Tag Archives: french oak

Sole Sips: wood, flame & flavor

Far more than a mere storage container, a wine barrel is an active agent in defining the character of a wine. The most common material for barrels is oak, a flexible yet strong wood that is naturally waterproof yet allows the entry of oxygen into the wine. This assists with maturation process, softening texture and adding some of the aromas that characterize wine such as vanilla, toast, and leather. The type of oak, age of the barrel, and toast level are all important factors in the effect a barrel has on the wine within.

The two main types of oak used are American and French. Since American oak has larger pores, wine soaks into the wood more quickly, absorbing flavors faster. American oak contributes more aggressive tannins but a wider variety of flavors including chestnut, cedar, tobacco, dried fruits, and spices such as cumin, pepper, and licorice. French oak, on the other hand, lends notes of vanilla, coconut, clove, black pepper and cinnamon. It also contributes softer tannins that lend a touch of elegance to the wine. By having finer pores its flavors are transmitted more slowly.

Another important factor is the age of the barrel used. For example, a new barrel usually releases 50% of its organoleptic properties (its influence on flavor and texture etc.) on the first use, 25% on the second use, and less thereafter. As a barrel is used it becomes more neutral and has less impact on the wine it contains.

toasting barrel

Toasting is also a crucial step in the manufacture of a barrel, because it modifies the structure and the chemical composition of wood, in turn affecting the flavors of the wine. Basically, toasting causes a decrease of the astringency in the wood, matched with an increase of aromatic substances, ones that already exist in the wood and new ones formed through exposure to heat. Toasting ranges in four degrees or levels from light to heavy. The process takes 15 to 60 minutes, with temperatures ranging from 250° F for light toast to 475° F for heavy toast. In order to create a high-quality barrel, the toasting process must be uniform and controlled.

The degree of toast in a barrel has a profound impact on the flavors of a wine. Soft or light toast gives a wide array of aromas. Most pronounced are coconut, cream, and white chocolate. Used alone, however, this light toast can sometimes result in an unpleasant, resinous quality. Medium toast is the most commonly used since it provides good balance and complexity. While the coconut notes (lactones) decrease, other volatile substances increase, such as vanilla, caramel, coffee and bread. On the palate it is characterized by sweet and spicy notes combined with vanilla caramel and milk chocolate as well as toast, smoke, spice, and leather. High toast or medium plus, results in more pronounced spicy and smoky notes, graffito, dry leaves, gunpowder, and black chocolate. Very high toast imparts intense, powerfully smoky notes. While this goes well in certain wines, it risks giving the final product an overly roasted character.

When choosing barrels, wine makers consider both the type of wine to be aged and the type of wine that they are expecting to obtain.  Often they do not stick to one type of barrel but “play” with different toast levels, giving the final wine more complexity and diversifying the aromas and textures.

This interplay of wood, flame, and time in barrel aging is a fluid and fascinating process. Done well, it results in a world of flavor and complexity—a transmutation and tempering of fruit into a wine with depth, nuance and unique character.

– Sole Clavería

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Rare Spanish Gran Reservas Arrive!

Spanish Table Seattle Newsletter

April 30, 2010

Last December for the first time, Bodegas Beronia opened their library of Gran Reserva Riojas for sale. Our special order of three historic vintages were shipped directly from Beronia’s cellars and arrived at Spanish Table yesterday.

Beronia was founded in 1973 by a gastronomic society and was conceived as a winery dedicated to quality, exclusively making Reservas and Gran Reservas, in the purest, most traditional Rioja style. In 1982, having exceeded its initial expectations, Beronia was acquired by Gonzalez Byass (producer of Tio Pepe sherry) who expanded production to include value priced Crianzas. (For those new to Rioja wines, the terms Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva refer to the aging process. Crianzas are wines matured for at least one year in oak cask and six months further in the bottle. Reservas are aged for at least three years total, with one year minimum in oak cask. Gran Reservas are produced only in great vintages and have been aged at least two years in oak casks and three years in bottle prior to release.) The Beronia Gran Reservas that we received have been aged much, much longer than a normal Gran Reserva, as they’ve been aging in the winery cellars since bottling. Ready to drink now, they would be excellent with a special Mother’s Day dinner, or as a gift.

1981 Beronia Gran Reserva ($54.00) is at its peak right now. A very good vintage, this is soft and balanced with great mouth feel. Dried fruit, leather, green tea, vanilla and dried tobacco aromas in this aged red wine.

