Tag Archives: carro

Back to School?

It’s that time again.

Hey, wait a minute.  Is it really “that time again” already? I keep flipping the pages of my wall calendar back and forth between August and September trying fruitlessly to shake loose a few more weeks of summer and wondering where the days went.

Yes, it really is “that time again”, arriving a bit early this year, but the changes in Berkeley (a college town at heart) are already evident.  University professors and staff are gearing up for the fall semester. Campus residence halls are abuzz with activity as new students arrive laden with personal possessions. In the morning, grade school and high school students trudge past my window on their way from home to class and back again in the afternoon, dragging rolling luggage filled with books and homework behind them. In the early evening my local park swells with crowds of young boys at football practice, sprinting back and forth in unison to the short repeated bursts from the coach’s whistle. No question about it, school is back in session.

Wine, of course, knows no season, and while some wines are better with summer meals and others are more suited to winter fare, new and delicious wines (and beer) continue to arrive at The Spanish Table year round.  

In case you have been elsewhere lately and may have missed out on some of the recent new products at The Spanish Table we are playing catch up this week with some highlights from our recent acquisitions.

Here too is an easy plan, not even a recipe, for a simple meal that needs no cooking and tastes best served on an overturned packing box or on the tailgate of your truck.

Welcome back everybody!

 

Kevin’s Moving Day Spanish Picnic

(Serves 4)

 

1 Palacios Spanish dry cured chorizo

¼ lb. sliced Redondo Iglesias Serrano ham

½ lb. Don Alonso Aged Manchego Cheese

1 jar The Spanish Table Lemon Olives

1 jar Matiz Piparras pickled green peppers

1 jar Ferrer Gazpacho

1 sml.  Arte Oliva Ali Oli

1 large bottle Vichy Catalan sparkling mineral water

1 bottle Muga Rosado wine

 

Slice the chorizo thinly on the bias. Tear the pre-sliced ham into rustic bite sized bits. Slice the cheese into thin triangles. Splash the olives and peppers out into a bowl, mixed together.  The gazpacho is ready to go, just serve it chilled with bread and Ali Oli on the side. Crisp, cold rosado and salty, sparkling mineral water satisfy your thirst. ¡Salud!

 

Cerveza:

Jerome Cerveza Roja $4.99

Jerome Cerveza Negra $4.99

Named after the family German shepherd (who’s profile is featured prominently on the label) Jerome Brewing Company is a pioneer in the production of small batch (and I mean really small, as in 5 barrels a day) Argentine ales. Using pure Andean water and top quality ingredients, this small company shows that Argentina’s wine renaissance is spreading to the beer market too. We currently carry the Roja, a bold, hoppy ale that reminds me of some of our local bay Area brews, as well as the Negra, a dark and creamy version of a British stout.

 

Vino Rosado:

Muga Rosado 2006 $12.99 From one of our favorite D.O.C. Rioja wineries, Bodegas Muga, comes one of the best rosado wines of the summer. This pale, salmon colored blend of Garnacha, Tempranillo and Viura makes a wonderful companion to lighter food as well as being supremely refreshing on a hot afternoon.

 

Artazuri Rosado 2006 $12.99 This dry rosado is made from 100% Garnacha grapes grown in the high altitude vineyards of D.O. Navarra, the traditional home of Spanish rosado. This perennial customer favorite displays gentle fresh berry scent along with a bright citrus fruit character. The finely detailed aromas and flavors blend effortlessly in this excellent summertime wine.

 

Vino Blanco:

Avinyó Vi D’Agulla 2006 $12.99 This lightly effervescent white wine made from Petit Grain Muscat is floral and aromatic like a Moscatel, but the flavor is dry and grapefruity. The assertive 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.

 

Oreka 2006 $19.99 Our newest Txakoli wine from the Basque lands in Northern Spain is a stunner. Oreka (a Basque word that roughly translates as ‘balance’) is made from the indigenous Hondaribbi Zuri grape.  Richer and more abundantly fruity than the rather lean and mineral wines that are typical of this windswept coastal region, Oreka displays slight spritzy effervescence and a firm mineral foundation overlaid with flavors of grapefruit and quince.

 

Uriondo Txakoli 2006 $14.99 This wine is from D.O. Bizkaiko Txakolina, near Bilbao. Unlike the coastal D.O. Getariako Txakolina wines that are made from the Hondaribbi Zuri grape, Uriondo is composed of a blend of 70% Mune Mahatsa and  30% Txori Mahatsa (say that five times fast). Less spritzy than most Txakoli wines, with riper fruit character and less assertive minerality.

