Join us in Mill Valley Thursday, August 4th as we taste through the full spectrum of Madeira styles – from dry to sweet. Madeira is probably theleast-known category of wine here at the store, which is a shame, as they’re fabulous both at the start of a meal and with desserts. Manny Berk, truly an expert on Madeira, will be on-hand to educate us on these varied and unique wines. He has re-published Noel Cossart’s, “Madeira – An Island Vineyard”, which details the fascinating history of Madeira with notes on vintages, special tastings, etc. (Tasting fee includes a copy of the book.) We’ll set out a variety of cheeses and other snacks that will pair nicely with the wines. There is a lot of interest in this tasting, and space is limited. For more information or to reserve a spot, please call the Mill Valley store: (415) 388-5043)
Joe’s Wine News:
2008 Primitivo Quiles Cono 4
This is one of the oldest wineries in Alicante and is famous for their amazing 1948 Fondillon and Raspay. The Cono 4 is a new, younger monastrell that is very tasty. Floral blackberry, rose, cracked pepper, and a touch of chocolate on the finish. Great balance and acidity, to boot. A tremendous value wine at $11.99.
2010 Valduero Yunquera Albillo
Best known as a producer of excellent red wines, Bodegas Valduero also makes one white wine from a little known grape called Albillo. Just 2 % of the estate vineyards at Bodegas Valduero are planted to Albillo.
Yunquera is made from 100% Albillo fermented in stainless steel and allowed to rest on its lees to give the wine weight and textural richness. It displays citrus blossom aroma with additional notes of fresh green herbs, petrol and bees wax on a firm mineral foundation. The golden color makes me think of this as a perfect white wine for cooler weather and richer meals. $16.99
We are receiving numerous new white wines in the 2010 vintage, among them several fabulous Albariño wines from the coastal Rías Baixas region in Galicia. Here are just a few suggestions to get you going:
2010 Pazo Señorans Albariño
The 2010 Pazo Señorans is a standard setting example for top quality Albariño. The interplay of floral aromas and flinty minerality creates an intriguing and refreshing expression of Galician soil and climate. Hints of tropical fruit, green herbs, and granite dust add to the rich complexity of this wine. An ideal pairing is seafood (of course!). Try it with a salad topped with broad flakes of ventresca tuna or, the Spanish favorite, some braised pulpo (octopus) with pimenton and potatoes. $22.99
2010 Igrexario de Saiar Albariño
Benito Santos is a small producer from Rias Baixas that focuses on natural winemaking and on highlighting the unique terroir of the region. All of the wines are certified organic and are hand crafted, using native yeasts and very little manipulation. The 2010 Igrexario de Saiar Albariño is ripe and balanced, with notes of peaches, green apples, white flowers, and tropical fruit. It’s soft texture is countered by great acid that keeps the flavors fresh and lively. $17.99
2010 Sete Cepas Albariño
Sete Cepas is a fresh, young 100% Albariño wine that really delivers on quality at a very reasonable price. The most striking feature of this wine is its finely tuned balance of bright, lively fruit character set against a background of flinty minerality. This combination is found in all the best wines from the Rías Baixas region. The mental image it conjures up is of freshly sliced grapefruit served on a bed of crushed seashells. This wine will surely be a contender for most popular white wine of the summer. $13.99
The start of summer grilling season is here and cooking over a fire is thirsty work so make sure you have plenty of refreshing Spanish and Portuguese beer on hand. Beer makes a wonderful accompaniment to cooking, even if you have plans to drink wine with the meal (when visiting the Bodegas in Spain the winemakers always say “Before we try the wines, would you like a beer?”). We have a new reach-in refrigerator in Berkeley so now we are keeping all the beer cold and ready to drink. Here are a few suggestions to get you going:
Sagres is the most popular beer in Portugal. This lager style beer is refreshing and crisp. It features predominantly at the various Portuguese festas that take place all across California in the summer and is almost mandatory if you are grilling up some fresh sardines in the Portuguese style. Available in 6 packs of glass bottles or single half liter cans.
