Tag Archives: Priorat

Sole Sips: 2002 Licorella Vitis 60

Terraces and steep slopes of Priorat AOC

prioratTerrace farming is a technique almost as old as agriculture itself, being a fundamental technique for many cultures that lived in the mountains. This kind of ladder on the mountain allows cultivation of steep slopes, maximizing land use, avoiding soil erosion (keeping the nutrients in the soil) and allowing maximum utilization of the water by draining from the upper to lower terraces.

It is possible to find this technique in many places around Europe, mostly developed to cultivate cereals, olives and wine grapes.  In the Catalonia region, in an area enclosed by a rugged ring of mountains which form a fascinating landscape, we find the wine denomination of Priorat. Here the grapevines grow on terraces and steep slopes, reminding us of this ancestral practice.  With a unique terroir, Priorat  is defined by poor soil , composed of quartz and slate, locally called “llicorella” and  a range of microclimas induced by  mountains, the most notably the Monsant.  What does this mean?  Poor soil results in low yields and highly extracted grapes, giving wines from this area an exceptional concentration, body and intensity.

licorella vitis 60Licorella Vitis 60, 2002. This wine, 40%Grenache, 40% Carignan and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon is produced in Priorat with selected grapes from grapevines more than 60 years old. The must is macerated with the grape skins for 20 days and each variety is fermented separately.  The wine has an attractive and clean ruby color, thick and plentiful legs, sliding down the glass like a symphony of tiny rivulets. On the nose, fresh black berries, cherry and leather. On the palate it has minerals, good structure, and balance. The wine still has fresh notes mixed with robust and velvety tannins. You can enjoy this beautifully aged wine with a full body and mature tannins that retains good freshness and fruitiness.

Ready to drink and enjoy with hard cheese, olives and bread, in the best Mediterranean style!

– Soledad Claveria

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Spanish Table Seattle & Paris Grocery Newsletter

February 4, 2010

We gladly waved goodbye to the construction equipment on lower Western Avenue this week. The chasm at Union and Western has been filled in and the street is now reopened to two way traffic. The detour is gone. Lots of street parking is now available, so don’t hesitate to come on down and see us!

Spectacularly beautiful, the Douro River’s precipitous terraces are the birthplace of port, Portugal’s celebrated fortified wine. But this region also produces sensational table wines which we’ve recommended for years, and these wines are finally gaining traction with wine critics.

We were fortunate to get a personal update on this area from Sophia Bergquist, owner of Quinta de La Rosa over lunch last week. Somewhat similiar to France’s wine estate classification system, in the Douro, grapes are graded from A to F based on the quinta (estate) that produced them. The steeply terraced vineyards can only be harvested by hand which guarantees gentle treatment of the grapes and selection of the best fruit. Sweltering summer heat ensures that grapes are fully ripened and generate structured reds with long ageing potential. Four out of the last six vintages (2003, 2004, 2005, 2007) in the Douro were outstanding.

Quinta de La Rosa’s fruit is all Grade A and the estate has been family owned since 1815. One of the first in the region to produce table wines, they are such a hands-on operation that owner Sophia herself has even jumped in to pick grapes during harvest. For fans of plush, complex, full-bodied reds, the wines of the Douro should not be missed!

THE WINES OF QUINTA DE LA ROSA

2007 Vale da Clara, Douro Red wine ($11.99) Quinta de La Rosa purchases the fruit for this wine, which is a perennial staff favorite here at The Spanish Table. 2007 was a very good year in the Douro, giving Vale da Clara rich and perfectly ripened black fruit. With notes of black olive and a touch of herbs, it has ripe tannins and a long, smooth finish. It’s a great quaffer!

2006 Quinta de La Rosa Douro Tinto ($19.99) A blend of grapes that are used in port wine, this elegant red table wine is made from hand-picked, estate grown fruit. Enticing floral and ripe fruit aromas make it hard to tear your nose away from the rim of the glass. On the palate, delicate flavors of black cherry and currant have lift and a persistent minerality. Silky tannins and great balance make this wine a pleasure to drink.

2005 Quinta de La Rosa Douro Reserve ($42.00) Vintage 2005 in the Douro was rated 93-95 by The Wine Spectator, producing “balanced and powerful reds.” The Quinta de La Rosa Reserve is no exception. A rich and juicy red, it displays notes of coffee and smoke, earth and minerals. It’s got the stuffing to age well for another five years, and it will be a big hit now with any fan of muscular reds.
2006 Poeira 28 Barricas Douro ($54.00) Quinta de La Rosa’s winemaker, Jorge Moreira, owns his own north facing plot uphill from QdLRosa and Poeira is his personal project. Made from old vines, only 28 barrels (barricas) were produced. Terroir driven, Poeira is distinctive, angular and restrained. Loaded with elegance and finesse, it’s brooding black fruit is concentrated with notes of crushed rock. It’s got the backbone to age well for through 2017, although it’s absolutely delicious right now.

Throwing a Super Bowl party? Our favorite party foods are grilled chorizo sausages (try the GEM Basque chorizo which is now back in stock!) served with slices of Ibsa Roasted Red Pepper strips.

A cheese plate is always a hit – we recommend a mix of sheep’s milk cheese such as Roncal or Nisa, Caña de Cabra goat cheese, Young Mahon cow’s milk cheese and a creamy blue cheese such as Bleu de Basque. Serve alongside Spanish Tapas Flatbreads which are now back in stock, in Rosemary and Manchego Cheese flavors.

And which beer to serve? We’ve got Estrella Damm beer from Spain, Casa beer from Morocco, Sagres beer from Portugal, Tecate and Bohemia beer from Mexico.

