bottles available  “(made from mencia vines that were planted in 1892; all whole clusters and fermented in a large oak cask followed by ten months of aging in small French oak): Opaque purple. Mineral-accented black raspberry and cherry-cola aromas are complemented by notes of rose, minerals and spicecake. Sweet dark berry flavors show impressive depth and clarity, picking up a floral pastille nuance with air. The lasting finish leaves gently smoky floral and blueberry notes behind.”  92 points Josh Raynolds/Vinous, 93 points Wine Advocate
2012 Ultreia Saint Jacques Mencia, Bierzo ($33.00) 5 bottles available   “The 2012 Ultreia St Jacques is a Mencía cuvée from different plots across Bierzo, part fermented in stainless steel, part in barrique and part in oak vats all with 100% full clusters. It shows some notes of coffee and a herbal side with echoes of raspberry leaf and wild berries. The medium-bodied palate offers refined tannins and good freshness. It’s a great, approachable, very drinkable wine.” 92+ points, Wine Advocate

2010 Castro Ventosa El Castro de Valtuille, Bierzo
($25.99) 3 bottles available “The 2010 El Castro de Valtuille is the most fragrant of the 2010s from the winery. It displays a Burgundian nose of flowers and even peaches, balsamic (rosemary and other herbs) and a silky palate with good acidity and balance, showing ripe fruit and some minerality. A wine of pleasure. Drink 2014-2020.”  92 points Wine Advocate
 
2010 Castro Ventosa Cepas Centenarias, Bierzo ($68.00) 1 bottle available    “The 2010 Valtuille Cepas Centenarias perfectly combines elegance and power, displaying the concentrated balance that centenary vines are capable of. For this wine they play with different vineyards depending on the character of the vintage. In 2010 they selected the warmer vineyards, because it’s a cooler vintage, and in 2009 they selected cooler vineyards (for example Rapolao) as it was a very warm year. The ripe fruit is perfectly framed by the wood, making it a compact wine, with plenty of fruit and freshness: raspberries and dried roses. It needs a couple of years to completely integrate the wood, develop some more complexity and then it should drink well for the next decade. 2015-2020.”   94 points Wine Advocate
2011 Ultreia de Valtuille Mencia, Bierzo ($115.00) 2 bottles available 
(made from mencia vines that were planted on sandy soil in 1908; aged for a year in French oak): Brilliant violet color. High-pitched black and blue fruit aromas are complicated by suggestions of white pepper, Asian spices, lavender and smoky minerals. Lively, sharply focused blueberry and floral pastille flavors are framed by silky tannins and gain richness with aeration. Leaves suave notes of blueberry and black raspberry behind on the spicy, impressively persistent finish, which shows just a hint of tannins.   93 points Stephen Tanzer/Vinous
2011 Ultreia de Valtuille Petra, Bierzo ($114.00) 2 bottles available    “a Mencía-based blend from a plot on slate soils in the Ponferrada zone (Valdecañadas) at high altitude, produced for the first time in this vintage. The wine stayed in contact with the skins for seven months and then aged for one year in barrique. This is a very aromatic, flowery wine with notes of wild herbs that is very different from the rest as it shows aromas of graphite and black olives; it’s a wilder wine. The palate is medium-bodied, has a really silky palate of very good structure to support powerful, concentrated fruit that is not over-extracted. This is closer to a red from the Douro or a Northern Rhône Syrah. Unusual but great.”   95 points Wine Advocate
Photos courtesy of Friederike Paetzold

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Filed under Albariño, Mencia, Red Wine, Spain, Wine

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

Cinco de Mayo Wines & Foods

CINCO DE MAYO WINES & FOODS
Next Thursday May 5 (Cinco de Mayo) is a day that commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War.  Oddly enough, it is more widely celebrated in the U.S. than in Mexico, as it’s a great excuse to enjoy Mexican fare.
Sayulita Mexico is a laid-back surfing town about 30 miles north of Puerto Vallarta.  Surprisingly, the town has several wine shops with an unimaginable selection of Mexican wines.    Most wines are produced in the Valle de Guadalupe region of Baja Mexico, and are typically blends containing Cabernet Sauvignon.   We tried numerous bottles during our recent stay.  Many were excellent, and paired well with the spicy cuisine.
We’ve got two Mexican wines from Valle de Guadalupe in the shop.
Try one on Cinco de Mayo!
2009 Jubileo Meritage, Valle de Guadalupe, Baja Mexico ($18.99) 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc.  Aromas of bing cherry, plum, espresso, wild herbs and vanilla fill the glass.  More red fruit comes through on the palate, with plenty of acidity to keeps things in balance.  Finishes long, with supple tannins.   400 cases produced.
 
