Monthly Archives: June 2007

Paella for Dad

Father’s Day is this coming Sunday and I can guarantee that a Paella party in his honor would be a great way to celebrate the occasion.

Like the American back yard barbecue, paella is traditionally cooked by men. Something about cooking outdoors over an open flame appeals to the primal spirit that informs much of male culinary wisdom, but if you and/or your Father are not yet versed in the details of cooking Paella, we are here to help. 

First, I should remind you that a few spots are still open for my Paella & Wine cooking class. The date for the class is next Monday June 18th and the time is 6:30pm. 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 https://www.kitchenonfire.com//course_class.php?class=280. They will be handling all reservations for the class.

Then, next week, on Sunday the 24th of June,  The Berkeley International Food Festival will take place in and around our store on San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley. Food culture from around the world will be celebrated at numerous venues in the neighborhood. Here at The Spanish table we will be making a giant Paella as well as demonstrating various tapas made of items from our store. The Paella demonstration (and tasting) will be at around 1pm, with other demos happening all day long.

We also have a few books in Spanish that help spread the joy of fatherhood. For the younger crowd we have a bilingual (Spanish/English) board book titled Quiero a mi papá porque… by Laurel Porter-Gaylord ($6.99) which features fathers from the animal world doing fatherly things. Older offspring will appreciate Mi papá (a translation of the original, My Dad) by Anthony Browne ($14.99) which features a frumpy pajamas and bathrobe clad father who, in spite of his unkempt state, is loved by his family.

Keep reading below to discover the latest arrivals in our wine department that are sure to liven up your Father’s Day party:

 

House Wine Selections:

Check out the latest arrivals in our selection of ‘House Wines’. These bargains are always just $6.99 per bottle, with a special price of $5.99 per bottle for full case purchases (mix and match from any of the ‘house wines’). These reliable, everyday wines are typical of what is served in countless bars and restaurants all across Spain.

 

Pago de Obanos Reserva 1996 $6.99 This mature, barrel aged Tempranillo comes from D.O. Ribera del Duero, a region known for earthy, bold red wines. A wine of this age needs exposure to oxygen after its long slumber in the bottle to bring out the full compliment of flavors and aromas. Pour this wine out into a pitcher or carafe before serving. Mature aromas of coffee bean and saddle leather play off of rich black cherry and dried plum fruit character. An amazing value as well as a nice Father’s day gift.

 

Viña Soledad Tinto 2003 $6.99  This young Tempranillo from D.O.C. Rioja is youthful and bright. Not an oaky wine. Fresh cherry fruit character in a light, unstructured frame. Pairs well with all kinds of lighter fare, including Paella.

 

Viña Soledad Blanco 2004 $6.99 White Rioja made from the Viura grape. This dry white wine offers simple refreshment in a traditional style. An excellent summer white.

 

White Wines:

Barbadillo Palomino Fina 2006 $6.99 The most popular white wine in Spain (known there as Castillo de San Diego) has returned in the new vintage. Made from the local Palomino Fina grapes, blended with a bit of Viura, so I’m told, this young white wine from Cadiz in the south of Spain is refreshingly simple and bright.

 

Viña Godeval 2005 $17.99 This D.O. Valdeorras wine is made from the Godello grape. 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. The Wine Advocate recently reviewed the new vintage, saying ”An intriguing wine made from 100% Godello, the 2005 Vina Godeval exhibits notes of white currants, citrus rind, and spring flowers. With loads of minerals, medium body, and a dry finish, this crisp, impeccably well-made white is a distinctive offering from the oldest producer of Godello in Spain!

 

Red Wines:

Lan Reserva 2000 $14.99 The wines of Bodegas Lan are always reliable and well priced. The new vintage of their mature Reserva spent 12 months in oak followed by 24 months in bottle before sale. Composed of 80% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha and 10% Mazuelo this smooth, elegant wine is a perfect accompaniment to a wide range of rice, potato or bean dishes.

 

Tinto Pesquera 2004 $29.99 A perennial favorite around Father’s Day (and the rest of the year too), the new vintage of Tinto Pesquera is on the shelf and available for purchase at the same price as last vintage (very good news in these inflationary times).  Dr. Jay Miller recently reviewed the wine in The Wine Advocate. He rated it 93 Points, saying “The 2004 Tinto Pesquera (Crianza), from a great vintage, is opaque purple with a fragrant nose of lead pencil, earth, black currants, and blackberry liqueur that jumps from the glass. This is followed by a sexy wine with layered blue and black fruits intertwined with ripe tannins and good acidity. This superb, beautifully balanced effort should evolve for 4-6 years and drink well for another 10-15.

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Sangria

When customers ask me for my favorite Sangria recipe, my customary response is that I try not to think of Sangria as a fixed recipe, but rather as a creative response to the circumstance of the moment. Sangria to me is any combination of wine, fruit and carbonation. Specific ingredients and exact proportions are of secondary importance.

