Monthly Archives: May 2007

Memorial Day

Planning a holiday party? Do yourself (and your wallet or pocketbook) a favor and check out our selection of Spanish and Portuguese beers, ready made Sangria and value priced ‘house wines’. These bargains will be sure to start your Memorial Day get-together on a new and exciting note without busting your budget. (See below.)
Also, if you’re interested in making your own sangria for your holiday bash, we have some excellent books filled with fun and festive sangria recipes. “Sangria” by Mittie Hellmich ($14.95). Recipes include traditional red and wine sangria as well as sangria de cava, sangria rosada and sangria de moscatel. Toss in various fruits (whatever’s in season and looks good) and make a strawberry mint sangria, mango lemongrass sangria or papaya hibiscus sparkling sangria. Or, check out our very own Spanish Table Sangria recipes in “The Spanish Table Cookbook” by Steve Winston ($19.99). Steve has some delicious crowd-pleasing sangria recipes, including peach and cherry sangria as well as blood orange and cranberry sangria.

Meanwhile, check out some exciting and unique beverages to help you make the most of the long weekend, then read down a bit for some new arrivals in the wine department (and, as a reminder, the Spanish Table will be open on Memorial Day from 11am – 5pm)..


Holiday Bargains:

Estrella Galicia Lagar $10.99 The only genuine imported Spanish beer available in California.


Sagres Lagar $6.99 Excellent Portuguese beer, just like what you get all across Portugal.


Super Bock $7.99 Bold, full bodied flavor makes this a unique Portuguese beer.


Aromas de Turis Red Sangria $8.99 (I Liter) Ready made Spanish Sangria. Just add sliced fruit and ice. It’s like an instant beach vacation.


Aromas de Turis White Sangria $8.99 (1 Liter) White Sangria? You bet! A novel alternative to the traditional red sangria. Just add sliced fruit and ice. It’s just that easy.


Cruz Garcia Reál Sangria $14.99 (1.5 Liter jug) This party–sized jug of ready made Sangria may be just the right size for your holiday party crowd. Simply pour over ice and add some sliced lemon and orange if you wish.


Viu Manent Malbec 2006 $6.99 The latest addition to our ‘house wines’ section is a bold, young red from Chile made from the local Malbec grape. An excellent accompaniment to barbecue and grilled foods, this would also make a delicious base for sangria.


Viu Manent Sauvignon Blanc 2006 $6.99 Also from Chile, this aromatic, grassy white wine is youthful and fresh. I should also remind you that this and all ‘house wines’ are discounted to $5.99 each when purchased by the 12 bottle case (mix and match among the 10 ‘house wine’ selections)

New Arrivals

Pink Wines:

Tres Ojos Rosado 2006 $7.99 We got just a few cases of this friendly, ripe rosado from the high altitude vineyards of D.O. Calatayud in Northern Spain. This blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha displays youthful strawberry and lemon aromas and flavors. This refreshing wine is perfect for picnics, back porch sipping and lighter meals.


Amestoi Rubentis 2006 $15.99 We sold all of our first shipment, but our trusty distributor found a few more cases of this rosado Txakoli…that’s right, rosado Txakoli. Everyone’s favorite dry, spritzy Basque white wine now comes in a pink version. This blend of white Hondarribi Zuri and red Hondaribbi Beltza grapes (grown only in the Basque lands) stays true to its Txakoli name with spritzy effervescence and lean minerality. Just a hint of fresh berry fruit sets the pink version apart from the austere grapefruit character of the other Txakoli wines. This is my new standard for warm weather refreshment.


White Wines:

Fefiñanes Albariño 2006 $16.99 One of my absolute favorite Albariño wines has just been released in the 2006 vintage. This wine exhibits top shelf quality at very reasonable price. The intriguing blend of floral aromas layered over a rocky mineral foundation is typical of the best wines from D.O. Rías Baixas and is evident here in abundance.