1982 Beronia Gran Reserva ($72.00) is an impressive library offering from Rioja. A superb vintage, this is soft and balanced with great mouth feel. Sweet plum, cranberry and cherry, earth notes, vanilla and cigar box aromas in this impressively elegant aged red wine.

1994 Beronia Gran Reserva ($53.00) comes from one of the best vintages in the last several decades. Just starting to show its age with dried tobacco, baking spice, plum and dried red cherry. Nice weight and good balance. This is a treat.

Mothers Day is coming up (Sunday May 9th) and we’re stocked with gifts for cooks and specialty foods. Some gift ideas: Hand painted ceramics in various colors and shapes. Olive oil soaps from Spain and Greece scented with Magnolia or Lavender. Cookbooks are a terrific inspiration for the culinary minded. Our selection includes Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, Mexican, Turkish, Middle Eastern, Vegetarian, Cuban. Our latest favorite is Michael Psilakis’ “How to Roast a Lamb – new Greek cooking”. An assortment of extra virgin olive oils. If you’re serving brunch, pick up a rosé cava to add a celebratory touch.

NEW ARRIVALS

New shipment of Graupera cazuelas arrived today. Now in three colors: Clay, Dark Gray and Very Red. Limited quantities available of Very Red.

Ole Ole Fresh Sausages – No preservatives, no nitrates. Available in Butifarra, Merguez, Chorizo, and Chorizo Picante.

Fresh shipment of Spanish saffron arrived this week! We air freighted one and two gram plastic boxes of the latest harvest. 1 gram box: $10.99, 2 gram box: $19.49

MORE SPANISH TABLE WINES

1998 Señorio del Aguila Gran Reserva, Carineña ($19.99) Distributor close out! A blend of 60% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, this food friendly red is perfectly aged. An earthy and medium-bodied wine, Señorio Del Aguila has notes of balsamic and spice. Red and black fruit with licorice flavors are balanced by silky tannins. Full of finesse, it is excellent with pork dishes.

2007 Beryna, Alicante ($19.99) Beryna is produced by a talented and enthusiastic team who bought a 19th century wine estate primarily planted with old vine Monastrell. 2007 Beryna has concentrated black cherry, dried plum and boysenberry flavors with drive and focus. Made of 60% Monastrell and 40% Tempranillo, Cabernet and Syrah, it has notes of chocolate and coffee. With superb lift, mineral notes and a persistent finish, this is a structured red that is excellent with barbequed rib-eye steaks or burgers. Very much like an old style Zinfandel! “Powerful, toasty” 92 points Guia Penin

2006 Riscal Tempranillo, Castilla y Leon ($9.99) Established in 1858, Rioja producer Marques de Riscal quickly became one of the most sought-after Spanish wines. Recently Riscal began producing table wines in Castilla y Leon, crafting value wines with the same care as their top Riojas. The 2006 Riscal is a well rounded Tempranillo with concentrated red fruit. Notes of cherries, raspberries, and cola are held together by soft velvety tannins, making it a perfect food wine. This is an excellent value!

2007 Goulart “The Marshall” Malbec, Argentina ($18.99) “The 2007 The Marshall “M” is 100% Malbec aged for 18 months in 40% new French oak. Opaque purple-colored, it offers up a nose of toasty new oak, cinnamon, allspice, violets, black cherry, and blackberry. On the palate it is rich, savory, and plush bordering on opulent. With excellent depth and grip, this substantial effort will evolve for another 2-3 years and offer prime drinking from 2011 to 2029.” 91 points Wine Advocate, 90 points Wine Spectator

VISIT US ON LINE!

Shop our wine website at Spanish Table Wines.

For food, cookbooks, paella pans and all non-wine items, go to The Spanish Table website.

For the latest product news from Paris Grocery, visit the PG Facebook page.

To subscribe to Paris Grocery’s newsletter, send an e-mail to info@parisgroceryseattle.com.

Have a great week and we’ll see you soon!

Sincerely,

Sharon Baden and Steve Winston, Owners

The Spanish Table, 1426 Western Avenue, Seattle WA 98101 phone# 206.682.2827

Paris Grocery, 1418 Western Avenue, Seattle WA 98101 phone# 206.682.0679

Hours at both stores: Monday- Saturday, 10 AM – 6 PM. Sunday 11 AM – 5 PM

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Padron Plants are Here!