For instance, last night I arrived home to discover that I had all but run out of wine.  I had a glass or two of rosado in the fridge, a half decanter of Portuguese Douro red and the remnants of a sample of new Rioja from last week. The fruit bowl in the kitchen held a few tangerines and a lemon or two along with a handful of cherries and half a basket of strawberries that were on the verge of spoiling.

My wife had also just come home from a hot day spent walking dogs in the Oakland hills (her part time job), and was hoping for a refreshing cocktail to cool her down. She eyed my bits of wine and wilting fruit with skepticism, but I was confident that I could reclaim all this uneaten food from an otherwise sad trip to the compost pile.

First, I poured all the wine into a big terracotta pitcher. Then I sliced up all the fruit and tossed it in with the wine. A few spoonfuls of sugar, the last glass of orange juice from the fridge and a bit of triple sec also went into the pitcher (okay, and a shot of tequila just to see what happened). I mixed everything up with a long wooden spoon and put the pitcher in the refrigerator to macerate for a bit. After an hour, during which time I scrounged up some potatoes and some eggs for a simple Tortilla Española, I filled two tumblers with ice, poured half a glass of soda water in each and topped them off with the wine and fruit from the fridge.

¡Ese! The perfect summer meal appeared seemingly out of thin air. A wedge of moist, warm Tortilla, a simple green salad and a glass or tw0 (or three) of improvised Sangria brought domestic bliss to the home of a hungry, tired couple.

Of course you can also plan ahead for Sangria, and at The Spanish Table we are here to help make it just as simple as can be.

Start with a book, appropriately titled Sangria: Fun and Festive Recipes by Mittie Hellmich ($14.95), that will get your creative juices flowing (so to speak) regarding the wide range of red, white and rosado Sangrias that also include unique flavorings such as fresh basil, rose petals and saffron.

Then get a big earthenware pitcher (available here in a variety of colors and sizes) and a long wooden spoon (ours are made from olive wood).

A quick trip to the produce store will get you whatever fruit is in season (again, use what you find, don’t get hung up on one particular ingredient or another).

And finally, get a couple of bottles of young, fruity wine to give your Sangria a fresh, lively character. Keep reading below for some excellent choices in Sangria wine.

 

Pink Wines:

Tres Ojos Rosado 2006 $7.99 We recently received 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 making Sangria that includes fresh berries in the mix.

 

Floresta Rosado 2005 $7.99 (was $10.99) This gentle rosado from D.O. Emporda-Costa Brava in Northeastern Spain is composed of mostly Garnacha with some Merlot and Cariñena added in for good measure.  Make Sangria with this wine and some white peaches and apricots for a subtle yet refreshing drink.

 

White Wines:

Barbadillo Palomino Fino 2006 $6.99 It’s back! The most popular white wine in Spain has returned in the new vintage. Made from the local Palomino Fino grapes, blended with a bit of Viura so I’m told, this young white wine from Cadiz in the south of Spain is refreshingly simple and bright. Add some melon and citrus and you have the makings of an excellent Sangria blanco.

 

Sur de los Andes Torrontés 2006 $11.99 For an Argentine version of Sangria blanco, try using this ripe, Viognier-like white wine from Mendoza. Rich, floral aromatics and peachy fruit character call out for some stone fruit and sparkling tonic water.

 

Red Wines:

Eguren Tempranillo 2005 $11.99 (1 Liter) My newest candidate for Sangria wine is this Tempranillo from Central Spain. Lively, red cherry fruit character, bright acidity and mellow tannins make this wine enjoyable all by itself, but this big 1 liter bottle inspires me to start slicing fruit and calling friends to come share the bounty.

 

Ique Malbec2005 $11.99 From Enrique Foster in Argentina, this young tank fermented Malbec is ripe and spicy. Eric Asimov recently mentioned the 2004 vintage of this wine in his wine blog for The New York Times, saying “I found this to be a really interesting wine, with aromas of fruit, flowers and licorice, and a really nice earthiness.” I think this would make a fine Sangria when combined with fresh cherries and plums.

 

Paella Class Update

Chef Mike C. at Kitchen On Fire cooking school in Berkeley tells me that registration for my upcoming Paella & Wine cooking class is proceeding nicely and only a few spaces are left. 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 https://www.kitchenonfire.com//course_class.php?class=280. They will be handling all reservations for the class.

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Fire Up The Grill

As we have passed the official beginning of grilling season (Memorial Day) we devote this week’s newsletter to the joys of red wine paired with food cooked over an open flame. Something about this combination really sings. The tannins in the wines accent the smoky flavor in the food, whether it’s grilled beef steak or grilled zucchini. In turn, food on the grill really needs something bold like red wine to stand up to the charred flavors.