 

Abad Dom Bueno Godello 2006 $16.99 D.O. Bierzo is known primarily as a red wine region, but this Bierzo region white wine is made from the local Godello grape that is more common in neighboring D.O. Valdeorras.  This yellow gold colored wine is fermented in temperature controlled tanks that preserve all the fresh citrus and melon aromas that are typical of the Godello grape. Bright acidity adds to the refreshing quality that makes this such a perfect accompaniment to composed salads, pasta or poultry as well as a full range of seafood.

 

Soalheiro Vinho Verde 2006 $21.99 Typically, Vinho Verde is light, spritzy and simple non-vintage white Portuguese wine. These days, as people discover the joys of Vinho Verde we are seeing more and more higher priced wines from this region. Soalheiro is a vintage wine produced from the Alvarinho (Albariño in Spain = Alvarinho in Portugal) grape. Well known in Portugal as a top shelf Vinho Verde, this wine is just starting to find a market here in the USA. Flinty mineral background lays a foundation for light floral aroma and bright citrus fruit character. This finely detailed and multi-layered wine cries out for choriço and clams, salt cod and potatoes or other such traditional Portuguese fare.

 

Vino Tinto:

Carro Tinto 2006 $10.99 The new vintage of this popular red wine from D.O. Yecla has just arrived. Composed of a blend of a blend of 50% Monastrell, 20% Syrah, 20% Tempranillo and 10% Merlot, this easy drinking red will add spice and contrast to your next backyard cookout. Dark, bold and fruity with intriguing flinty background flavor.

 

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.

 

Cune Crianza 2004 $17.99 If you go to Rioja and walk into any small bar and request a glass of vino tinto, chances are you will be served this wine. This blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Mazuelo is aged for two years (12 months in American oak barrels and 12 months in the bottle) before sale. The 2004 vintage shows dark garnet color with black cherry fruit character and balanced oaky tannins that combine to create a picture perfect example of crianza Rioja.

 

Can Blau 2005 $17.99 This D.O. Montsant wine has been getting lots of positive feedback from customers.  Josh Raynolds reviewed this blend of 50% Cariñena, 35% Syrah and 15% Garnacha wine for Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar and rated it 90 Points. His description matches mine, but his wording is better. He said: “Bright ruby. Focused, fresh and brisk on the nose, with energetic cherry and candied licorice aromas. Intense mineral notes add complexity and depth to the explosive blackberry and cherry fruit, with notes of candied violet and rose coming up on the back. Finishes with superb intensity and length. An excellent value, and built for cellaring.

 

Luigi Bosca Reserva Malbec 2003 $21.99  From one of the oldest wineries in Argentina we recently received this 100% Malbec wine sourced from estate vineyards located in the prestigious Lujan de Cuyo district of Mendoza.  This finely balanced wine displays the dark color and ripe aroma of a typical Malbec, but the mid-weight tannins and the multi-layered aromas and flavors here are sophisticated and well tuned. This is one of the best Malbec wines I have tasted so far.

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Filed under Argentina, beer, Portugal, Recipes, Red Wine, rosado, Spain, White Wine

Montecillo and More

“Where should I start?” is a common question shoppers ask when faced with literally hundreds of choices in our wine department.

We are proud of our unique selections at The Spanish Table, but newcomers can get overwhelmed by the sheer number of wines and other products, few of them familiar to those who grew up outside of Spain. Even our expatriate Spaniards can find unique and unfamiliar wines from the new wineries that are popping up all across Spain like mushrooms after a spring rain.

So, for those of you who are still wondering what the big deal is with all these Spanish wines you keep hearing about, continue reading (actually, everyone should continue reading, even the true Spanish wine aficionados, because the excellent values may well get you to re-try an old favorite or two).

If you are searching for a new favorite white wine, look no further than our newest Basque Txakoli or this week’s latest Galician Albariño. If your appetite yearns for a new wine to liven up a traditional back yard cookout, then you owe it to yourself to try the new vintage of one of our more popular young red wines from D.O. Yecla on the Spanish Mediterranean coast. For an excellent introduction to the wines of Rioja, check out our new promotion featuring the wines of Bodegas Montecillo. 

Located in the Rioja Alta town of Fuenmayor, Bodegas Montecillo has roots that stretch back to the early glory days of Rioja. Founded in 1874, this winery has crafted traditional Rioja wines for over a century. Now owned by the large Grupo Osborne (the same Osborne that decorates the Spanish roadside with immense cutout silhouettes of their trademark black bull), Montecillo continues to make young white and aged red wines of consistently excellent quality thanks to the tireless efforts of Maria Martinez Sierra.