Ipsum 2006 $10.99 The new vintage of Ipsum has just arrived. This refreshing white wine from D.O. Rueda is a blend of 60% Verdejo and 40% Viura sourced from high altitude vineyards in Northern Spain. The aroma of orange blossoms matches perfectly with the flavor of grapefruit. A fabulous value!


Viña Godeval 2005 $17.99 We announced the arrival of this Godello grape wine from D.O. Valdeorras last week, but I just read the latest review from The Wine Spectator where this wine was awarded 90 Points. They say: “Crisp yet delicate, this white is almost weightless, with floral, mineral and citrus notes that float across the palate on a razor beam of acidity. Perfect to accompany clams and oysters.” I think they meant laser, not razor, but you get the picture.


Red Wines:

Biurko Gorri Arbanta 2005 $10.99 We just received this organic red from D.O.C. Rioja. Recently, The Wine Advocate reviewed this wine, awarding it 89 Points. Jay Miller said “The 2005 Biurko Gorri Arbanta offers superb value, among the best in my Spanish tastings. It is 100% Tempranillo, tank fermented and aged. Medium ruby in color, it exhibits remarkable aromatic complexity for its price point with cherries, red currants, and spice in evidence. The wine is elegant, balanced, and fruity right through the lengthy finish. Drink it over the next 1-3 years.” I concur.


Quinta do Infantado Tinto 2003 $14.99 Portuguese red wines, especially those made by port wine producers keep getting better and better. The initial vintage (2001) of this red D.O.C. Douro wine was tarry and rustic. The new vintage is much smoother without loosing the smoky, earthy character that is typical of this region. Dark color and abundant, ripe fruit character encounter concentrated spicy flavors and intermingle to create a big red wine suitable for outdoor grilling and spicy foods.


Viña Cubillo Crianza 2001 $25.99 Bodegas Lopez de Heredia makes some of the most old-school, traditional wines in D.O.C. Rioja.  This red wine, composed of Tempranillo and Garnacha with small amounts of Graciano, Mazuelo and Viura (a white wine grape) sees three years of ageing, with two of those years spent in oak barrels hand crafted on site. Light ruby color, bright yet gentle red berry fruit and abundant barrel character are typical of this producer’s wines. A true taste of history.


Paella Class Update

I forgot a vital piece of information in last week’s announcement about the upcoming Paella and Wine class at Kitchen On Fire cooking school in Berkeley. The date for the class is Monday June 18th and the time is 6:30pm. Here is what Kitchen On Fire says about the event:


Join Kevin Hogan from The Spanish Table to learn first-hand the joys of the Spanish rice dish known as Paella. Kevin will share his knowledge and experience in all things Paella-related. The class will include some hands-on participation to prepare a mixed poultry/meat/seafood Paella that will be consumed at the culmination of the class. Participants will also get a chance to make and sample some simple tapas while waiting for the Paella to cook. Kevin is the wine buyer for The Spanish Table in Berkeley and will be sharing some Paella-friendly wines as well. Come to class with an appetite for adventure and be rewarded with a plateful of Paella wisdom.


The class is $65.00 per person and (since it’s me teaching the class) includes a tasting of five different Spanish wines that are appropriate to the meal. To register for this exciting event, go to the Kitchen on Fire web site They will be handling all reservations for the class.

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Paella Class

Get ready to ramp up your summer entertaining skills with our first Paella and wine class of the season.

I am teaming up with the professionally trained  and highly entertaining duo of Mike C. and Olivier Said from Kitchen On Fire to bring you this hands-on class that will teach you everything you need to know to throw a spectacular Paella party in your own home.

