Tag Archives: wine

ROSADO, BLANCO & BOCADILLOS

March 31, 2016

Tip a glass to our few days of sunshine with the first Rosado of the season!
2015 Ostatu Rosado Rioja  70% Tempranillo and 30% Garnacha from 60 year old vines.  Lightweight and aromatic, with wild strawberry flavors and nuances of spice.  Very dry, it offers up a rich palate, balanced by refreshing minerality.  Fans of Provençal-style rosés will love this rosado.  Take a sip, relax, and know that summer is around the corner!
   Don’t wait to pick up a few bottles of this because the distributor will be sold out by next week.
2014 Licia Albariño, Rias Baixas ($16.99) 2014 Licia is extraordinarily tasty and fit to be quaffed on a sunny day.  Licia’s vineyards are in O Rosal and Condado do Tea, the warmest sub-zones of Rias Baixas that produce the ripest fruit.  Licia is dry and steely with bright citrus notes and a fresh minerality.   With creamy apple and quince notes offering stoniness and weight, this is a solid Albariño at a great price.   What really impressed me about this wine is its pure freshness.  It will rock in 70 degree weather, especially with a plate of shellfish or cheese.
Enjoy the outdoors while the great weather lasts, by keeping meals simple.  Make fancy bocadillos (sandwiches) with a loaf of crusty bread.  Mix and match ingredients, such as our Bruschettas (Piquillo Pepper and Artichoke or Piquillo Pepper and Eggplant) topped with a sheep’s milk cheese such as El Valle Semicurado.   Or chop green, pitted olives, mix with Spanish Bonito Tuna and alioli and spread on bread.  Slices of roasted Piquillo Peppers withBlack Empeltre Olive spread paired with Majorero goat milk cheese is divine.   Brush slices of bread with flavorful extra virgin olive oil and top with slices of Chorizo or Jamon Serrano with Manchego cheese to make a classic sandwich. Or, peruse our shelves and invent new combinations!    

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Filed under Albariño, Cheese, Fish, Food, Garnacha, Jamon, Meat, Rioja, Rose, Spain, Wine

Easter Specialties

March 25, 2016

Easter, or Pascuas, is a major holiday in Catholic Spain.  The week before Easter is Semana Santa (Holy Week), when many towns close down and hold religious processions throughout the streets.   The arrival of Pascuas ends the fasting of Lent, and special sweets such as torrijas (similar to French toast) are widely enjoyed.
  For Easter brunch or other meals, using hearty Spanish ingredients will enhance any recipe.  For example, using roasted Piquillo Peppers from a jar, scrambling or baking them with eggs and chorizo makes an easy and crowd-pleasing brunch dish.   Or make a Tortilla Espanola in advance, and grill a side dish ofchistorra (breakfast sausage).    Accompany these dishes with our Easter Brunch Bread (recipe below), which delights with Spanish flavors of orange blossom honey, orange zest and pine nuts (ingredients are available at The Spanish Table).
NEW ARRIVALS 
A timely shipment of cured meats arrived yesterday, including favorite chorizos for paella, the semi-cured Bilbao and Riojana.
New:  Despana chorizo – a semi-cured sausage, with smoky and mild flavors of garlic and spices.
 
Dacsa Valencian paella rice is back in stock, again available in 1 kg and 5 kg bags.
Customer favorite Miguel and Valentino Arbequina extra virgin olive oil arrived this week.   Fruity, buttery and flavorful!
New cut:  The uncured, raw Iberico Bellota meats are melt-in-the-mouth tender.  In addition to the Solomillo (tenderloin) cut, we now have a limited supply of Carrilleras (cheeks).
Easter basket treats:    
From Portugal, pastel colored, sugar coated, egg shaped almonds.
 
Spanish hot chocolate mix.   Extra thick style to cling to churros or anything sweet that is dipped into it.
We’ve got churro mix and churreras (extruders for making churros), too.
WHAT TO DRINK WITH THIS FABULOUS MEAL?
 
ROSÉ SANGRIA is refreshing and gorgeous, and perfect at Easter brunch.
INGREDIENTS:  (substitute frozen fruit if necessary)
2 cups blueberries
2 cups blackberries
2 cups hulled strawberries
2 cups mixed red and golden raspberries
1 tablespoon superfine sugar
5 ounces Framboise or Cassis
1 bottle chilled Abadia de la Oliva rose wine
1 1/3 cups white cranberry juice
DIRECTIONS
In a pitcher, combine fruit. Stir in sugar. Add Framboise; let sit at least 1 hour. Stir in wine and juice. Serve chilled.