Our sunny winter weather has us thinking of gardening, and how great it was to fry up all of those Padron Peppers last summer! We’ve now got Padron plants for sale at Spanish Table for $4.99 each. Don’t plant them outside yet; keep them indoors in a sunny window and let them grow until it’s consistently above 45 degrees at night, (mid-May or early June).

Spanish Table Seattle & Paris Grocery Newsletter

March 19, 2010

SPANISH TABLE WINES

With St. Patrick’s Day over and the craving for green beer satisfied, we’re turning our attention back to wine. Here are some great finds, all for under $20.00!

2008 Los Bayos Joven, El Bierzo ($7.99) It’s rare to find a wine from the El Bierzo region for this price, especially one produced from 40 year old vines. Made of 100% Mencia, Los Bayos displays all of the minerality and black fruit flavors typical of this grape. With aromatics of earth, ripe berries and leather, the body is rich with concentrated notes of boysenberry liqueur and hints of chocolate. It’s got impressive length, and is an all around excellent wine for this price!

2008 Benaza Mencia, El Bierzo ($13.99) This Burgundian-style Mencia is loaded with black fruit, notes of earth and abundant minerality. “Bright ruby. Black raspberry and cherry on the nose, with notes of cracked pepper, licorice and violet adding complexity. Refreshingly bitter dark berry flavors are given spine by a tangy mineral quality and betray no rough edges. Finishes with mouthwatering acidity and a bitter cherry skin quality. This will be very flexible at the table.” Stephen Tanzer 2007

Emilio Moro Finca Resalso, Ribera del Duero ($13.99) “The 2007 Finca Resalso was sourced from younger vines and aged in French oak for four months. Dark ruby-colored, it emits an enticing perfume of mineral, violets, black cherry, and blackberry. On the palate it reveals an elegant personality, savory, spicy flavors, good depth, and a fruit-filled finish. Drink this tasty effort over the next four years. The Moro family has been making wine in Ribera del Duero for over 120 years.” 90 points Wine Advocate 2007

D’Este Vinos El Molinet, Valencia ($14.99) “80% tempranillo and 20% cabernet sauvignon. Deep, bright red. Fresh red berry and baking spice aromas are strikingly brisk and focused. Racy, light-bodied raspberry and cherry flavors are unencumbered by tannins but nicely framed by juicy acidity. Pinot-like in its vivacious, red-fruit expression and firm finishing cut. This is really delicious.” 90 points Stephen Tanzer 2007

Volver La Mancha ($15.99) “…(100% tempranillo). Bright purple. Sexy aromas of blackberry, incense and cocoa powder are complemented by a suave smoky quality. Plush, creamy dark berry flavors possess plenty of weight but are energized by racy minerality. Chewy tannins arrive with air, adding grip to the broad, sappy, persistent finish. Complex enough to enjoy now.” 90 points Stephen Tanzer

NEW PRODUCTS AT SPANISH TABLE:

Bacalao (salt cod) fillets and pieces; Greek Olive Mix: Mt. Athos Green, Chalkididi, Kalamata and black oil cured olives finished with a sprinkle of wild herbs; Pirámides de sal: Coarse sea salt flakes in the shape of pyramids; Revilla Chorizo Español: Stop by and try a sample this weekend. We’ll cut pieces to order. Pitted Dates: Stuff with Cabrales blue cheese and wrap them in bacon as a tapa. Sweet, savory, and delicious!

Arriving this afternoon: Paella Pans of all sizes!

PARIS GROCERY NEWS

Tomorrow is the first official day of spring, and we at Paris Grocery are ready to welcome it with open arms. And tastebuds. We’re thinking apéritifs, charming sweets in pastel palettes, frisée salad with lardons and poached egg, and a tangy goat cheese that evokes the fresh flavors of the season.

Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry: The only Vermouth with an AOC designation, Dolin has none of the cloying sweetness or overly bitter qualities found in bottom-shelf Vermouths. $13.99/each. Fee Brothers Bitters: Try all three flavors in your artisan cocktails: Old-Fashioned, Orange, and Mint. Calissons: A traditional treat from Aix-en-Provence. A chewy paste of almonds, sugar, and Cavaillon melon with a touch of orange rind and just the right amount of royal icing. Marshmarshmallow Ropes: Do like the cool enfants and eat these adorable ropes right out of the package! Lemon, Raspberry or Violet flavors, $1.99 each Lardons: Simply cut into cubes and fry for a rich, salty, and crispy addition to frisée salad, quiche, soups, tarte flambée, even Brussels sprouts. La Pointe Goat Cheese: A farmhouse goat cheese from the Loire Valley, this creamy, slightly crumbly cheese has initially herbaceous and milky aromas, which intensify into a tangy finish. A Sauvignon Blanc would perfectly accent its delicate fruitiness. $19.99/each

FLAMENCO SHOWS COMING UP

At La Taberna del Alabardero, March 25th, 26th and 27th: Jesus Montoya Flamenco Company performs.