Located in the heart of North Berkeley, upstairs at the new Epicurious Gardens complex, Kitchen on Fire is quickly becoming the prime location for food and wine classes of every imaginable permutation.  Olivier and Mike have graciously made room in their busy schedule for this special event.  Here is what they say about the class:

Join Kevin Hogan from The Spanish Table to learn first-hand the joys of the Spanish rice dish known as Paella. Kevin will share his knowledge and experience in all things Paella-related. The class will include some hands-on participation to prepare a mixed poultry/meat/seafood Paella that will be consumed at the culmination of the class. Participants will also get a chance to make and sample some simple tapas while waiting for the Paella to cook. Kevin is the wine buyer for The Spanish Table in Berkeley and will be sharing some Paella-friendly wines as well. Come to class with an appetite for adventure and be rewarded with a plateful of Paella wisdom.

That pretty much sums it up.  The class is $65.00 per person and (since it’s me teaching the class) includes a tasting of five different Spanish wines that are appropriate to the meal. To register for this exciting event, go to the Kitchen on Fire web site They will be handling all reservations for the class. Also, this week in the San Francisco Examiner, Patricia Unterman tells the Bay Area where to find the best Paella supplies (right here, of course): as well as sharing her thoughts on B-44 restaurant in San Francisco:

East of the Caldicott tunnel, Jessica Yadegaran of the Contra Costa times shares her thoughts about off beat wines, including several of the unique and delicious wines found here at The Spanish table:

Meanwhile, here are some of the latest arrivals here in the wine department:

White Wines:

Laxas Albariño 2006 $17.99 The new vintage of this ripe, floral Albariño from Northwestern Spain has just arrived. Jasmine and orange blossom aromas play off of the melon and quince flavors. Laxas sounds like ‘luscious’ to me and that is the perfect word to describe this wine.

Xarmant 2006 $13.99 We just received the new vintage of this youthful, spritzy white Txakoli wine from the Basque lands. Most of the Txakoli is grown on the coast. This wine comes from vineyards in the inland hills of Alava province where the grapes get a better chance of fully ripening, thus creating a fuller, rounder wine with less of the austere minerality of the coastal Txakoli. An excellent introduction to Txakoli for those who have yet to experience this wonderfully refreshing wine.

Espadana Sauvignon Blanc 2005 $10.99 (was $14.99) This wine from the Rueda region in North central Spain is ripe with tropical fruit aromas and flavors of pineapple, guava and limes. Crisp and refreshing, this is a wonderful wine for warm weather meals. Espadaña Sauvignon Blanc is on sale right now to get you to try the Spanish version of this well known grape variety.

Red Wines:

Nekeas Tempranillo/Merlot 2005 $9.99 The new vintage of this wine is here just in time for the beginning of picnic season. This light bodied blend of Tempranillo and Merlot is gentle and bright, with fresh berry fruit character and a clean finish. If you aren’t in picnic mode just yet, try it on a weeknight with a simple pasta or rice dish.

Periquita 2004 $11.99 In Portugal, Jose Maria da Fonseca has been making Periquita since 1850. Produced in the Peninsula de Setubal region south of Lisbon, Periquita is composed of a blend of Castelão,  Aragonez and Trincadeira. After fermentation the blended wine is aged for 5 months in oak before bottling. This well-known and tasty Portuguese red wine is versatile and friendly. Pair it with a wide range of foods and flavors.

Periquita Classico 2001 $24.99 For a more mature perspective on Periquita, try the 100% Castelão version of this wine from the same producers as the regular Periquita. Aged for 10 months prior to bottling, Periquita Classico is a bold, spicy, well structured red wine that has been a favorite among wine lovers from Portugal (and elsewhere) for over a century.

Jerez Wines:

Maestro Sierra Fino $13.99 (375ml)

Maestro Sierra Amontillado $21.99 (375ml)

Maestro Sierra Oloroso $15.99 (375ml)

Maestro Sierra was founded in 1832 by Jose Antonio Sierra, who, as a master carpenter, was responsible for building barrels for all the major Sherry houses. Recognized as one of the top coopers in the area, he longed to become involved in the Sherry trade itself. As this business was dominated by the nobility, a start-up such as his was not very welcome. After many hardships he was able to establish and grow his business becoming one of the top Almacenistas (stockholders) of high quality Sherries. Poking fun at his struggle, the label depicts an allegorical fox hunt with the “Nobles” hunting the fox (Maestro Sierra).