EASTER BRUNCH BREAD
Bread is relatively inexpensive and there are many great bakeries, so why bother?  Because making bread is a chance to participate in the almost mystical experience that occurs as the yeast springs to life and loaves of bread puff up, rising before your eyes.  So once in a while, I make some off-beat bread that is not like store bought bread at all.  This is one, a fluffy loaf with a sprinkling of flavors I associate with Spain.   Steve Winston
 
Sponge:
½ cup Flour
½ cup Warm water
1 package Dry yeast
1 tablespoon Orange blossom honey
Dough:
1 cup Milk, room temperature
¼ pound Butter, melted (we recommend using French butter, available at Paris Grocery)
½ teaspoon Salt
2 large eggs
1/8 c cup minced orange zest
1/8 c cup Poppy seeds
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
3½ cups all-purpose flour
Sponge: Combine first four ingredients and proof for 30 minutes until bubbles form.
Dough: Mix in the remaining ingredients, adding flour ½ cup at a time.
Turn out onto a board and knead until elastic, 15-20 minutes.    The dough will be quite wet so keep your hand floured and work the dough with a pastry scraper.  Oil a large bowl and turn the dough into it, turning it over so the oiled side is up.  Let rise until doubled in volume.
Preheat oven to 350º
Form into a loaf.  It is very flexible.  I make a U shape and twist the two arms over each other.  Place on a baking sheet sprinkled with corn meal. Let rise again, 40 minutes. Bake for 40 minutes.

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Filed under Food, Garnacha, Jamon, Meat, Portugal, Recipes, Rose, Spain, Wine

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

Saturday Raul Perez Tasting; Rare Madeira, Sherry & Port

Saturday Wine Tasting
On Saturday, March 12 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., stop in at The Spanish Table to taste a legendary Albariño made by Raul Perez, one of Spain’s top winemakers.   Some trade veterans believe that Raul is among the handful of best winemakers in the world.   He hand makes hundreds of artisanal wines in infinitesimal quantities, so the opportunity to taste one of them is rare.  We’ll be pouring a sample of2014 Leirana Finca Genoveva Albariño, Rias Baixas ($49.00) which is 100% Albariño made from vines planted in 1862.   Aged 12 months in 4 year old foudre of 2500 liter.   The 2014 vintage has not yet been reviewed by the wine press, but the 2013 vintage scored 93 points from Stephen Tanzer/Vinous.
Rare Sherry, Port and Madeira Arrive
Lustau Emperatriz Eugenia Very Rare Oloroso, Jerez ($22.99/500 ml)  A stunning Oloroso which has not been available in our market for several years.   From a solera established in 1921 when Eugenia de Montijo (born in Granada) was the last empress of France, visited Jerez.    This Oloroso is the only bottling in the Gran Reserva series from Bodegas Lustau and it has become one of their flagship wines, with an average age of 20 years.
  Displays heady aromas of sandalwood, orange zest and smoke.  Notes of toffee, fig and nougat are viscous with a velvety texture on the palate.   Concentrated notes of dried fruit, molasses, caramelized almonds and toffee are nuanced and seamless with a hint of sweetness.  Hazelnut flavors, baking spice notes and citrus have gentle herbal notes.  The finish is dry with a briny element which adds more depth and complexity.     92 points Wine Advocate  


NV Niepoort 10 year Tawny Port, Portugal ($54.00) We’re so excited to have this revered tawny onto our shelf!   “Amazing aromas of orange and lemon peel, with hints of toffee, caramel and honey. Full-bodied and luscious, with lots of sweet fruit and a long, subtle finish that goes on and on. A benchmark for 10-year-old tawnies.”  95 points Wine Spectator
1968 D’Oliveiras Bual Madeira ($236.00)  “Balanced and plush, with concentrated buttercream, hazelnut, dried apricot and tropical fruit flavors that are still fresh and lively. Citrus zest and sea salt notes show midpalate. The finish lingers with cream, dried tarragon and Asian spice details. Drink now through 2035. 40 cases imported. ” 96 points Wine Spectator

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Filed under Albariño, Events, Madeira, Port, Portugal, Sherry, Spain, 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

Recaredo Cava & Cheese

RECAREDO CAVA ARRIVES

Established in 1924, Recaredo is a pioneer in the production of totally dry Spanish cavas, working with oak barrels and extended aging on the lees.

The musts from the oldest Xarello vines ferment in oak barrels, which give structure and greater complexity to Recaredo’s cavas.  Some of the base wine is also aged in oak barrels for a few months and this wine will be used to add greater finesse and structure to the final blending.