At Cafe Paloma, 93 Yesler Way Saturday March 20th: Arte Flamenco Reservations: 206-405-1920.

At Cafe Solstice, Saturday March 27th: Carmona Flamenco with guest artist Ana Montes.

FIND US ON LINE!

Click The Spanish Table wine to visit our wine website.

Click The Spanish Table to purchase food, books, cookware and other non-wine items.

Visit our sibling store, Paris Grocery’s Facebook page for the latest new products.

Have a great week and we’ll see you soon!

Sincerely,

Sharon Baden and Steve Winston, Owners

The Spanish Table, 1426 Western Avenue, Seattle WA 98101 phone# 206.682.2827

Paris Grocery, 1418 Western Avenue, Seattle WA 98101 phone# 206.682.0679

Hours at both stores: Monday- Saturday, 10 AM – 6 PM. Sunday 11 AM – 5 PM

Mencia

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Values From Bordeaux’s Left Bank

Spanish Table Seattle & Paris Grocery Newsletter

March 11, 2010

Among French appellations scrambling to sell wine during the recession, Bordeaux is perhaps the region struggling the hardest. Prices of older wines are being slashed as newer vintages are released, providing a great opportunity to load up on delicious bottles that were previously unaffordable. We’ve brought in four new red wines from the left bank, primarily Cabernet Sauvignon blends, which we think are steals.

2006 Domaine Lapalu “La Patache” Médoc ($14.99) A blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon harvested from different parcels of the Lapalu family’s vineyards, the fruit has been skillfully selected and blended. A lively, juicy Bordeaux that is approachable in its youth, it also has an ability to develop with age. It is deep ruby, aromatic with strong notes of cassis and plum supported by dusty tannins and softer notes of vanilla. Wonderful as an accompaniment to roasts, it is also delicious all on its own!

2006 Sorbey Haut-Médoc ($14.99) The second label of the prestigious Chateau Julien, Chateau Sorbey uses grapes from the same gravel vineyards to create outstandingly priced Médoc wine. This 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Merlot shows great minerality and balance. It spends at least a year maturing in oak barrels. Concentrated, nicely structured, with chewy black fruit and hints of spice and cedar. Delicious with lamb crusted in herbs and lavender.

2007 Chateau Semonlon Haut-Médoc ($15.99) Olivier Dumora inherited this small estate, which sits very close to Margaux, from his great-grandfather. The gravel and mud soil of the area is known for its finesse, and Dumora respects the terroir and pays homage to the traditional winemaking style of Bordeaux. All the fruit is harvested by hand and fermented in stainless steel tanks, followed by a year of aging in both cement vats and in oak barrels. The 35-year-old vines of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot yield a supple wine with deep notes of black currant, plum, and earth. Medium-bodied with balanced acidity and tannins, it is very appealing now but can also be cellared for a couple of years.

2005 Château Bibian Listrac-Médoc ($24.99) Julien Meyre, winemaker at Chateau Bibian, stopped in at Paris Grocery last week with his wonderful wines. From clay and limestone vineyards with deep pockets of gravel, the 2005 vintage was the estate’s best bottling since 1990! 55% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Petit Verdot, it was kept 6 months in French oak. Full-bodied, it shows exceptional structure. The ripe black fruit is persistent, and balanced by notes of the terroir: graphite, pencil lead and chalk. Incredibly delicious and a great addition to your cellar. “Rich and layered, with blackberry, currant and toasty oak on the nose and palate. Full and silky-textured, with a long finish.” 90 points Wine Spectator

NEW CHEESES AND FOODS AT PARIS GROCERY

 

Soumaintrain – A cow’s milk cheese from Yonne in northern Burgundy, the wheels are washed with brine and marc de Bourgogne. Pungent, gooey, rich, mushroomy, and barnyardy- some even say it displays umami. Try it with a Chablis for a blissful experience. $25.99/wheel

