It’s time to dust off the picnic basket, charcoal grill and paella pan. With the advent of Easter, spring is in the air. That means time to enjoy Spanish meals and wine in the fresh air and sunshine.
In Spain, the Easter festivities are marked with colorful, magical processions making their way through the cobbled streets, and most notably, gastronomic Easter treats overfilling the tables with exquisite food, sweets and wine.
For instance, a Tarta de Santiago (a culinary delightful cake decorated with the sign of the cross) or Easter Week Fritters paired with a small glass of Oloroso sherry makes the perfect combination. Such recipes can be found in Spain: Mediterranean Cuisine by Fabien Bellahsen and Daniel Rouche ($14.99).
For Easter and the arrival of warmer weather, new wines of every style, grape variety and nationality are arriving weekly. Fresh new white wines, mature aged red wines and a full range of dry to sweet fortified wines are hitting our shelves. This is an excellent time to sample the full depth and breadth of The Spanish Table wine collection.
Check out this sampling of our latest new arrivals for your table and picnic basket, and then come to our store to see the full selection of over 600 different wines from Spain, Portugal, Argentina and Chile. We look forward to showing you around and helping you fill your Easter table as they do in Spain.
(FYI, The Spanish Table will be closed on Sunday April 8th).
Amestoi 2006 $15.99 The first 2006 Spanish white wine to arrive in our store is the Amestoi Txakoli, made in the Basque region of northern Spain from the indigenous Hondaribbi Zuri grape. This is a dry, lightly spritzy wine you definitely want to experience at its freshest. Right now the fruit character is at its brightest and the effervescence is at its bubbliest. This one goes down fast. I suggest buying at least two bottles at a time and serving it with light appetizers or shellfish.
Ostatu Blanco 2006 $12.99 The other early arrival for 2006 Spanish white wines is this bright, youthful white Rioja made from the Viura grape. Ostatu has high altitude Viura vineyards in Rioja Alavesa that produce fresh, clean youthful wines. Ostatu Blanco is produced without using oak barrels for fermentation and ageing, resulting in a leaner, livelier finished wine. Take this wine along on your next picnic and serve it with anything from a tuna sandwich to piquillo peppers filled with a salt cod mousse.
Avinyó Rosat Cava $19.99 Many of you are already familiar with the small production sparkling wine from Avinyó (Avinyó Brut Reserva). We just received our first shipment of their sparkling rosado. This pink bubbly is something quite special. It’s dry and leesy like the regular Avinyó cava, but it also has a bit of berry-like aroma to lend a hint of richness to the wine. This gets my vote for the best cocktail wine for spring entertaining. It is refreshing, accompanies a wide variety of appetizers and looks great in the glass.
Luberri Seis 2005 $14.99 A small production winemaker in Rioja who’s products we have enjoyed in past vintages is back with a new importer, all new labels and a handful of new wines. Luberri Seis is a joven (young) Rioja made from 100% Tempranillo from the Luberri estate vineyards in Elciego. This gentle, young wine, with its cherry-like fruit character is perfect for serving alongside a big paella.
Luberri Biga 2004 $16.99 Florentino Monje-Amestoy, the owner/winemaker at Luberri, is a very hands-on kind of guy. He started Luberri after having made wine at Artadi for many years. On any given day he can be found in the vineyards pruning vines, in the winery racking barrels and in the car driving between business meetings with distributors from around the world.
Biga is his Crianza Rioja that sees 12 months of barrel age and an additional 12 months of bottle age before release. This robust red displays oak aroma, dry tannins and pie cherry fruit character. Serve it at your first-of-the-season cookout.
Altún Albiker 2006 $14.99 Bodegas Altún regularly wins prizes for the best Spanish red wine made using carbonic maceration (grapes are fermented in whole bunches prior to crushing). This young, gentle fruity wine is particularly refreshing and food friendly. Serve it cellar cool with grilled sausages or paella.
Beryna 2004 $14.99 Wines from D.O. Alicante are receiving more attention these days, due in part to wines like Beryna that offer an abundant, ripe, full-bodied style at very reasonable prices. This wine is a blend of mostly Monastrell (Mourvedre) with Syrah and a handful of others in the mix. Twelve months of barrel age adds tannic structure to the blend. Serve Beryna with hearty fare, from burgers on the grill to lentejas con chorizo.