2009 Villa Montefiori Cabernet-Sangiovese, Valle de Guadalupe, Baja Mexico ($24.99) 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Sangiovese, aged 15 months in French oak.  Paolo Paoloni was formerly an enologist at Perugia University in Italy until he moved his family to Mexico and planted vineyards.   Structured and vibrant with excellent balance.   Full-bodied with spicy notes, it offers up silky tannins.
PARA COMER – MEXICAN FOODS FOR CINCO DE MAYO

Mole sauces:  Making a mole sauce from scratch is rewarding but time consuming.   Buying pre-made mole sauce simplifies everything, and by purchasing one of the  scrumptious Mexican-made sauces we stock, it taste as good as homemade.   We  stock many styles of mole sauces, including Negro, Rojo, Coloradito and  Poblano.  Chicken Mole on Cinco de Mayo, anyone?


Santa Fe Ole sauces:   When in New Mexico I order “Christmas” style entrees to get equal parts red and green chile sauce.  The roasted pepper flavors in these chile sauces are sublime with everything.    Santa Fe Ole sauces are the best jarred chile sauces we’ve found.    Try the red or green chile sauce (mild or medium hot), Green Chile Salsa or Ancho Salsa.
 

Miss Marjorie’s Plantain chips:  These are phenomenal with guacamole!  A creation of Marjorie Restaurant in Seattle, these plantain chips and guacamole are their signature appetizer.
 
Amor y Tacos by Deborah Schneider  SALE!  $9.99 (regular price $18.95) A cookbook inspired by roadside stands in Mexico, it contains recipes for appetizers, salsas, drinks, and loads of taco recipes.   Comes with mouth-watering photos.
 
 
PADRON PEPPER PLANT UPDATE:   We’ve got about 3 dozen plants for sale now, and when the Alaskan Way Viaduct reopens, we’ll have more plants available (hopefully around May 13).

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Filed under Books, Chile, Red Wine, Travel, Wine

The Timeless Pleasure of Rioja Wines

 

Rioja,Sierra la Demanda
THE TIMELESS PLEASURE OF RIOJA WINES   March 19, 2016
Rioja has been on the cutting edge of viticulture and oenology since the late 1800’s when Bordeaux vineyards were destroyed by the phylloxera louse.  To keep French wine markets supplied, Bordelaise vintners fled to Rioja, establishing wineries and bringing the latest winemaking technology to Spain. Many historic Spanish wineries date from this period and still exist today, including La Rioja Alta (established 1890), Bodegas Faustino (founded 1861), CVNE (1879), Marques de Murrieta (1852) and a number of others.

  Today in Rioja, wines vary from ‘traditional” style, with aging in American oak according to the Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva designations and released when ready to drink.   “Modern” style wines age for varying durations in French, Russian, American or Hungarian oak and offer a unique expression of Rioja.  Terruñyo-driven wines are produced from singular plots and showcase Rioja’s profusion of micro climates, soil, vineyard orientation and altitude.
Some of our favorite, traditional style Riojas:
2005 Bodegas La Rioja Alta Viña Ardanza Reserva Rioja($35.00)  One of the premier producers of old-school Rioja with impeccable quality. Viña Ardanza is labeled Reserva, but has aged long enough to be classified as a Gran Reserva.  80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha from ancient vines, aged separately; the Tempranillo is aged 36 months and the Garnacha was aged 30 months, both in neutral oak.  The wines were manually racked six times.    Offers up a silky depth of nuance and elegance.   “Sexy, highly perfumed aromas of red fruit preserves, vanilla, mocha and fresh flowers, with a hint of pipe tobacco coming up with air. Sappy and broad on entry, then more taut in the middle, with sweet cherry-vanilla and spicecake flavors given lift by juicy acidity. Closes smooth, spicy and long, with lingering smokiness and fine-grained tannins adding grip. A touch more lively than the excellent 2004 version of this wine and of equal quality, which makes it an outstanding value in old-school Rioja.”  92 points Stephen Tanzer/Vinous  94 points Wine Advocate
 