Pilar Pla Pechovierto currently owns Maestro Sierra. Doña Pilar is a widow whose husband was a direct descendent of the Sierra family. She respected her husband’s wish that the winery remain in operation after his death and over the last thirty years she has kept the winery open, selling very limited stocks of wine to a few of the large Sherry houses. Because the wines have virtually remained unmoved due to the almost non existent business, the stocks at Maestro Sierra are some of the oldest in Jerez. The soleras at the winery are easily over 60 years old and some maybe close to 100 years old.

These are some of the finest Jerez wines I have tasted. Some of you have had a chance to try them at César in Berkeley where they are currently offering all of these wines as a tasting flight. Now you can have some to enjoy at home too.

Maestro Sierra Fino is pale straw colored, bracingly dry and nutty with a whiff of sea breeze. Serve it as an aperitif.

Maestro Sierra Amontillado is amber gold in color with a rich aroma of almonds and fresh hay. A very gentle note of raisin-like fruit character is present here. This wine pairs well with aged cheeses and curd meats.

Finally, the Maestro Sierra Oloroso is dark amber with flavors of walnuts, butterscotch and figs. Serve this wine at the end of a big meal.

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Mother’s Day

Nothing says ‘Thanks Mom’ like a great bottle of wine.

Fresh cut Roses make a nice gift, but think how much more she will love you if instead you give her a fresh bottle of rosado.

Or, how about surprising her, just as you did when you were a child, with breakfast in bed? This Mother’s day tradition that will be even more special with a Mimosa made from fresh squeezed O.J. and bright, bubbly Cava. If Mom needs extra special attention you could make that Mimosa out of rosado Cava, thereby doubling your chances of winning her special appreciation.

Maybe you are taking your mother out to a nice restaurant? This year, show that you actually put thought into her special day by showing up to dinner with a really nice
bottle of wine to accompany the meal, or better yet, show up with two bottles, a white and a red, to show that you have good taste as well as good manners.
If you traditionally send a gift on Mother’s Day, this year you should consider sending a mixed case of our value priced ‘house wine’. Mom can stock her pantry with tasty, traditional wines that will remind her of you each time she opens a new bottle.

And, if your mother loves music, we have an array of fine tunes from Spain, Portugal and Latin America. How about some mambo with Tito Puente or salsa with Celia Cruz, the Queen of Salsa? Or, if Mom would rather hear something soothing, how about some suave flamenco guitar music from Paco de Lucia or Vicente Amigo? Any of these artists are sure to wake up the senses and get the body moving. Turn it up at breakfast and Mom can dance around the house in her pajamas while drinking that Mimosa.



Verasol Rosado 2006 $10.99 Just arrived today! The Garnacha grape thrives in the high altitude vineyards of D.O. Campo de Borja. Verasol Rosado expresses the vibrant, fruit filled flavors that young Garnacha wines (made from old Garnacha vines) are capable of. Ripe strawberry and raspberry aromas pair well with bright citrus flavors. This refreshing young wine is perfect with an afternoon picnic in the grass.


Mont Ferrant Brut Rosado Cava $14.99 One of my favorite sparkling rosados is back after a temporary hiatus. The wine is as dark as cranberry juice, and displays abundant ripe berry aromas and surprisingly dry, crisp fruit character. Mont Ferrant is one of the oldest producers of Cava and they use their time tested expertise to create this untraditional blend of Monastrell and Garnacha.



Avinyó Vi D’Agulla 2006 $12.99 I announced this wine a few weeks ago, but it keeps selling out (actually, I keep buying it all up) so you may not have had a chance to try it yet.