Luca Malbec 2005 $33.99 This spectacular Argentine Malbec is dark as ink and full of ripe blackberry aroma, abundant fruit character and spicy background notes. What distinguishes this particular Malbec from many others is the fine balance of flavors that never veer into the over-ripe or the reductive. Serve this wine with spicy meat and/or vegetable stews (especially good with potatoes).
Luis Pato Vinhas Velhas 2003 $28.99 Luis Pato is one of the superstars of Portuguese winemaking. Several years ago he withdrew form the highly regulated D.O.C. Bairrada designation in favor of the more loosely regulated Vinho Regional Beiras demarcation. Vinhas Velhas 2003 is the first wine we have received since he changed the regional labels on his wines. The unique, spicy, earthy style he is famous for is still evident in the wine. The Vinhas Velhas 2003 is smoky and tannic. Black cherry fruit character gives way to notes of black olive and meat locker in the background. This would be an excellent wine to serve with grilled skirt steak sliced and served over wilted bitter greens.
Hacienda Monasterio 2003 $42.99 Peter Sisseck of Pingus fame makes this dark colored and deeply flavorful D.O. Ribera del Duero wine. It is a perennial favorite that we receive limited quantities of once a year. We got just three cases of the 2003 vintage, which we do not expect to last long. Steven Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar gave this wine 92 points, saying “Deep ruby. Explosive, sexy aromas of cherry, plum, incense, freshly ground coffee and succulent herbs. Focused and deep, with red and dark berry flavors complicated by candied violet, smoky bacon and cracked pepper. A ripe, weighty wine with a dense, chewy texture and compelling freshness, especially for the year. Finishes with a note of sweet cherry preserves, fine tannins and excellent length.”
Gran Barquero Fino $17.99
Gran Barquero Amontillado $22.99
Gran Barquero Oloroso $21.99
Gran Barquero Pedro Ximénez $23.99
In the hills of Andalucia, just south of Cordoba in D.O. Montilla-Moriles they make fortified wines using the Pedro Ximénez grape. These wines share the same production techniques as Sherry from D.O. Jerez further south. We have just received a supply of wines from Bodegas Perez Barquero that are among the best wines made in this region. Gran Barquero Fino is pale straw colored, bracingly dry, lean and full of toasted almond aroma. Serve it chilled as an aperitif. Gran Barquero Amontillado is amber gold colored and redolent of butterscotch and toasted walnuts. Serve it with salty snacks and pureed soups. Gran Barquero Oloroso is dark amber colored with light raisin-like sweetness. Serve it alongside a flan or other custard dessert. Finally, Gran Barquero Pedro Ximénez is dark as motor oil and abundantly aromatic and sweet, with aromas and flavors of dried figs and molasses. Serve this wine as dessert along with a few butter cookies.
Viña Tondonia Blanco Gran Reserva 1964 $215.00
Viña Tondonia Gran Reserva 1968 $215.00
Viña Tondonia Gran Reserva 1973 $137.00
In D.O.C. Rioja the wines of R. Lopez de Heredia are the standard bearers of traditional winemaking practice. Produced only in exceptional vintages from all estate fruit, the Gran Reserva wines are aged by long slow barrel maturation over many years, with additional time in bottle (again, many years) before release. The current release for the Gran Reserva wines is 1981. The winery also releases limited quantities of older vintages, a few of which we just added to our small collection of Lopez de Heredia wines.
These are among the most unique wines you will find anywhere in Spain or elsewhere. While they are expensive, they offer a truly rare glimpse of a style of winemaking that is fast disappearing from the wine world.
Monica Nogues of Think Global Wines, the American importer of Lopez de Heredia, calls the Viña Tondonia Blanco Gran Reserva 1964 the “vintage of the century” for this mature blend of 85% Viura and 15% Malvasia. Amber gold in color, this wine displays oxidized aromas of linseed oil and beeswax. Herbal flavors of dill and tarragon blend with underlying golden raisin fruit character. The red Viña Tondonia Gran Reserva wines from 1968 and 1973 are firmly structured and display surprisingly youthful tannins considering the relative age of the wines. The bright red berry fruit is buried down deep within the layers of oxidized, earthy, leathery and herbaceous flavors that reveal themselves one at a time as the wine breathes.