COLLECTOR’S CORNER: Available next week by special order (6 bottles available):

2007 Alvaro Palacios L’Ermita, Priorat ($672.00) Alvaro Palcios is one of the star winemakers of the Priorat, and was an early pioneer of this region. 100% old-vine Garnacha produced from 70-year-old, head-pruned vines from a dramatically steep 2-hectare hillside. Harvesting is by hand, with multiple passes to pick optimal fruit. Aged in 100% new French barrique. Only 250 cases produced. “Bright ruby. Intense, mineral-driven aromas of spicy red berries, candied cherry, blood orange and potpourri, plus a sexy Asian spice quality. Tangy and sharply focused, with striking purity and energy. Sweet raspberry and cherry flavors are framed by silky tannins that are quickly absorbed by the fruit. Manages to be deep as well as vivacious, showing strong finishing minerality and a lingering note of star anise. This plays Lafite to the Dofi’s Latour.” 94 points Stephen Tanzer

Our new sister store, Paris Grocery, has an outstanding Facebook page with their newest cheeses, charcuterie and wines. Check it out and become a fan.

Shop from home on The Spanish Table’s websites. Visit

The Spanish Table wine website for Spanish, Portuguese, South American vinos as well as Madeiras and ports. Orders are shipped from our Berkeley CA store which may have different inventory and prices than our Seattle store.

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

NEW PRODUCTS/BACK IN STOCK

Padron pepper seeds: Spring can’t be far behind when the seed packets roll in the door! Start these indoors early, so that the plants will be full size by June and ready to start producing peppers.

Mloukia Leaves: We searched high and low for this herb after reading about it in Paula Wolfert’s Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking (p. 158). As described in the cookbook, the flavor is “fascinating – tastes like nothing else.”

5 liter plastic jugs of EVOO $49.99 We’ve had many requests for large containers of extra virgin olive oil since we ran out of the Ybarra brand. We’ve now got Sol de La Mancha brand in stock.

A new shipment of cazuelas arrived Monday. We’re now restocked with all sizes, in charcoal, and traditional earth color.

We look forward to Saveur Magazine’s “Top 100”

issue every January. It’s a compendium of the best kitchen products, new personalties in the culinary world, places foodies should know about, and implements of the year.We’ve stocked these hard to find items from Saveur’s list:

Salt cod (called Bacalao in Spain; Bacalhau in Portugal)

Argentinean Malbec wines (we’ve got 50 + Malbecs to choose from)

Lupini Beans

Olive Oil Tortas (new flavors Seville Orange and Sesame Sea Salt)

Sumac

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

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

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

Hours: Tuesday- Saturday, 10 AM – 6 PM. Sunday 11 AM – 5 PM. Paris Grocery is closed on Mondays

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A Great Unknown Winery in Rioja

A GREAT UNKNOWN WINERY

great unknownJuly 9, 2009

A few years ago we were at Eva Restaurant in Latona which is co-owned by James Hondros, our former wine manager. James poured us each a glass of Saturnia Crianza Rioja which we enjoyed so much that we took a bottle over to my late Dad’s house. After that, whenever I told my Dad I was coming over, he would ask if I could bring along some more bottles of those “saturn” wines.

When we chose our favorite bodegas to visit last month, naturally Rioja’s holy trinity headed the list: R. Lopez Heredia, producer of Vina Tondonia, La Rioja Alta and Bodegas Muga. (Interesting fact: the front doors of thesegreat unknown2 wineries are only meters apart in Haro’s Railroad District where a hundred years ago, they loaded huge barrels of wine on flat cars and sent them off to France which was suffering the scourge phylloxera.)

But one of our most enjoyable visits was with Bodegas Ramon de Ayala Lete y Hijos, who make Vina Santurnia and Deobriga. Just across the Ebro great unknown3river from Haro in the tiny town of Briñas, they have a new, functional winery nestled between houses on a side street. The modern winery replaced the old bodega which has a two story underground wine cave, now used for aging home-made Cava. Laboring in quiet obscurity, there are few visitors and no tasting room. However, 4th generation winemaker Ramon de Alaya was charming and hospitable during our 4 hour visit, as we visited the vineyards, the old bodega, tasted barrel samples and the most recent releases.  The secret to his nuanced wines lies in his south facing vineyards which are nestled high up against the Sierra Cantabria mountains. His oldest vineyards were planted in 1936; the youngest vineyards are 30-40 years old. The vines, planted to a mix of traditional Rioja grapes, are overseen by Ramon’s grandson, a technical agronomist engineer. Minimal intervention is used in the vineyard, whose late ripening grapes achieve great depth and balance.great unknown4

THE WINES OF VINA SANTURNIA

Stay ahead of the wine critics and try one of these little-known wines!

2004 Vina Santurnia Crianza Rioja ($15.99) Made of 100% Tempranillo, the Crianza has inviting fresh aromas, with flavors of bing cherry, boysenberry, toast and licorice. Notes of vanilla frame a persistent, earthy finish. Give it 20 minutes to open up and savor the complexity.

2004 Deobriga Seleccion Familiar, Rioja ($21.99) Spanish Table exclusive! The most modern style Rioja produced by Bodegas Ramon de Ayala Lete y Hijos, we jumped at the chance to carry this an an exclusive. Made from old vine Tempranillo and Graciano, it has complex flavors of blackberry, blueberry, hints of black olive and tobacco. A supple and full bodied Rioja, it is well balanced with notes of vanilla and minerals. An all around superb Rioja!

1999 Vina Santurnia Gran Reserva Rioja ($40.00) Notes of balsamic, plum and black cherry infuse this traditional style, medium bodied Rioja. Elegant, with notes of smoke and cedar that compliment silky tannins. Balanced and extremely well crafted, the Gran Reserva is smooth with a persistent finish. A knock out with any grilled meat.