Catalunya’s largest brewery, Damm, recently released a new beer designed by Chef Ferran Adria and his team of sommeliers from El Bulli restaurant. The end result of two years of experimentation is Estrella Damm Inedit. Made in a style resembling Belgian wit beers or one of our domestic hefeweizen wheat beers, Inedit is a cloudy amber color with creamy texture and yeasty flavor adding context to lightly spicy notes of citrus peel, coriander and clove. Craft brew lovers will appreciate this unique style of Spanish beer sold in full sized 750 ml bottles.
Daura is the gluten free version of Estrella Damm. This golden lager style beer, made with barley instead of wheat, is crisp and refreshing. It currently holds the title of “best gluten free beer in the world”. Try it with your favorite tapas for a refreshing taste of Catalunya. 4 packs of 11.2 oz bottles.
This week marks the dual religious holidays of Passover and Easter. Be it shank bone or roasted leg, lamb will be on the menu at many homes this week. Families will gather, dinner will be served and wine drinking will occur. This is what traditions are all about. To help with your personal spring rituals we have some suggestions for Spanish wines that will be perfectly matched to the season. We can offer you a couple of stellar red kosher wines from the Montsant region in Catalonia. We also have numerous options for wines from Ribera del Duero. They eat abundant quantities of lamb in Ribera del Duero and their wines pair extremely well with lamb in all its guises. Of course we have an ever growing selection of rosé wines from Spain and Portugal too, just in time for springtime sipping. Come let us show you how truly exciting a time it is in our wine department. You are sure to find something you will enjoy.
2005 Capcanes Peraj Ha’abib Capcanes is famed for their Kosher wine Peraj Ha abib, also known as the Flor de Primavera. We’ve been trying to get it here in CA for over 5 years and finally managed to secure a few bottles of the 2005 vintage. It received 91 points from Spain’s most respected wine reviewer Penin. He states that an expressive nose of ripe fruit, wood and kirsch liqueur. Full-bodied and flavorful with a complex, dense, spicy and complete wine with firm tannins. This is a serious wine for any wine drinker and without a doubt the best Kosher wine I have ever tried.
2007 Capcanes Peraj Petita The Capcanes Peraj Petita is the younger brother to their famed Flor de Primavera. This is has brighter red fruit, a hint of purple flowers, a quick shake of cracked pepper and nice mineral notes on the back end. 60% Garnacha and some Tempranillo and Samso (Carinena).
2004 Protos Crianza Protos, founded in 1927, was making wine for decades before the Ribera del Duero region even had a name. Recognized by traditionalists as one of the names they remember from back in the day, this winery still produces earthy, expressive wines that express classic Spanish character. Slow maturation in oak casks gives these wines firm foundational structure and great longevity. The 2004 Protos Crianza spent 14 months in French and American oak before bottling, with an additional 12 months in bottle before release. Composed of 100% Tinto Fino from the excellent 2004 vintage, this rich, expressive wine will age beautifully for many years to come, but may be enjoyed right away if allowed to breath a bit before service. Dark berry fruit character adds context to earthy notes of trail dust and saddle leather.
2005 Federico Crianza Federico Fernandez (brother of Alejandro Fernandez of Pesquera fame) runs a small winery in Ribera del Duero. Bodegas Federico uses all estate fruit from 70 hectares of old vine Tinto Fino. Federico Crianza spends 12 months in barrel and several years in bottle before release. The tannins are substantial and chalky when the wine is first opened. With air the wine reveals a core of trail dust, saddle leather, black cherry fruit and an intriguing gamey note on the finish.
2010 Ameztoi Rubentis We have been a champion of this distinctive pink Txakoli since its introduction a few years ago. This Basque wine, made in the town of Getaria along the coast near San Sebastian is lean and mineral with just a whiff of unripe strawberry aroma. This tart, spritzy rosado is much in demand and hard to find in retail shops. Our supply is very limited, making Ameztoi Rubentis a short lived opportunity, so act now or be disappointed.
