Category Archives: Verdejo

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
Advertisements

Leave a comment

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

Iberian Comfort Foods, New Wines

IBERIAN COMFORT FOOD INGREDIENTS
  Chicken, simply roasted with just a few sprinkles of salt and herbs, is one of life’s great comfort foods.  Make it immeasurably better by serving it with a glass of Rioja, particularly 2007 Viña Cubillo Crianza!
  Shiitake mushrooms are superb, and in season now.   I’ve been sautéing them in garlic, fresh thyme and fino sherry, and tossing them with everything from lentils to pasta.   For a superb comfort food dish, however, combine shiitakes, chorizo and Madeira with chicken.
See The Spanish Table’s recipe below. 
New!  Basque Meat Marinade.   Basque Norte Restaurant in Chico, CA created this popular sauce in 1975 and has been serving it ever since.   Now made commercially for them by Mooney Farms in Chico, the restaurant immerses their steaks in the marinade for 10 minutes, then cooks them on a hot grill.   For more intense flavor, the meat can be marinated longer, even overnight.  Also excellent on chicken, pork or lamb.   Try it!
New Supplier, better flavor!  Medjool dates from California.  Naturally processed with no added sugar, these dates have a caramel flavor with a balanced, not overwhelming, sweetness.   Excellent for snacking or serving with cheese; also used in North African tagine recipes.
Dried limes are back in stock:  A relatively new ingredient on our shores, dried limes are a staple of Iranian and Persian Gulf cuisines.  With a sour and musky-fermented flavor, they are made by boiling fresh limes in a salt and water brine, then drying them in the sun.  They can be used whole, in soups or stews (poke the limes with a knife so the liquid can seep through and absorb the maximum flavor).
  Or break up the lime and make a seasoning powder, using a spice grinder.  It is excellent sprinkled on seafood, meat and especially lentils to punch up the flavor.

NOTABLE WINES
2013 Barco del Corneta Verdejo, Castilla y Leon $29.99) ORGANIC  100% Verdejo, made from organically grown grapes.   Barrel fermented using local yeasts and aged on its lees for 8 months.  With aromas of citrus and toast, this a creamy white wine. Rich, generous and weighty with concentrated and nuanced fruit flavors, this is a perfect winter white.  The finish is refreshing and lifted, leaving a clean citrus note on the palate.
2013 La Cartuja Priorat ($15.99)  ” (70% garnacha and 30% carinena; aged for six months in French oak): Bright violet color. A highly perfumed bouquet evokes dark berries and fresh flowers, with a spicy nuance gaining strength with air. Juicy and energetic on the palate, showing a silky texture and juicy blackberry and cassis flavors. The smooth, smoky finish shows very good clarity and a whisper of fine-grained tannins.”      90 points Stephen Tanzer
 
2011 Herdade de Rocim Mariana, Alentejano ($16.99)  My trip to Portugal last July revealed the explosion of talented winemakers and profusion of superb wines coming out of this country right now.  Herdade de Rocim fits squarely in this realm, producing excellent wines in the value-driven Alentejo region.   A blend of 30% Aragonez, 20% Syrah, 15% Alicante Bouschet and 15% Trincadeira, this is a medium-bodied red that delivers an intensity of bright red fruit.   With aromas of violets,dusty graphite notes, 2011 Mariana is precise, with a satiny finish.  Tasty!  91 points Wine Enthusist.

2011 Viña Almate, Castilla y Leon ($20.99) Natural winemaker Alfredo Maestro seeks out neglected, high altitude vineyards around Castilla y León and works them organically, using indigenous yeasts. In the cellar, Alfredo eschews all winemaking additives, including sulfur, so that his wines simply offer up a purity of fruit and a sense of place.   2011 Viña Almate is 100% tinto fino (Tempranillo), 75% from Ribera del Duero and 25% from just outside Ribera’s boundary.   Aged in neutral French oak for 2-4 months, the wine is unfined and unfiltered.   Aromas of smoke and dust are balanced by lifted black currant and marionberry fruit.   Earthy mushroom nuances have savory notes of wild herbs.  Fresh, precise and mineral driven, it has excellent structure with fine grained tannins.  This is a wine with character; savor it with jamon serrano.

CHICKEN AND SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS COOKED IN CATAPLANA
In this case, you are using the enclosed environment of the Cataplana to make a stew. (Cataplanas are available at The Spanish Table; their shell-like form clamps shut and holds in the moisture as ingredients cook).   That means you will have to be a little patient while is stews, hidden out of sight, under the lid.  While it stews away is a good time to sip some of the Madeira and a good excuse to buy something a little better than Rainwater Madeira.  A 5 year old Bual or a Malmsey would be a good selection.
Serves 2
¼ cup Olive Oil
1 choriço (or Spanish chorizo), diced
1 Yellow Onion, chopped
1 Potato, diced
1 Bay Leaf
½  pound Shiitake Mushrooms, sliced
½ pound Chicken breast, cut into strips
½ teaspoon Sea Salt
½ cup Madeira
½ cup Half-and-half
Heat oil in a large Cataplana.  Cook choriço until just starts to brown. Stir in onions and potato and cook until onions are limp. Stir in mushrooms and cook until soften. Stir in chicken and salt. Pour in Madeira, clamp down cover and cook twenty minutes. Open cataplana and stir in half-and-half just before serving.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Alentejo, Basque, Cataplana, Food, Madeira, Portugal, Recipes, Red Wine, Uncategorized, Verdejo