 

NEW CHEESES

Los Beyos is a dense, compact, “peasant” style artisan cow’s milk cheese from the Asturias region of Spain. It has a unique flinty texture. The first bite’s slight chalkiness melts into a big, buttery, creamy texture with a well-balanced and tangy finish.

Valèe d’Aspe This pleasantly earthy and grassy raw cow and sheep’s milk farmstead Tomme is crafted by Basque artisans in the shadow of the Pyrenees. Firm, but not flaky, this cheese speaks of mountain terroir with nutty notes, vibrant tanginess, and an olive savoriness.

Young Majorero con Pimentòn Those of you already familiar with this exotic cheese from the Canary Islands will enjoy the younger version coated with Pimentòn from the same region. Majorero is unlike any other! Made from the aromatic rich milk of goats that graze on wild marjoram. Flavors of almonds and a spiciness make this a unique cheese. Pair this with full bodied and spicy red Tajinaste from the Canary Islands. – Jorge

 

“SPAIN 2009 – AN ABUNDANCE OF RICHES” was last week’s Wine Advocate sensational review of 600+ Spanish wines. With superb vintages in 2004 and 2005, and excellent 2006 and 2007 harvests, over 490 wines received a rating of 90 points or higher. We’ve been advocating little known Spanish wines since 1995 and it’s rewarding to see the wine press finally taking notice in a big way!

HIGHLY RATED WINES THAT WE HAVE IN STOCK:

2006 Clos Erasmus, Priorat – 97 points ($190.00) 3 bottles available “As usual Clos Erasmus is one of Spain’s finest wines. The 2006 Clos Erasmus offers an ethereal bouquet of balsam and sandalwood, incense, liquid mineral, black cherry, and black raspberry. Dense, rich, and voluptuous on the palate, it has plenty of well-concealed ripe tannin, tons of fruit, and potential complexity.”

2006 Flor de Pingus, Ribera del Duero – 94 points ($79.00) “The 2006 Flor de Pingus spent 14 months in new French oak. Deep purple in color, it gives up a superb bouquet of toasty oak, spice box, mineral, incense, black cherry, and blackberry. Youthful, full-bodied, intense, and powerful on the palate, it retains an elegant personality despite its size. Splendidly balanced, it will evolve for 4-6 years and deliver prime drinking from 2013 to 2026. It is a superb value in great wine considering that the price of Pingus Junior is one-tenth that of Pingus.”

2006 Alto Moncayo, Campo de Borja – 94 points ($42.00) 8 bottles available “The purple-colored 2006 Alto Moncayo was aged in new French and American oak for 17 months before bottling without filtration. It offers up a sexy concoction of toasty new oak, lavender, spice box, cassis, and black raspberry. Round, rich, and voluptuous on the palate, it delivers plenty of up-front pleasure but hides enough ripe tannin to evolve for a few years. It can be enjoyed now and over the next decade.”

2005 Castro Ventosa El Castro de Valtuille, Bierzo – 92 points ($34.00) “The 2005 El Castro de Valtuille offers some toasty oak notes, plum, violets, and black cherry in its expressive perfume. This leads to a medium-bodied, sweet, intensely flavored wine with flavors of spice box, cherry, and cranberry. Long and pure, it will provide pleasure over the next 4-6 years.”

2005 Muga Reserva Unfiltered, Rioja – 90 points ($25.99) Winemaker Jorge Muga feels that the harvests of 2001 and 2005 produced the best Reserva in their history. “The purple-colored 2005 Muga Reserva, a blend of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, and the balance Mazuelo and Graciano. It was aged for six months in wood vats followed by two years in new French and American oak. It delivers an alluring nose of cedar, tobacco, earth notes, mineral, and black cherry. This is followed by an elegant wine with good depth and enough ripe tannin to evolve for several years. Nicely balanced and long in the finish, it will be at its best from 2012 to 2020 if not longer.”

 

NEW FOOD ARRIVALS:

Guava paste, 400 g and 600 g sizes

Napoleon grilled artichokes in oil (7.5 oz) We tossed these with pasta and halibut for a quick and delicious dinner this week.

Dona Maria Nopalitos (15 oz) Cactus leaves are used in salads, soups and tacos all across Mexico

Dona Maria Black Mole sauce (8.25 oz) Concentrated. Add liquid, heat and serve.

Annato Seed Achiote: 1 oz, 3 oz, 10 sizes

Mas Portell flavored olive oils: Lemon and Clementine are back!

 

FLAMENCO WORKSHOP WITH MARIA BERMEDUEZ FROM JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA

July 10, 11, and 12, 2009

Flamenco Arts Northwest presents a three day workshop with Maria “Chacha” Bermudez, Friday evening through Sunday afternoon. The legendary dancer and teacher from Jerez will teach two 90 minute levels each day of the workshop, accompanied by Marcos and Rubina on guitar and cante.

Workshop will be held at American Dance Institute, 8007 Greenwood Ave. North. Preregistration is strongly advised as this event always fills up quickly! Times and prices are posted at http://www.FANW.org (see calendar or workshops), or call Rubina at (206) 932-4067 for more information.

Enjoy our great summer, and come see us at the shop!

 

Sincerely,

 

Sharon Baden & Steve Winston, Owners

The Spanish Table

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ceramicsCertain memories of Spain linger in our minds years after the details of the trip has faded. One of these enduring images is of mothers in black, the mamacitas, inhabiting the white washed villages we visited during the 1980’s. They were the last of a generation and part of an agrarian culture that stretched back across eons of time. They were mothers who gave birth to their children at home under the watchful eye of a midwife. Mothers who prepared their childrens’ meals from whatever ingredients were available, what we call Cocina Pobre, in The Spanish Table cookbook. Mothers who kept the home fire burning and whose love was rich beyond measure. ¡Feliz Dia de Madre!

