Did you see the interesting article last week in the (soon to be extinct) SF Chronicle Friday wine section? Jon Bonné wrote a nice piece on Sherry and the current resurgence of Sherry based cocktails. He quotes Andy Booth (one of the owners of The Spanish Table) but neglects to mention that The Spanish Table has the most extensive collection of Jerez wine in the Bay Area. The article also quotes Felipe Gonzalez-Gordon, the great-great grand son of Manuel Maria Gonzalez who founded the iconic Gonzalez-Byass winery best known for Tio Pepe Fino. Felipe was in town a few weeks ago and was the congenial and informative special guest at a Jerez dinner put on by The Spanish Table at César in Oakland. If you missed the dinner (don’t worry, we’ll do more events like that in the months ahead) we have some of the wines from the event listed this week in the wine notes below, as well as some of the favorites listed in the Chronicle article.
Happily, the rain has returned to the Bay Area, lending more credence to my ceaseless chatter about food and wine for winter. Coinciding with the return of colder/wetter weather are some new arrivals here that are particularly appropriate to the season. In addition to the previously mentioned Jerez wines we have a few bold, expressive red wines that will compliment slow cooked meat and/or vegetable stews and other seasonal fare.
Paella Class: I mentioned last week (and it bears repeating) that the first paella and wine class of the year is coming up at Kitchen on Fire cooking school here in Berkeley. The date is Monday February 23rd at 6:30 pm. The cost is $65 per person and includes hands-on instruction to create several tapas and a large paella mixta, all of which will be consumed during the class. Several paella-friendly Spanish wines will also be sampled. Kitchen on Fire is handling the signup for this fun and popular class. Go to their website for more details.
Cyan Crianza 2002 This textbook Toro displays dark garnet color, dense texture and heady aromas of black coffee, cherry brandy and tannic oak. The flavor is ripe and bold, with black cherry fruit character and notes of cocoa powder and coffee bean on the finish. Made from the fruit of 20-30 year old Tinto de Toro vines, this wine normally sells for $21.99 but is now available for $14.99.
Aresan Roble 2002 This wine is a blend of Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon. The estate grown fruit is harvested by hand and carefully sorted before crushing and fermentation. After three months of barrel age, the wine is bottled and put back in the cellar to rest for a year before shipment to market. Aresan Roble is a bold wine that displays dark color, aromas of cigar box and ripe berries, rich fruit character and earthy tannins. The wine starts out firm and structured, becoming more elegant and complex as it opens. $16.99
Penya Cadiella 2004 Here’s a big, ripe, expressive blend of Tempranillo, Monastrell and Cabernet Sauvignon, lightly oaked (6 months) and ready to drink. If you have enjoyed the Monastrell wines from Jumilla, Valencia or Alicante then this will be familiar to you. We have just a few bottles left of this vintage which are discounted off of the normal $17.99 price. $14.99
Tio Pepe (375ml) Sure, I know that Tio Pepe is the world’s best loved Fino Sherry, but I just added the small 37s ml bottles to our collection (why didn’t I do this long ago?) and want to let everyone know that this bracingly dry, crisp, nutty wine is now available in a dinner-for-two size. $8.99 (375ml)
Gonzalez Byass Alfonso Oloroso The big hit of our recent Gonzalez-Byass wine dinner, this mahogany colored oloroso sherry is nutty and rich, with just the barest hint of raisin-like fruit character. Serve this wine with a cheese plate or all by itself as a warming after dinner cocktail. $16.99
Barbadillo San Rafael Oloroso Dulce Jon Bonné described this wine quite well in his recent article on Sherry in the San Francisco Chronicle. He said: “Most sweetened olorosos are simply known as cream, but a few still label themselves as amoroso, including this dramatic, delicious bottle. Tart, leathery scents of crushed toffee candy and stones, with a molasses sweetness cut through by the sharp tang of long-aged sherry.” $19.99