  Viticulture at Recaredo is based on dry farming, use of only estate fruit, and vineyards are certified organic and biodynamic.     The wines are meticulously produced, hand-riddled, and aged on the lees with cork stoppers.  They are disgorged manually, without freezing the necks of the bottles which provides the most natural product.   All cuvées are vintage-dated and have zero dosage. These sparkling wines must simply be tasted to be believed!
2010 Recaredo “Relats” Brut Nature, Gran Reserva Penedes ($33.00)  Relats means “little stories in a bottle” and with its extensive 54 months of lees aging, Relats says a ton about depth and complexity.   A blend of  54% Xarel-lo and 46% Macabeo, this is the youngest cuvee made by Recaredo.   With rich brioche aromas, hints of nuts and toast, this bone-dry cava has a fine mousse of bubbles with staying power and elegance.
2008 Recaredo Terrers Brut Nature Gran Reserva, Penedes ($41.00)  46% Xarel-lo, 40% Macabeo, 14% Parellada, aged 71 months on the lees.  Fresh aromas of yellow apple are bright and creamy on the palate. Ripe white fruit has a hint of nuts and mineral and very fine bubbles, which end in a delicate crown.  Balanced acidity with a persistent finish, showing notes of almond and anise.  “… an elegant bouquet of white flowers, pears, apples and freshly-baked brioche, fresh and elegant, subtle, with a fresh palate with tiny, almost imperceptible bubbles that only seem to add freshness and texture, with clean flavors, superb acidity and balance. A great Cava at a bargain price. Drink now-2017.”  92 points WineAdvocate
Also available from our distributor (call or e-mail to order):
2006 Recaredo “Brut de Brut” Brut Nature Gran Reserva ($60.00)
2004 Recaredo “Particular” Brut Nature Gran Reserva ($115.00)

CHEESE PLEASE
   Infinitely variable in texture, flavor and unctuousness, cheese can play the meal’s starring role or be the fill-in workhorse.   Imagine an artisanal cheese platter accompanied by dried apricots or figs, charcuterie or nuts. Served with Recaredo cava, the seductive platter is a very romantic meal.
  Everyday quick and easy recipes like pizza, lasagna or toasted cheese sandwiches can be brightened up by using a different queso.   Variety is the spice of life; try one of the following tasty Iberian cheeses.
  One of our favorite meals in a hotel room is uber simple:  a selection of great cheeses and a bottle of wine.    This strategy is essential when restaurant options are poor.  Never leave home without emergency supplies!
Recommended Artisanal Cheeses:

Garroxta:  Goat milk.  Semi-hard and luscious, delicately flavored and smooth.   Excellent with cava!
Roncal:  Sheep milk. Made from raw milk of the Lacha and Aragonesa breeds that feed in high Navarran pastures.  Aged 6 months.  Intense flavors, nutty, with hint of mushroom.
Valdeon blue cheese:  Cow and goat milk.  Sweeter than Cabrales, it is smooth, rich and caramelized.
 
Olveha Amanteigado:  Portuguese sheep milk.  A non-DOP Serra de Estrela cheese, it is made with thistle rennet.  Unctuous and soft, sweet with hints of thistle.  Slice the top off this cheese and eat the center with a spoon.
Excellent Melting Cheeses:

Young Mahon: Cow’s milk.  Aged 4 months. Has a slight piquancy, with fruity, rich and nutty flavors.
Tetilla:  Cow’s milk.  Made in Galicia, the cows graze on lush grass and the cheese is aged 15-20 days.  Mild, buttery and semi-soft.
Palhais:  Goat milk.  From Portugal, semi-soft, crumbly and tangy.   Great stuffed inside piquillo peppers and warmed.
Great picnic cheeses:

Pata Cabra:  Goat milk. A washed-rind cheese from Aragon.  Fruity and refined when young, it develops tanginess with age.
El Valle Semi Curado:  Sheep milk.  Everyone knows Manchego sheep cheese from Spain, and we carry a selection from a number of producers.  El Valle is a non D.O. sheep milk cheese that is slightly creamier than Manchego, with fresh flavors of hay, and is a touch sharp.

Beira:  Cow’s milk.  From Portugal, near the Serra de Estrela mountains.  Flavorful, smooth and grassy.
Upcoming Paella class on Saturday March 19, 11-1 PM.
Details:  Hot Stove

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Filed under Catalan, Cava, Cheese, Events, Food, Jamon, Paella, Spain, Wine

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