In Spain and Morocco, a common feature of the table is a grilled vegetable salad. In “Casa Moro: The Second Cookbook,” ($35.00) the authors, Samuel and Samantha Clark, owners of Moro, the popular restaurant in London that fuses culinary traditions from Spain and the Muslim Mediterranean, feature a grilled aubergine (sounds so much nicer than eggplant) salad mixed with coriander and cumin seeds, tomato, sweet paprika, parsley and lemon juice.

“This cooked aubergine salad is wonderfully intense, not only because of the spice, but also because of the aubergines, which are grilled beforehand for a smoky taste and then slow-cooked to concentrate the flavours,” write the Clarks. This delicious side dish can be prepared ahead of time and is quite a delightful burst of exotic textures and tastes.

The Casa Moro cookbook (many Bay Area chefs have come into the store buying this treasured cookbook as well as the first cookbook, simply called “Moro”) also features Lamb Mechoui with cumin and paprika salt, which the Clarks discovered at a bustling outdoor market in Marrakech. The chops are simply sprinkled with a mixture of cumin, salt and paprika, all grilled over an open flame.

Here are some new arrivals to accompany and inspire your next backyard barbecue:

Arbanta 2005 $10.99 An excellent young Rioja produced from Organic fruit.  Recently rated 89 Points by The Wine Advocate, Jay Miller reviewed the wine, saying “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.

 

Ique Malbec2005 $11.99 From Enrique Foster in Argentina, this young tank fermented Malbec is ripe and spicy. Eric Asimov recently mentioned the 2004 vintage of this wine in his wine blog for The New York Times, saying “I found this to be a really interesting wine, with aromas of fruit, flowers and licorice, and a really nice earthiness.

I think this would make a fine pair with some grilled peppers.

 

Rubens Tempranillo 2005 $11.99 This traditional unfiltered Tempranillo displays youthful character and ripe fruit as well a dry earthy quality that is typical of the La Mancha region where it is produced. Serve Rubens Tempranillo with burgers on the grill to turn the simplest of meals into a sublime experience.

 

Eguren Tempranillo 2005 $11.99 (1 Liter) My newest candidate for Sangria wine is this Tempranillo from Central Spain. Lively, red cherry fruit character, bright acidity and mellow tannins make this wine enjoyable all by itself, but this big 1 liter bottle inspires me to start slicing fruit and calling friends to come share the bounty.

 

Valduero 1999 $14.99, 750ml (was $ 21.99), $39.99, 1.5 Liter (was $55.00) Okay, this one requires a little explaining.

The current vintage of Valduero Crianza, 2001, is delicious. It currently sells for $24.99.

Troy Smith from Bibulous, the importer of Valduero, found a few cases of the 1999 Crianza in his warehouse. As he has moved past the 1999 vintage he offered the remaining cases to us at a very reasonable price. We in turn are selling the wine at a significant discount.

This full-bodied Ribera Del Duero wine displays dark garnet color fading to brick red at the rim. Slightly oxidized aromas of cedar and tobacco blend well with brandied cherry fruit character and fully integrated tannins. The mature flavors in this wine have benefited from several extra years in the bottle.

Give this one lots of air before serving (its gets even better the next day)and you will be rewarded with a deeply layered combination of aromas and flavors that only come from skillfully produced mature wines. Available in magnums as well as regular 750ml bottles.

 

Celeste Crianza 2004 $23.99 The well known Torres winery has been a fixture in the Spanish wine world for many years. In Catalonia, they are one of the predominant wineries, but have never ventured outside the region, until now.

Celeste is the product of significant investment by the Torres group in D.O. Ribera del Duero in Northern Spain. This 100% Tempranillo wine sees 12 months of barrel age prior to bottling. The final result was recently described in The Wine Spectator, where Celeste was rated at 90 Points. They say “This 2004 red is harmonious though a bit brooding, with dark flavors of coffee, anise and black plum backed by firm tannins. Mineral and smoke notes linger on the finish. Drink now through 2012.

 

Clio 2004 $44.99 It’s back! Everybody’s favorite cult wine from D.O. Jumilla is making a second appearance in our market. We just received four more 6 packs of this highly sought after Monastrell wine. In case you are wondering what the fuss is all about, I refer you to Jay Miller’s review in the March 2007 issue of The Wine Advocate, where he rated Clio at 97 Points.

The consulting winemaker at Bodegas El Nido is Chris Ringland of Barossa Valley fame. The 2004 Clio is 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 70% Monastrell (from 63-year-old vines) which received malolactic fermentation in new oak followed by 26 months of aging in new French and American barriques. A glass-coating opaque purple, it exhibits a sensational nose of earth, mushroom, leather, blueberry, and blackberry jam. On the palate the wine is supple-textured, complex, with vibrant flavors of spicy blue and black fruits and a big-time WOW factor. This is a totally hedonistic effort with exceptional length and balance. It is remarkably light on its feet for such a powerful wine.

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