At her post for over thirty years, Señora Martinez Sierra is a very talented and well respected winemaker. She buys the best fruit (Montecillo owns no vineyards) each season for the wines, elaborating all the red wines with varying amounts of time in French oak barrels. Her preference for bought, rather than estate grown fruit allows her to skip a vintage if the primary material is not up to her quality standards. She uses only French oak to age the wines as she feels it gives a more balanced character to the wine than American oak.  She insists that Montecillo red wines are all 100 % Tempranillo, unblended with any other varieties, a rare practice in a region where this primary grape  can be a bit thin and pallid without a boost from darker and riper varieties such as Mazuelo, Graciano or Garnacha, the traditional blending grapes of the region.

Montecillo wines are excellent examples of delicious and well priced Rioja. For a few weeks we will be selling the remaining supply of the current vintages at significantly reduced prices.

To accompany these wines I suggest a typical regional dish known as Patatas A La Riojana.

 

Patatas A La Riojana (adapted from My Kitchen In Spain by Janet Mendel, $14.99)

(serves 4 as a first course)

 

3 pounds potatoes (Russet, Yukon Gold or Yellow Finn work well)

¼ cup Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 medium sized onion

1 medium sized green pepper

1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika

1 bay leaf

2 teaspoon salt

1 lb. Doña Juana brand Chorizo Riojano

2 cups water

 

Peel the potatoes and break them into medium sized chunks by inserting a fork and twisting (breaking the potatoes rather than slicing releases more starch and gives an interesting texture).

Dice pepper and onion into ½ inch pieces.

Heat olive oil in earthenware olla (lidded soup pot).

Add onion and pepper to the pot with 1 teaspoon of salt, Fry for a few minutes until softened.

Slice chorizo into bite sized pieces and add to pot. Fry Chorizo until slightly browned.

Add the chunked potatoes, water, paprika, remaining salt and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.

Cook slowly until potatoes are fully cooked and starting to fall apart. There should be enough liquid left to create a starchy broth.

Turn off heat and let rest for 10 minutes. Adjust salt to taste. Remove bay leaf before serving.

 

 

Vino Blanco:

Montecillo Blanco 2005 $7.99 (was $10.99) Pale yellow with green reflections. 100% Viura grapes (the traditional white grape of Rioja) fermented without the use of oak barrels. Abundant melon and pear aroma and flavor, crisp acidity and background notes of tarragon and beeswax.

 

Oreka 2006 $19.99 Our newest Txakoli wine from the Basque lands in Northern Spain is a stunner. Oreka (a Basque word that roughly translates as ‘balance’) is made from the indigenous Hondaribbi Zuri grape.  Richer and more abundantly fruity than the rather lean and mineral wines that are typical of this windswept coastal region, Oreka displays slight spritzy effervescence and a firm mineral foundation overlaid with flavors of grapefruit and quince.

 

Nessa Albariño 2006 $14.99 Our newest Albariño is from Adegas Gran Vinum in D.O. Rías Baixas on the Atlantic coast of Spain. Those of you who are familiar with the varietal will be happy to find such a well priced offering and those who have yet to try this refreshing Spanish white wine will be excited by the crisply bright flavors. Josh Raynolds recently reviewed this wine for Steven Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar. He summed the wine up nicely.

Light yellow. Spicy citrus and pear aromas are brightened by white flowers and ginger. Racy, precise and pleasingly bitter, with strong lemon zest and pear skin flavors. This tightly wound albarino shows a lively, persistent finish. A very good value and a great choice for summer guzzling.  88 points.

 

Vino Tinto:

Carro Tinto 2006 $10.99 The new vintage of this popular red wine from D.O. Yecla has just arrived. Composed of a blend of a blend of 50% Monastrell, 20% Syrah, 20% Tempranillo and 10% Merlot, this easy drinking red will add spice and contrast to your next backyard cookout. Dark, bold and fruity with intriguing flinty background flavor.

 

Montecillo Crianza 2003 $8.99 (was $11.99) Made from 100% Tempranillo fruit, aged for 12 months in French oak before bottling. Dark ruby color with initial oaky aroma that gives way to rich cherry and blackberry fruit character. Savory background flavors of minerals and tannic oak.

 

Montecillo Reserva 2001 $15.99 (was $20.99) Made from 100% Tempranillo fruit, aged for 18 months prior to bottling. Dark garnet color with ruby reflections. Bold aromas of black cherry and minerals. Smooth, elegant texture. Flavors of plum and blackberry. An opulent wine from an excellent vintage. Mature and ready to drink now, but with cellaring potential for at least 3 – 8 more years.

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Filed under Recipes, Red Wine, Spain, White Wine