I said “ The Avinyó Cava that we carry (the traditional Brut Reserva As well as the new Brut Rosado) is always top notch. This small winery also produces a traditional summer wine called Vi D’Agulla (translates literally as ‘needle wine’). This lightly effervescent white wine made from Petit Grain Muscat is floral and aromatic like a Moscatel, but only gently sweet. The light bubbles lift the scent and give the wine a lively, fresh character. The prickly effervescence is what gives the wine its name. Serve Vi D’Agulla as a welcoming cocktail to your dinner guests and watch the smiles spread with each sip.”


Lagar de Cervera Albariño 2006 $19.99 The newest vintage of this, one of our most requested Albariño wines, has just arrived. Bright lemon color and rich tropical fruit aromas and flavors of guava and mango combine brilliantly with flinty minerality. When first released this wine is lightly spritzy, which adds to the fun, I think.



Santa Cruz de Artazu 2004 $36.99 This brilliant D.O. Navarra wine produced from small plots of 70-90 year old Garnacha is ripe, spicy and very finely detailed. Josh Raynolds of Steven Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar rated this wine at 91 points, saying “Deep ruby. Powerful, ripe, spicy scents of cherry, cured meat and cracked pepper. Very intense on the palate, with the cherry flavor framed by solid but not strident tannins. Finishes youthfully taut, with a repeating pepper note and impressive length. Give this some cellar time, or decant it for an hour.”

Pago de los Capellanes Crianza 2004 $31.99 As this wine was just released, we are well ahead of the curve, review-wise. The 2003 version was rated by The Wine Spectator as their highest scoring Spanish wine among their ‘Top 100 wines of 2006’. The 2004 is produced, like the 2003, from 90% Tinto Fino and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and aged for 12 months in French oak before bottling. Dark garnet color, oak aroma and initially firm tannins (that soften with age or exposure to oxygen) encounter rich blackberry fruit character. The aromas and flavors are very well integrated and should last for 8-10 years before they start to fade.


House Wines

Our ‘house wine’ selections are still available. In case you missed the initial description, I repeat it here.

We have created a special section of youthful, traditionally styled wines (like what you would get in a typical Spanish bar) that retail for $6.99.  Individually these wines are already inexpensive. The standard 10% discount for full case purchases would normally bring the price down to $6.30 per bottle.  With these particular wines we will offer a special discounted price of $5.99 per bottle with 12 bottle purchase.


Los Cardos Malbec Rosé 2005 $6.99 The latest addition to our increasingly popular ‘house wine’ section is this Argentine rosado. Made from the local Malbec grape, this gentle pink wine is a perfect back porch cocktail wine. It would also make a fine accompaniment to roast chicken or poached salmon


Infinitus Viura/Chardonnay 2005 $6.99 Crisp, young white wine made from a 50/50 blend of tank fermented (no oak) Viura and Chardonnay. Fresh citrus and green apple fruit character. The perfect back porch cocktail.


Vall Major Blanco 2004 $6.99 This D.O. Terra Alta white wine is produced from 100% Macabeo grapes. Pale straw color, grapefruit aroma and tart green grape fruit character.  A composed salad of spring lettuces and Spanish ventresca tuna with a sherry vinaigrette would make a nice accompaniment.

Infinitus Tempranillo 2005 $6.99 Fresh, youthful aroma, bright cherry-like fruit character and gentle grape skin tannins in the background. Excellent with rice or pasta dishes.


Infinitus Syrah 2005 $6.99 Dark garnet color, spicy herbal aroma and rich, full-bodied black cherry fruit character. Pass the cork screw and fire up the grill!


Castillo de Daroca 2005 $6.99 From the same D.O. Calatayud region winemakers who bring you Viña Alarba comes this blend of mostly Garnacha with a bit of Syrah in the mix. Youthful red berry fruit character, with some added color and structure from the Syrah.

Albet i Noya Tempranillo Clàssic 2002 $6.99 Dry, earthy Tempranillo from D.O. Penedès in Catalunya. Toasted oak barrel aroma and tannin with underlying dried cherry fruit character. Made from organic grapes.