This weekend marks the return of Daylight Savings Time. Now is the moment to celebrate the return of evening sunshine and the impending arrival of Spring. Reset your internal wine clock with a glass of fresh, bright Spanish white wine and toast the upcoming vernal equinox.
While best known for red wines, it is no longer a secret that Spain makes fabulous white wines too. We continue to find new and interesting choices among the ever growing selection of vino blanco coming out of numerous regions spread across the Iberian peninsula. We just posted a handful of spectacular Spanish white wines on our website. These wines represent a broad swath of Northern Spain, from the Atlantic coast, up through Basque country, across the Spanish Meseta and finishing up in Catalonia near Barcelona. These crisp, refreshing wines are eminently food friendly and also delicious by the glass with no further accompaniments other than a bit of sunshine and some good conversation.
2009 Albet i Noya Xarel-lo Classic is a bright, refreshing Spanish white wine from the Penedes region in Catalonia. This wine features the Xarel-lo grape most often used in sparkling Cava. Albet i Noya makes this still version of a varietal Xarel-lo from from old vine parcels of Xarel-lo, grown organically. Floral aromas blend well with lemon and white peach fruit character. Background minerality and light texture add further context to this young white wine that pairs well with young cheeses, marinated vegetables and cold seafood salads.
The 2009 Pazo Senorans Albarino is a standard setting example of top quality Albarino. The interplay of floral aromas and flinty minerality creates an intriguing and refreshing expression of Galician soil and climate. Hints of tropical fruit, green herbs, and granite dust add to the rich complexity of this wine. An ideal pairing is seafood (of course!). Try it with a salad topped with broad flakes of ventresca tuna or, the Spanish favorite, some pulpo (octopus) with pimenton.
2009 Urki Txakolina is a deliciously refreshing white wine from the Basque country. Crisp, bright, white Txakolina wine with a bit of residual spritzy effervescence, abundant grapefruit/lemon notes and a firm mineral foundation is what everybody drinks while wandering through the old part of San Sebastian snacking on Pintxos of many varieties. Urki is an excellent example of this traditional wine. It refreshes the palate and awakens the appetite.
2007 Pecina Blanco is a wonderfully traditional white Rioja. Hermanos Pecina are one of only a handful of producers left in Rioja who produce their wines in this very traditional style. Made from 100% Viura, the juice is fermented in stainless steel but then allowed to age for a few years in bottle before release. The extra time gives it a bit more richness along with notes of dried tropical fruit and herbs. Totally unique and totally delicious. Fans of the Lopez de Heredia whites take notice!
We just received a small batch of some of Rioja’s most delicious Gran Reservas. Four outstanding vintages of Montecillo’s Gran Reserva are now available as a set for $130. The owners of the Spanish Table have called this collection “One of the best values we’ve come across since we opened The Spanish Table”. The full set makes a remarkable gift (say, for a 50th birthday…). We are also offering them individually.
These traditional, clasically styled wines may be enjoyed right away or cellared for years to come but they will sell out before we can get them on the web site so to order, call us at 510-548-1383.
1981 – Reg $95, Now $50: Impressive liveliness in this 30 year old wine. Notes of balsamic, dried cherry and cigar box – elegant with silky tannins.
1982 – Reg $100, Now $60: Exhibits nuance and impressive complexity. Vibrant and savory, with notes of smoke, mushroom, leather.
1985 – Reg $80, Now $45: Seemed to be the lightest wine of the four, but it gradually opened up with decanting and was even better the following day. Make sure to decant this an hour before enjoying.
1991 – Reg $75, Now $40 – Still very young with expressive bright fruit and beautiful taut balance. Plenty of life ahead for this wine.