MOTHER’S DAY GIFT IDEAS

Mothers Day is Sunday May 10

EXCEPTIONAL CHEESES

For Moms that are cheese aficionados, these quesos make a sensational addition to any brunch or gift basket!

Peña Corado: This new blue cheese is picking up serious momentum among cheese connoisseurs. Voluptuous & buttery, Peña Corado is high in moisture with a compact supple texture. Rich, creamy, sweet and salty, it has a long blue finish and is a perfect partner for crisp fruit.

Sharon’s favorite cheese, Monte Enebro is back in stock. Made by one man, this phenomenal soft goat cheese is coated with ash. It is spreadable, creamy and tangy. It melts on your tongue and is a full-flavored cheese.

NEW MEATS

Rillettes de Périgord-Duck Meat Pate, all natural A traditional French dish, Rillettes du Perigord are made of the finest duck meat and seasoned duck fat. The meat is simmered in spices, juices, and fat, and left to soak up as much flavor as possible. The saturated meat is then pounded into a spread. Delicious with Arrope, (Grape Must With Pumpkin).

Truffle Mousse Paté Made from velvety chicken livers, scrumptious truffles,earthy porcini mushrooms and marinated in sherry. Artisanally produced with all natural ingredients, it pairs perfectly with Cava. – Jorge

Mother’s Day special through Sunday May 10th:

Cheese

Recieve a complimentary $15.00 gift certificate with purchase of the new edition Spanish Table cookbook by Steve Winston($30.00).

La Cocina de Mama by Penelope Casas ($29.95) 175 recipes gathered from great chefs and traditional home cooks from every region in Spain, representing the best of Spanish recipes handed down through generations of Spanish “mamas”.

Clos Mogador Olive Oil ($37.00)From Rene Barbier’s legendary estate in Priorat, this is one of the most complex oils we’ve tasted. Drizzle over grilled fish or vegetables for a savory finish.

Valor Chocolate Little Secrets ($5.39/2.2 oz) These chocolate truffles from Spain’s premier chocolatier are guaranteed to please Mothers who love chocolate!

Teas ($4.99/25 bags): Choose from Lemon tea, Camomille with Anise, Tea with Saffron or Peppermint.

Sunny Tunisian yellow and red ceramics (pictured above), including tea pots and mugs. Cheerful on any table!

Made in Spain DVDs with Jose Andres ($31.49). Let Mom follow chef Andres around Spain without buying an airplane ticket.

GREAT WINES FOR SPECIAL MEALS

2005 Vistalba Corte B, Mendoza ($22.99) 70% Malbec & 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, Vistalba’s high altitude vineyard has an amazing diurnal swing of 60° F, allowing excellent color and tannin development. Aged 12 months in French oak, Vistalba has dark red fruit aromas with hints of tobacco, chocolate, vanilla, cassis and clove. “Lush and round, with velvety-textured tannins carrying ample layers of plum sauce, crushed currant and fig fruit and dark licorice notes. Stays admirably fresh on the hefty finish, with a nice buried black tea hint.” 92 points Wine Spectator Smart Buy

2005 Matarromera Crianza, Ribera del Duero ($26.99) Hefty, complex and rich with notes of vanilla, graphite, and cassis liqueur. Fig, smoke, black cherry and mineral elements give lift and balance to the structured tannins. 90 points Jay Miller

2003 Remelluri Rioja ($34.99) Elegant and accessible, the 2003 Remelluri provies how a great winemaker can produce a spectacular wine even in a difficult vintage. “Gamey cherry and plum on the nose, with a complex array of herbal and floral qualities adding complexity. Shockingly fresh and poised, with bitter cherry and blackcurrant flavors, chewy texture and fine-grained tannins. Finishes juicy, clean and precise, with a peppery kick. This is drinking very nicely right now.” 90 points Stephen Tanzer

2004 LAN Culmen Reserva ($75.00) “This beautiful modern red offers a velvety texture supported by ripe, well-integrated tannins and plenty of sweet toasty oak. Plum and boysenberry fruit is ripe and fresh. Very expressive, yet with great concentration. Mineral and tobacco notes add complexity. Powerful and complete. Drink now through 2025.” 96 points Wine Spectator

2006 Mas D’En Compte Tinto, Priorat (40.00) ” Vibrant raspberry and cherry aromas are energized by blood orange and baking spices. Fresh red fruit flavors are complicated by an exotic lavender pastille quality and given lift by juicy acidity. An elegant, precise wine that finishes with excellent tangy cut and persistence. Nothing overdone here.” 91 points Stephen Tanzer

NEW WINES

FROM LATIN AMERICA:

2007 Árido Malbec, Mendoza ($9.99) We discovered how great Arido Malbec was six months ago and now The Wine Spectator will be featuring it in a future issue. Get it while you can – once reviewed, wines quickly sell out. “Ripe and focused, with a solid beam of raspberry fruit laced with sweet spice, toast and fruitcake notes, followed by a juicy finish. Drink now.” 88 points Wine Spectator Best Values

2006 Vistalba Corte C, Mendoza ($10.99) Winemaker Carlos Pulenta has crafted a rich and balanced red wine in his blend of 80% Malbec and 20% Merlot. Flavors of ripe boysenberry with black tea notes and structured tannins go down all too easily. “Juicy, with a nice compact core of plum sauce and fig that should unwind nicely, supported by licorice, fruitcake and black tea notes.” 88 points Wine Spectator Great value!