Señorio de Balboa 2003 $6.99 This Tempranillo is perfect for a backyard barbecue.  The ripe fruit character is balanced by lightly tannic oak to firm up the structure of the wine and give it enough oomph to stand up to grilled meats and other charred delights.

Reverendo Tinto 2004 $6.99 Mostly Tempranillo with a bit of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Typical D.O. Navarra style. Lean and savory with tangy pie cherry fruit character, well integrated tannins and background earthiness.

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Cinco De mayo

When I think of Cinco de Mayo, bright festive colors come to mind. The costumes, sombreros, the food, the drinks – every celebratory item is aglow. Reds, yellows, greens, oranges, purples come splashing left and right — similar to the colors of Frida Kahlo’s unique head wraps that were often filled with glorious colorful flowers. In fact, flowers were often illustrated in her paintings, including the painting, “Xochitl”, also known as the “Flower of Life.” (I Will Never Forget You: Frida Kahlo & Nickolas Muray, by Salomon Grimberg, $24.95).
Meanwhile in Berkeley, I keep thinking that rosado season is just about to begin and then we get a bit of rain or cool weather and I think “no, not yet”.  So maybe it is fortunate that most of the 2006 pink wines have yet to reach our shelves. They tell me that the dock workers are on strike, or the wines are stuck in customs, or some other vague shipping issue, but it all boils down to us not having a whole bunch of rosado to sell at the moment.  The few new rosados we do have are delicious and we hear good things about the wines yet to come, so if your personal clock is set to rosado time we have a couple of excellent new wines for you.

Meanwhile, most of us are still enjoying the latest arrivals in the white and red wines.

This week we recap the new rosados that we do have, as well as alerting you to some new wines from Spain and Portugal as well as  a delicious new arrival from Argentina.


New Pink:

Marques de Caceres Rosado 2006 $10.99 At last! We are very excited to offer this, the first Spanish rosado of the season. This refreshingly dry wine displays pale watermelon color, fresh berry aroma and bright citrus fruit character. Composed of 80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha, this is sure to be as well received on your table as it is in our store.


Amestoi Rubentis 2006 $15.99 Here’s a new one for you…rosado Txakoli. You heard it right. That dry, spritzy Basque white wine that is so refreshing and food friendly now comes in a pink version. This blend of white Hondarribi Zuri and red Hondaribbi Beltza grapes (grown only in the Basque lands) stays true to its Txakoli name with spritzy effervescence and lean minerality. Just a hint of fresh berry fruit sets the pink version apart from the austere grapefruit character of the other Txakoli wines. This is my new standard for warm weather refreshment.


New White:

Con Class 2005 $ 11.99 Verdejo is the primary grape variety in D.O. Rueda in the same way as Albariño is the predominant varietal in D.O. Rías Baixas.  Con Class is a D.O. Rueda wine composed of 80% Verdejo, 10% Viura and 10% Sauvignon Blanc. This crisp, aromatic white wine displays orange blossom aroma and guava fruit character. It would be  a perfect accompaniment to a springtime lunch composed of young vegetables (green peas or fava beans), fresh cheeses (Manchego Tierno, or fresh goat cheese) and egg dishes (Tortilla Española, or quiche). 


Lagar de Cervera 2006 $19.99 This wine is consistently one of the most requested Albariño wines in our store. Produced by the same group that also makes red La Rioja Alta wines, this white wine is produced in a winery located in D.O. Rías Baixas on the Atlantic coast. The new 2006 vintage is so fresh, so pure, so lively that it perfectly embodies the spring season. 


Viña Godeval 2005 $17.99 Back in the day (way back, like, three or four years ago), this was the only D.O. Valdeorras wine made from the Godello grape that most of us had ever seen out here on the west coast. Thing have improved for Godello appreciators and now we carry several of these wines, but Viña Godeval was the first, and it still represents the grape and the region in fine fashion. For those who have not yet tried Viña Godeval, it is a crisp, unoaked white wine that displays grapefruit aroma and flavor along with gentle white peach fruit character balanced by edgy minerality. Superlative refreshment.