Portuguese lunch & wine tasting
Sunday March 20th, 2011 2 pm
Come spend a Sunday afternoon in the country at La Salette Portuguese restaurant in Sonoma where chef Manuel Azevedo will prepare a traditional meal of Sopas (braised beef in a minted broth with cabbage, bread and sweet potato), a traditional food of local Portuguese festas. An appetizer precedes the Sopas followed by a traditional Portuguese dessert.
The meal is accompanied by a tasting of four Portuguese wines. Notes on all the wines and the food will be available during the lunch as well as the opportunity to buy the wines through The Spanish Table after the event at discounted prices.
Registration and details can be found here:
|“It is the nature of desire not to be satisfied”.
That famous line from Aristotle is never more true than in the wine world where opinions and perceptions are in constant flux. The popularity of certain wines and various styles of winemaking change with the times, always in response to the desires of the wine drinking public.
Not so long ago rosado wines were considered by many to be sweet, simple, silly wines for summertime picnics. In just the last few years this perception has shifted dramatically. At The Spanish Table we now stock rosado all year long, in a variety of styles from numerous regions in Spain and Portugal. They range in hue from pale coral to ripe watermelon and express a spectrum of aromas and flavors. They can be dry or fruity, floral or mineral, ripe or lean.
Here are a few suggestions to dovetail with the arrival of Valentine’s Day. These are all fabulous representations of the broad range of exceptional pink wines available today at The Spanish Table. Try one of these with a special someone for a memorable Valentine’s Day experience.
2009 Gran Feudo Rosado
Bodegas Julian Chivite’s Gran Feudo Rosado is a classic Navarra region rosado.. It is a popular favorite in Spain as well as here in the USA. Made from all Garnacha grapes, this traditionally styled wine displays strawberry and watermelon aromas with bright acidity and a touch of minerality to tie everything together. This lightly fruity rosado wine makes for some classic Spanish refreshment.
2009 Gurrutxaga Rosado
An alternative to traditional white Txakoli, Gurrutxaga also comes in this rosado version that uses the red Hondarribi Beltza grape to produce a very dry pink wine that expresses the barest hint of strawberry fruit character. Chill this and serve as you would a traditional Txakoli. You will be surprised how quickly this low alcohol wine disappears.
Raventos de Nit Rosado Cava
Raventos i Blanc is a true pioneer of Cava production (this family winery was making sparkling wine before the name Cava existed). Their new vintage rosado cava is phenomenal. Adding 15% Monastrell to the traditional cava blend of Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel-lo tints the wine with the palest pink hue. Fine bubbles lift the yeasty brioche aroma from the glass. The barest hint of strawberry flavor adds context to the dry, crisp, pinpoint precise style that Raventos i Blanc is known for.
Mont Ferrant Brut Rosado Cava
This rosado cava is a deliciously berry scented yet still dry and refreshing cava that not only looks great in the glass but also offers up classic cava aroma and flavor at a reasonable price. Mont Ferrant Brut Rosado is blend of Garnacha & Monastrell. Darker than many this has a huge following in both stores. Bright strawberry and blackberry flavors, with notes of toast, tangerine and a creamy mousse on the palate.
Our selection of pink wines include several crowd pleasing options from Portugal. These uniquely delicious wines will add a distinctive note to festive meals and get togethers.
Casal Garcia Vinho Verde Rosé
Aveleda recently released this pink version of their most popular brand, Casal Garcia. Low alcohol and light effervescence are reminiscent of traditional white Vinho Verde. The pale pink hue and light berry aroma are a nice change of pace from the regular version. This spritzy, lightly fruity wine makes a wonderful start to a festive brunch or dinner party.
Luis Pato Espumante Rosé
Luis Pato, famous in Portugal for his bold red wines made from the indigenous Baga grape, has turned his attention to this unusual sparkling Baga rosé. To produce this wine the grapes are harvested about six weeks early, which means that they have high acidity and low sugars, perfect for a refreshing sparkling wine. It shows pale watermelon color and flavors of tart cherries, pink grapefruit and the trademark earthiness and spice of Portuguese red wines. All of these flavors are balanced out by bright acidity and foundational minerality.