2006 Casa Lapostolle Cabernet Sauvignon Rapel Valley Chile, ($13.99) “Red berries and spiced plum on the nose, with a light mineral quality adding energy. Silky in texture, with midweight raspberry and bitter chocolate flavors and good finishing grip. Attractively fresh wine.” 88 points Stephen Tanzer

FESTIVE SPARKLING WINES:

NV Cavas Hill Brut de Brut Reserva Artesania ($9.99) Cavas Hill Brut de Brut is made in the traditional cava method with fermentation in the bottle and aging on lees for 20 months. Clean and crisp, it has very small, fine and delicate bubbles with fruit aromas. Green apple flavors provide great freshness and it has a creamy, elegant and pleasantly long finish.

Agusti Torello Mata Rosat Reserva Brut 2006, Penedes ($24.99) A glass of this crisp sparkling rose turns any day into a special occasion. “The 2006 Rosat-Repat was sourced from Trepat vines over 65 years of age. Deep pink in color, it has a lovely bouquet of rose petals, strawberry and raspberry. It reveals a steady stream of small, persistent bubbles, a crisp, refreshing mid-palate and outstanding depth of flavor.” 92 points Robert Parker Top 5 Wine Values

SPECIAL EVENTS:

spanish-table-coverSpanish Table cook book appearance at Metropolitan Market

Join Spanish Table owner Steve Winston for a cookbook signing and recipe tasting:

Thursday May 7th, 4-6 pm Proctor store

Friday May 8th, 4-6 Admiral store

Saturday May 9th, 4-6 Sand Point store

For more information: http://metropolitan-market.com/happenings/index.phph?page=3

Pike Place Market Flower Festival Saturday & Sunday May 9-10

40 + farmers are expected to take part in this first annual festival. Farmers will set up tents on the cobblestone parking area and will offer cut flowers, seeds, bulbs and flower starts for sale.

Saturday, May 9, “Flamenco de Noche” one night only, 8:00 p.m. at the historic Rendezvous Jewelbox theatre in Belltown. Dancer Savannah Fuentes is bringing singer/dancer Stephanie Pedraza from Vancouver and guitarist Mark Ferguson from Portland to join singer/dancer Esther Marion and guitarist Rafael Vargas in a very traditional flamenco show. Tickets:

http://www.brownpapertickets.com

Saturday June 12 “Arte Profundo Flamenco” one night only, 8 pm at Columbia City Theater. Featuring special guest from Sevilla, singer Jesus Montoya with dancers Esther Marion and Savannah Fuentes, guitarists Rafael Vargas and Mark Ferguson. For more information: 206-937-4994 http://arteprofundoflamenco.blogspot.com Tickets available at http://www.brownpapertickets.com

SPANISH COOKING SEMINARS

Taberna del Alabardero operates restaurants, hotels and cooking schools in Spain and recently opened a restaurant in Seattle’s Belltown. Always eager to learn the secrets of professionals, I took the first of their outstanding cooking series this week. A group of us learned what to do when a tortilla espanola falls apart and how to coax every bit of flavor into a savory seafood paella, among other things. Not only do students watch Chef Larrosa explain and prepare each dish, it’s all served for lunch afterwards. Every Tuesday in May at 11:30 A.M. For more information:

http://www.alabardero.com/seattle/May%20Seminars.pdf

We hope to see you soon in the shop, and in the meantime have a great week!
Sincerely,


Sharon Baden & Steve Winston
Owners, The Spanish Table

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Filed under Argentina, Cheese, Chile, Events, Food, Red Wine, Spain