New Red:

Equis 2004 $10.99 This V.T. Castilla wine from Bodegas Luan, produced from vineyards not far (roughly 100 miles) from the Mediterranean is a blend of 40% Bobal, 20% Merlot, 10% Syrah, 10% Garnacha, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Tempranillo. Although much of the wine of the region is filtered, the US importer Eric Solomon has requested that it not be done with Equis in order to preserve the concentration and aromas that naturally occur in this bottling. The end result is a wine that combines dry, earthy foundational aromas and flavors with bright, youthful fruit character. Equis is a wine that will pair well with Spanish dishes such as garbanzos and chorizo or the bread thickened traditional game bird and tomato stew called Gazpacho Manchego. 


Vinha da Palestra 2003 $11.99 This is a young Portuguese wine from D.O.C. Douro composed of roughly equal parts Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca and Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo by another name) that offers a gentle glimpse at the powerful Douro reds of days gone by. This new style of Douro trades rustic power for poise and balance. The brash tannins are pushed to the background in favor of bright fruit character and lively acidity. Hints of smoky oak are faintly discernable though present in sufficient quantity to remind one of where this wine comes from. Serve Vinha da Palestra with your favorite Portuguese chicken recipe (there are so many) and a big salad.


Navarro Correas Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 $14.99 This hearty Argentine Cabernet attracted our attention for several reasons. For starters, it displays abundant black pepper aroma and dark berry fruit along with well integrated tannins. Also, we have tasted many excellent Argentine wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon lately and this one offers ample pleasure at a great price. Finally, our newest Employee, Jehan, lived in Argentina for many years and this wine reminded him of home.


Pico Madama 2003 $32.99  This is a D.O. Jumilla wine made in limited quantities (approximately 1250 cases) by Marcial Martínez Cruz especially for Guy Anderson, the English importer responsible for Mad Dogs and Englishmen as well as a popular French wine known as ‘Fat Bastard’. Originally intended for the British market, the wine somehow found its way to the US where it has been very well received.

Pico Madama is composed of 55% Monastrell and 45% Petit Verdot. The former was aged in American oak and the latter in French oak for 13 months before being bottled unfiltered. The inky dark violet color is just what one would expect from a Jumilla wine. What distinguishes this bottle is the firm tannic structure and a slight grapeskin-like bitter background note that serve to balance the rich, sweet fruit character.

 Serve Pico Madama with rich, spicy, meaty meals ranging from chili con carne to skirt steak with a pimentón dry rub.

(The Wine Advocate gave the 2004 vintage 93 Points, noting “if you should see the 2003 Pico Madama on the shelf, do not hesitate. It is nearly as good as the 2004”.)


Leva Daniel 2004 $34.99 In 2003, Spanish importer Aurelio Cabastrero and his wife Jenny had their first child, a son they named Daniel. To celebrate, Aurelio worked with some of his producers to create special cuvees named Daniel. Bodegas Bernabe Navarro in D.O. Alicante is one of those producers. It is a small family estate owned by Rafael Bernabe. The 40 hectares are predominantly planted with Monastrell, but they also grow Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. The high altitude of the vineyards, the low yields and the lack of rainfall produce grapes with a high level of concentration.

The 2004 Leva Daniel (the second vintage for this wine)is made from 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Tempranillo, 15% Syrah, and 15% Merlot, fermented and aged separately in 50%  new and 50% second generation French oak barrels for twelve months before final blending and bottling.

Inky dark and unfiltered, the wine has deep aromas of blueberries and cassis. Huge spicy fruit flavors of blackberry and gently tannic oak combine for a round, juicy and complex organaleptic experience.

Serve this wine with barbecued pork ribs or a Catalan stew of pork and prunes. 

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