2001 Faustino I Gran Reserva Rioja ($40.00)  A classic house, founded 150 years ago and one of the largest landowners in Rioja.   Located in Rioja’s Basque Alavesa sub-region which many consider the best area for Tempranillo.  2001 was a spectacular vintage in Rioja and the 2001 Faustino Gran Reserva was named 2013’s Wine of the Year by Decanter Magazine.   Aged for 26 months in American and French oak barrels, then 3 years in the bottle before release, this is a full-bodied Rioja with balance and elegance.  “Restrained, mineral style with elegant tannins.  Youthful and fresh, feminine and complex.  Deliciously decadent, with extraordinary vitality in the palate and a long, unique finish.  A jewel at this price.”    19.25/20 points Decanter
 
2010 Señorio de P. Peciña Crianza Rioja ($19.99)   Pedro Peciña learned how to do things the painstakingly hard, old-fashioned way in his 18 year tenure as vineyard manager at Rioja’s iconic La Rioja Alta. A quarter century later, his attention to detail and dedication are displayed in his own bodega. His structured, beautifully layered wines speak to the soul of traditional Rioja with a Burgundian-like complexity and elegance.   “Deeply pitched red and dark berry aromas are complemented by vanilla, allspice and mocha and lifted by a smoky mineral topnote and building florality. Sweet and expansive on the palate, offering concentrated cherry-vanilla and raspberry flavors and a zesty undercurrent of minerality. Shows excellent power and persistence on the finish, which features supple tannins and resonating mineral and spice notes. This spent two years in American oak barrels before bottling and then rested for two more years prior to being released.”   92 points Stephen Tanzer/Vinous
  For an inspiring tutorial on Rioja wines, pick up a copy of “The Wine Region of Rioja” by Ana Fabiano.  With 229 pages of Rioja’s history, top bodegas and winemakers, grapes and much more, with gorgeous pictures.    You’ll be on a plane to Rioja in no time!

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Filed under Basque, Red Wine, Rioja, Tempranillo, Travel, Wine

SUPERB 1994 RIOJA GRAN RESERVA

Purity and finesse from an historic Rioja property.   Firmly traditional, they produce artisanal, singular wines that are unmatched in style and grace.
  Only a handful of other producers’ wines offer the character that distinguish those of Bodegas R. Lopez Heredia.  Founded in 1877 and still family-owned, the Lopez Heredia winery has never purchased fruit.  Grapes come exclusively from one of their four vineyards; wines are aged in barrels made by their own in-house cooperage (one of Rioja’s last two remaining).   A dedication to the founder’s philosophy has been passed down through the generations, including meticulous viticulture, hand-picking of all fruit, natural wine making using native yeasts and no filtration.

1994 R. Lopez Heredia Viña Tondonia Gran Reserva Rioja($99.00)  A splurge and an experience fully worth the price.   After serving this stunner with lamb chops last week (the quintessential Rioja pairing) we immediately bought out the distributor’s remaining stock.
1994 was a superb harvest, rivaling 1964 as the best Rioja vintage of the century.   1994 Viña Tondonia Gran Reserva delivers fresh aromas of spice and dried cherry fruit.   Nuances of tobacco leaf and cigar box spice have lift and elegance.  Shows finesse, ripe tannins and precision on the lengthy finish.
“(75% tempranillo, 15% garnacha, 5% graciano and 5% mazuelo): Wild, highly perfumed aromas of candied cherry, plum, anise, cured tobacco, Asian spices and vanilla, with smoke and allspice nuances. … seamless and expansive, offering sweet red and dark berry flavors and suggestions of candied rose and spicecake. In the glass, takes on weight with no loss of vivacity. Silky tannins build on and carry through a very long, smoke- and mineral-accented finish. No way I’d have guessed that this was an 18-year-old wine.”
94 points Stephen Tanzer/Vinous  
96 points Wine Advocate
Photos by Steve Winston

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Filed under Red Wine, Rioja, 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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