Valentine

VALENTINE’S DAY IS SATURDAY FEBRUARY 14!   One of our favorite celebrations, Valentine’s Day, is right around the corner.   Our February Gold daffodils are poking their heads up and cheerful sunny weather is signaling the end of winter doldrums.  What a great occasion to invite friends over!   February is prime season for crab and oysters and, aphrodisiac qualities aside, pairing shellfish with cava is a stellar combination for Valentine’s Day.   Not a seafood fan?  Substitute marinated pork tenderloin and serve with a rosé cava for a meat-centric celebratory meal.
Here are some other ideas for your sweet:
Valor Chocolate bars with assorted flavors (We’re fans of Dark Chocolate with Orange) $3.69
Vaverite wafer cake with crumbled hazelnuts (an endearing squirrel is on the front of the box!) $3.99
Corazones Dulces Candy Valentines Hearts with love messages in Spanish. ($1.19)
Bubbly: We have a broad array of Spanish Cavas to meet every taste and budget and a couple of Argentinean sparklers as well.   From reliable Segura Viudas Brut Reserva ($7.99) to the complex and yeasty Agusti Torello Mata’s Reserva Bayanus Cava ($24.99/375 ml), stop in and check out our selection.
Gift certificates: When in doubt, give a Spanish Table gift certificate.  Available in any denomination.
HEAT, BILL BUFORD: In 2002 Bill Buford, an editor at New Yorker magazine, met Mario Batali and decided he needed to work in the kitchen at Babbo.  He not only slaved in that New York restaurant but went off on crazy sojourns apprenticing with even more eccentric individuals in Tuscany making pasta and butchering four legged animals.  Bill is extremely erudite and captures both “Molto Batali” and culinary Italy in this book.  If you watched Batali in the recent PBS series, On the Road in Spain, you will have your worst suspicions delightfully confirmed by the descriptions of Mario in this book.  We have grabbed a pile of the paperback version of the book which is on sale for only $7.99.
NEW WINES THIS WEEK
2007 Eximus Branco (Estremadura
) $6.99 Not only graceful and refreshing, Portuguese Eximus has a myriad of other appealing characteristics.  For starters, when have you tasted a blend of Fernâo Pires, Vital (reputedly a cousin of Sauvignon Blanc) and Moscatel grapes?  Secondly, Eximus is an all-around, well balanced white wine that pairs well with cheese or fish dishes.  With enticing pear aromas, it has ripe lychee, honey and melon flavors.  Lively and crisp, it has vibrant acidity with notes of citrus and plenty of length.   And finally, all of this goodness can be had for just $6.99 per bottle.    What’s not to like?
2007 Terrai Garnacha, Cariñena $6.99 The Cariñena region is one of the oldest D.O.s in Spain and is known for producing tasty quaffers that are a great value.  Terrai is made from 100% Garnacha.  Light on its feet, it has notes of dust, rich black fruit flavors and a dry finish.  Well balanced, all in all this is a great every day wine that pairs well with grilled pork or flavorful roasted vegetables.
2007 Hacienda Plata Zagal Malbec Mendoza ($9.99) We snapped up a case of Zagal after just one sip. Loaded with cherry aromas, it has rich blackberry, vanilla, and licorice flavors.   Balanced with minerals and ample acidity, it begs to be paired with red meat.
2005 Miranda (Rioja) $14.99 Wow!  Fresh aromas of pie cherry with a hint of earth and oak on the front palate segues into a mouth full of zingy, ripe bing cherry and intense plum flavors.  Miranda is 100% Tempranillo with eight months aging in America and French oak casks.   Herbal undertones compliment tar and licorice on the persistent finish.   Miranda is a great all-around Rioja that will appeal to both traditionalists and modernists.
2005 Vega Escal Priorat ($19.99) This powerfully concentrated blend of 60% carinena, 30% garnacha and 10% syrah is pure poetry.  “Ripe cherry and blackberry aromas are complicated by smoky minerals and anise. Expressive dark berry flavors show light weight but impressive purity, with brisk minerality gaining strength on the back end. Graceful and edge-free, with very good finishing clarity and cut. This is extremely easy to drink.”  90 points Stephen Tanzer
2001 LUIS CAÑAS, Reserva de la Familia (Rioja) $33.00: We routinely pay over $30 for a wine in a restaurant yet we often balk at paying that much for wines to drink at home.  “Why?” we asked ourselves after popping the cork on Reserva de la Familia last Friday night.  This is an heirloom Rioja, traditionally styled with select fruit from a great vintage.  Rich and silky, it was an elegant companion to grilled lamb chops rubbed with Miguel & Valentino garlic, sprinkled with coarse Spanish sea salt, covered with pebrella and finished with a few rosemary needles from the plant braving its way through this winter in our backyard.   93 points Wine Advocate 91 points Stephen Tanzer
2006 Colomé Malbec Estate, Salta Argentina, $26.99: We were in Salta for Thanksgiving 2006 but had to cut out a side trip to the wine region due to flight mis-connections.   (However, the colonial city of Salta is well worth the visit, if even for 2 days).  Since then, we’ve been seeking out these hard to find wines and  Colomé is one of the best we’ve found. At La Boca restaurant in Santa Fe, it’s hearty elegance paired wonderfully with rich duck breast and braised leeks with a dab of harissa pepper sauce.  A very elegant and balanced Malbec, it is now in stock at The Spanish Table for the first time.   92 points Wine Spectator   Top 100 Wines of 2008
LA CONCHA WHITE TRUFFLE SEA SALT FLAKES, $9.99: Along with lamb chops and Luis Cañas Rioja, we tossed asparagus with fideo #2 pasta, Hojiblanca extra virgin olive oil and dusted it with a new arrival: white truffle salt.  When we unpacked the ocean container from Spain last week, it was filled with the aroma of this salt which is a full 8% truffles.  The low price reflects the current exchange rate and that we direct-imported it with no middle men.  In fact, a few years ago, I drove down the coast near Alicante to visit the salt drying ponds with Rosa Bevía, the owner of this Spanish salt company.
14 PALLETS OF NEW STOCK JUST ARRIVED: We have them again: All sizes of paella pans, propane burners and cazuelas.
AGAVE NECTAR or MEXICAN VANILLA, $6.99: We tracked down a few dozen bottles of the beautiful flasks of these products.  Use the agave nectar to make the best margarita ever.
TEQUILA FLAVORED LOLLIPOP: Clear, nonalcoholic candy complete with a worm.  Can you lick this? Need we say more?
GRAINS OF PARADISE:  We have been crushing some of these round seeds in our mortar and sprinkling them over savory dishes.  Grown in Ghana, Mustapha’s grains of paradise are a wonderfully aromatic and pungent substitute for black pepper, adding exotic hints of ginger, coriander and cardamom. In Morocco they are ground and are an important ingredient in the spice blend Ras El Hanout.
RECIPE
UPSCALE GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH: March’s issue of Bon Appétit takes comfort food up a notch.  Use Manchego cheese and Jamón Serrano to make a grilled sandwich and toss in a layer of chopped Mejool dates (page 68).
 
GREAT BUYS ON SPANISH CHEESE
Our cheese monger George has negotiated fantastic savings on our most popular cheeses.
Tetilla………………………………………..was $14.99/lb now $11.99/lb
San Simon…………………………………was $21.99/lb now $15.99/lb
Mahon……………………………………….was $22.99/lb now $18.99/lb
3 Month Manchego…………………….was $20.99/lb now $16.99/lb
Aged 12 Month Manchego………….was $21.99/lb now $17.99/lb
Caña de Cabra…………………………..was $17.99/lb now $14.99/lb

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Exploring World Flavors

Exploring World Flavors:  Eating at home more often means constantly stretching our repertoire.  This week we rubbed Porqué Pig Rub spice mix on pork chops and wow, did that bring them up to a New Mexican level of spiciness!   Farro cooked in chicken stock with mushrooms sauteed in Picual Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a heaping spoonful of Miguel & Valentino chopped garlic was a fantastic side dish.  Last week, we jazzed up Zürsun red lentils by stirring in a tablespoon of Mustapha’s White Meat Seasoning.  We have many, many ingredients that will enliven your palate from Le Moulins Mahoub Tunisian Couscous & Pasta sauces to Matiz Spanish Smoked Sea Salt.
 