Comté de Fruitière -A raw cow’s milk cheese from the Jura, aged 5-6 months. A delicious fruit nectar aroma and a more delicate nuttiness than more aged comté. Almost sweet and bursting with flavors of fresh milk and butter. Great in salads or with fruit! $16.99/lb

Tomme Haut Berry -From a remote and arid region of southwestern France, this sheep’s milk cheese has a firm yet creamy texture. An aroma of spring wildflowers and a bright flavor that is both sweet and acidic make this cheese a new favorite. $28.99/lb

Saint Nectaire Fermier -A fermier (farmstead) version of an ancient style of cheese. Made with the milk of Salers cows who graze on the volcanic pastures of Auvergne, this cheese has all the earthiness, nuttiness, and raw milk flavor a cheese can possess! Pair with a light, fruity Gamay.

 Tarbais Beans— the traditional bean for cassoulet! $17.99/lb. We now have the full line of Clément Faugier chestnut products– chestnut cream with vanilla, chestnut puree, and whole chestnuts in water. Traou Mad de Pont Aven cookies from Brittany– made with salted butter, these thick biscuits are supremely dunk-worthy!

And, Salted Black Licorice is now in stock!

NEW WINES AND FOODS FROM SPANISH TABLE

 

2006 Bodegas Emina Crianza Ribera del Duero ($15.99) “…aged for 12 months in French and American oak. Purple colored, it offers an attractive perfume of cedar, vanilla, violets, coffee, blueberry, and blackberry. This leads to a layered, up-front, forward wine with excellent depth and concentration. It will evolve for 1-2 years but this lengthy, tasty effort can be enjoyed now.” 89 points Wine Advocate

2008 Altovinum Evodia, Calatayud ($9.99) “Fresh strawberry and raspberry aromas are deepened by notes of licorice, black tea and pungent herbs. Supple in texture, offering sweet red fruit flavors and showing no rough edges. A smoky note comes up with air, adding complexity to a nicely persistent, red berry-dominated finish. Extremely easy to drink, and offering excellent depth and clarity for the money.” 89 points Stephen Tanzer

2004 Obra Crianza, Ribera del Duero ($12.99) The 2005 Obra Tinto was an excellent and food-friendly red which sold out all too quickly last fall. When we tasted the 2004 Obra Crianza, we were impressed by its heft and structure which opens up after extended airing to reveal concentrated boysenberry liqueur, spice box and notes of cedar. This delicious full-bodied wine is best after decanting.

We unloaded 4 pallets of new products on Tuesday at Spanish Table! Some of the tastiest are Mamia brand Piquillo peppers stuffed with Hake and Shrimp or Salt Cod, Tonnino Yellowfin Tuna Fillets with Jalapeño in Olive Oil – Makes a spicy tuna sandwich! Anko White Asparagus Mousse – Spread on crostini for a great tapa. Tukas Stuffed Vine Leaves from Turkey – Vegetarian, with rice, lemon and spices. Acćent Seasoning packets with Cilantro and Achiote – adds color and flavoring and a touch of Central America to chicken dishes. Spanish Flan – Ready to eat and does not need refrigeration. Ethiopian Shiro Powder: Made from a base of garbanzo beans, garlic, ginger, Berbere pepper and other spices. It is used to make a hearty vegetarian paste served with Injera, a traditional Ethiopian flatbread. Mix the powder with water to make a delicious spicy hummus spread, or use Shiro as a flavor ingredient in other dishes such as mashed potatoes. Berbere Pepper: Quintessential spice blend in Ethiopian cooking, it is a mélange of red chili peppers with fenugreek, cardamom, ginger, garlic, nutmeg and other spices.

Shop from home on The Spanish Table’s websites!

 

Go to The Spanish Table wine website for wines arranged by staff pick, by score, by price, and by country.

For products other than wine, click on The Spanish Table to purchase food, books, cookware and other products.

Visit Paris Grocery Facebook’s page for updates on new products.

Have a great week and we’ll see you soon!

Sincerely,

 Sharon Baden and Steve Winston, Owners

The Spanish Table, 1426 Western Avenue, Seattle WA 98101 phone# 206.682.2827

Paris Grocery, 1418 Western Avenue, Seattle WA 98101 phone# 206.682.0679

Hours at both stores: Monday- Saturday, 10 AM – 6 PM. Sunday 11 AM – 5 PM

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