Last week’s mention of Roasted Cauliflower in Tahini from the cookbook Olives & Oranges brought several requests for the recipe so here it is.  (4 to 6 servings)
1 large head cauliflower, broken into florets
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or more to taste
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon tahini paste
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
Heat oven to 400 degrees with rack in the center. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Toss cauliflower with oil, 1 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on baking sheet and roast, stirring and turning over once or twice, until cauliflower is tender and crispy brown in spots, about 45 minutes.
While cauliflower is roasting, puree tahini paste, water, lemon juice, garlic and remaining salt. Transfer to a large bowl.
Remove cauliflower from oven, immediately add to bowl with tahini sauce, and toss with sauce and parsley. Season with more salt to taste if necessary and serve warm, or let stand at room temperature for several hours before serving.
 
♥ This Valentine’s Day Cocoon at Home:
Light some Candles, Put on a Spanish Guitar CD.
Slice a Chorizo; Lay out an Iberian Cheese Plate.
Stuff Two Piquillo Peppers with Dungeness Crab.
Toss a Lobster into the Paella.
Twist Open a Valor Bonbon.
Read Aloud from a Book of Spanish Love Poems.
Or pop the cork on a Malbec and Tango ‘til the steaks are grilled!
 
       
♥  Valentine’s Day Wines
Spanish Wines are smooth, supple and affordable.  Ask us to help you pick out a sparkling Cava, lush white or memorable red.  Drink it at home with a special menu or pay corkage in a romantic restaurant.  You Only Live Once, Live Well!
2006 Alto Almanzora Este (Almeria) $9.99 New vintage!   A blend of carefully chosen varietals, Este displays fruitiness, structure and balance.  Made from a mix of Tempranillo, Monastrell, Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot grapes, it is easy drinking and pairs well with a large variety of foods, from hearty winter meals to roasted vegetables.   90 points Wine Advocate
2006 Dão Cabriz Seleccionada (Portugal) $9.99 A blend of the indigenous Portuguese grapes Alfrocheiro, Tinta-Roriz and Touriga Nacional, it has been aged 6 months in French oak.   Subtle layers of black fruit and kirsch are balanced by lively acidity.  Dry and smooth, this red wine is best served with a goat cheese such as Portuguese Cabra Quinta.  Commended, Decanter World Wine Awards
2007 Ben Marco Malbec (Mendoza) $21.99: We fell in love with this wine in Santa Fe at Spanish Tapa restaurant La Boca.  Made of 90% Malbec and 10% Bonarda, Ben Marcos is perfect for people who like big, ripe-fruit, jammy styles of wine.   Aged for 11 months in oak, it has soft tannins and paired wonderfully with roast duck. 
2004 Martino Old Vines Malbec, (Mendoza) $17.99: It’s rare to find an old-vine Argentinean Malbec, never mind one produced from a vineyard planted in 1926 with ungrafted clones brought directly from France.  Only two wines are made at this 18.5 acre estate.  Unfiltered and aged in new French Oak, Martino is extremely elegant with lush blue fruit flavors, vanilla notes and a hint of chocolate on the lingering finish.  Unfortunately, the distributor only had a few bottles left but we snapped them up.  Grab one while they last!  
2007 Conreria d’Scala Dei Les Brugueres (Priorat) $29.99 One of the few white wines from Priorat. “100% Garnacha Blanca, from vines reportedly over 100 years of age.  Greenish-gold color. Impressively perfumed nose offers an exotic array of melon, pit fruits and herbs. A subtle smokiness becomes more pronounced with air, adding depth to the already rich expression that the fruit displays. Floral honey and botanical herb notes linger on the long, sappy finish, which is given a kick by subtle minerality. This should be drunk on the young side, preferably with strong foods.”  90 points Stephen Tanzer
2006 Mas D’En Compte Tinto, (Priorat) $40.00 “A blend of 50% garnacha, 40% carinena and 10% cabernet sauvignon. Bright ruby. Vibrant raspberry and cherry aromas are energized by blood orange and baking spices. Fresh red fruit flavors are complicated by an exotic lavender pastille quality and given lift by juicy acidity. An elegant, precise wine that finishes with excellent tangy cut and persistence. Nothing overdone here.”  91 points Stephen Tanzer
Sweet Wine for Your Sweetie:
Santa Julia Tardío 2007 Late Harvest Torrontés (Mendoza) $12.99/500ml: We have been lapping up dry white wines made from Torrontés with salads and seafoods.  Now we have a sweet, late harvest wine.  From one of our favorite producers, it has fantastic aromas of peach, flavors of honey and a light body…as a rule of thumb, if you are going to serve it with dessert; a wine needs to be sweeter than the food.
TAKING PREORDERS
2006 Flor de Pingus (Ribera del Duero)
$79.00 arrives in early March.   Limited quantities will be available, give us a call or e-mail to pre order.  Warm blackberry flavors with notes of herbs and licorice and a persistent spicy finish – one of the best crafted wines I’ve tasted.  “Strong floral and mineral scents complicate blackberry and cherry on the nose. Vibrant red berry and cherry flavors are given support by dusty tannins and become sweeter with air. Very fresh and precise, with excellent mineral snap and thrust. I like this wine’s delicate touch, and the finish is clean and very long. Given the tariff for its big brother, this is almost a bargain.”  93 points Stephen Tanzer
CHEESE CORNER
Aragones: One of the lesser known cheeses of Spain.  Mild, buttery and grassy, it has a dense creamy texture. Bright and herbaceously sweet, this washed rind cows’ milk cheese has a soft texture.  Pair this gooey cows’ milk cheese with a nutty Basque sheep’s milk cheese and a savory goat cheese on your next platter.                     
Azkorria Ossau Iraty: This award winning, classic Basque cheese is made from raw sheep’s milk by a small artisanal producer in the Pyrenees Mountains. The slightly dry flavor gives way to a creamy, buttery quality. The flavors hint of subtly mingling herbs and opens to slightly nutty undertones.

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San Francisco

Exceptional weather followed us on our Tour de Tiendas as we flew into the Bay Area.  Arriving as the sun set behind the Golden Gate Bridge, great constellations of sparkling stars emerged in the darkening sky.   Former chefs, our California partners Andy and Tanya have so enthusiastically embraced North African flavors that they invited the entire Berkeley and Mill Valley staff to a potluck and wine tasting.  Great inspiration came from Claudia Roden’s classic cookbook Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey & Lebanon as well as our favorite new cookbook: Oranges and Olives, Recipes and Flavor Secrets from Italy, Spain, Cyprus and Beyond by Sara Jenkins and Mindy Fox.  Spicy chicken tagine, baked quince filled with ground lamb, marinated swordfish brochettes with preserved lemon and Farro salad with black Kabuli Chickpeas, Arugula, Piquillo Peppers, and Sherry Vinaigrette were just a small sample of the terrific array.  Back in Seattle, we’ve already reprised the roasted cauliflower in tahini sauce, a perfect winter vegetable dish (and great for those on a diet.)
NEW WINES THIS WEEK
2007 Burgans Albariño (Rias-Baixas) $12.99 New vintage!  “The 2007 Burgans Albarino is light gold-colored with a sprightly nose of mineral, spring flowers, and lemon peel. Ripe, balanced, and concentrated, this is an ideal match for flaky fish courses. Drink it over the next 1-2 years. … in terms of bang for the buck, it has no challenger.”  90 points Wine Advocate
2006 Las Rocas Garnacha (Calatayud) $10.99 New vintage, only 4 cases available!  “The 2006 Las Rocas Garnacha is dark crimson-colored with an alluring nose of spice box, mineral, black cherry, and black raspberry. Smooth-textured, round, and with no hard edges, this tasty effort is designed for immediate gratification. This is one worth buying by the case.  The grapes for Las Rocas are sourced from high altitude 70-100 year old Garnacha vineyards.”  91 points Wine Advocate
2005 Tomas Cusine El Vilosell (Costers del Segre) $15.99 New vintage!  “The 2005 El Vilosell is composed of 50% Tempranillo, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 9% Garnacha, and 5% Syrah aged for 9 months in new French oak. Purple-colored, it reveals a fragrant array of scents including pepper, spice box, smoke, blackberry, black currant, and blueberry pie. Plush in texture, the wine is full-bodied, with layers of spicy fruit, intense flavors, and well-concealed tannins. Drink this superb value now and over the next 6-8 years.”  91 points Wine Advocate
2007 Onix Classic (Priorat) $15.99 A blend of 50% Grenache and 50% Cariñena grapes, the low yielding vines are planted in shards of slate called “llicorella”.  A bouquet of dark plums, sweet black cherries and a hint of rosemary, with intense concentration, soft tannins and a touch of black pepper in the finish.  A great value from Priorat!
2004 Campo Viejo Reserva Rioja ($13.99): An amazing value for an aged wine from a great vintage (look for Rioja wines from vintages 2001, 2004 and 2005). A traditional style Rioja in every sense with plum and cherry notes, sweet tannins and saddle leather flavors.
2000 La Rioja Alta Viña Ardanza (Rioja) Alta ($35.00):   Part of our blind tasting in California, this is not new but it was the knock out memory-maker.  Its sensuous body is pure silk and the finish lingers like an old friend reluctant to leave.  Renew your love over this on Valentine’s Day either at home or take it to a romantic restaurant.
50 Wines under $10:   We continue to search out great bargain wines and carefully screen them for quaffability.   Tasting dozens of low-priced wines looking for winners is a tough job but fortunately there are many great values to be had.   Stop in and check out our latest finds!
FOODS:  One of the stops in the Bay Area was the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco.  We were delighted when on Wednesday the Chronicle newspaper food writers picked some products we stock as their favorites: Xoxoc dehydrated prickly pear with chile that are sweet, sour, salty and hot from Hidalgo, Mexico.  These are slightly chewy prickly pear with a little savory spicy hit.  As well as Matiz light and rustic Andalucian olive oil cakes from Spain which come in four flavors: garlic-parsley, sugared, cinnamon and the original with anise.
Cheeses of the Week:  Both of these cheeses are from the lush slopes of the Catalan Pyrenees:
Ros: A granular aged sheep’s milk cheese with notes of brown sugar.
Montcaber: Bathed in charcoal and vegetable oil with a semi soft texture truffle flavor.
Pricing: It has been a roller coaster year for prices with the Euro soaring to over $1.60 and then settling back down to $1.30.  Freight surcharges also rose mid-year reflecting the cost of crude oil (transportation companies routinely add a fuel surcharge to every bill based on a government index published weekly.  At one point this summer, it was adding 30% to every freight bill).  We are not only passing reduced costs on to you but we are anticipating reduced cost by narrowing our margin on inventory we purchased when prices were higher.  So stick with us, we are doing the best we can as fast as we can.
PLYMOUTH HOUSING BENEFIT GALA DINNER & AUCTION:In May, Gibbs Smith will publish a jazzed-up edition of The Spanish Table cookbook.  To celebrate, we will be hosting a tapa and paella dinner for 40 on Saturday, May 16th.  Twenty tickets, each good for a couple, will be auctioned off Saturday, February 7th by Plymouth Housing at their annual benefit dinner at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel.  www.plymouthhousing.org
Sharon Baden, Owner & Wine Manager

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