Tag Archives: siete

Even More New Stuff

I have been keeping this newsletter brief in recent weeks due to the new wines arriving here all the time. I know that many of you enjoy the recipes that often come with the wine news and I want to reassure you that I will be sharing more of these in the weeks ahead. At present I am taking time to attend the many trade tastings that give wine buyers such as me the opportunity to see what lies ahead for the coming year. This week alone I will taste over one hundred Portuguese wines at Viniportugal and dozens of Spanish wines at the Spanish Cellar & Pantry event. Last week I got to work my way through hundreds of selections at the portfolio tasting for celebrated importer Eric Solomon (more on this below). Aside from purple teeth and stained shirts (white is a bad color to wear to a wine tasting) I come away from these events with a clearer sense of what to share with you, our customers, in the weeks and months ahead. For only by tasting many, many wines do we come up with the select few products that you will find at The Spanish Table. So for now, check out the new arrivals from Eric Solomon and José Pastor. These two importers of excellent Spanish wines are (each in their own distinct way) bringing in some truly special and exciting wines that deserve your attention.

German Gilabert Cava $14.99 No, this is not a wine from Germany. Importer José Pastor has re-purposed the less used parts of his name (José German Pastor Gilabert – honest, he showed me his drivers license) to christen the first Cava to be included in his privately labeled Vinos de Terruños brand. This blend of traditional Cava grapes (Xarel-lo, Macabeo, Parellada) is as crisp and clean as freshly ironed linen. Organically grown fruit from the village of Santa Fe del Penedès is aged on its lees for 16 months with zero dosage, producing a dry, toasty assertively bubbly wine for drinking as a cocktail or with food.

Siete 2007 $12.99 This blend of Garnacha and Tempranillo from the Navarra region of northern Spain made its first appearance last year in the inaugural vintage of the Vinos de Terruños brand from Jose Pastor. The fruit is organically farmed and the wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks, not oak barrels, to render the maximum of fruit character unobscured by oaky tannins. This sophomore edition of Siete is true to the style established last vintage and is one of the most popular of the Vinos de Terruños wines.

Tajinaste Blanco 2006 $14.99 This interesting white wine, our first from the Canary Islands, is back in stock. Made from the local Listán Blanco grape grown in volcanic soils at high elevation on the island of Tenerife, pale straw color and mineral foundation frame aromas of white peach and lemon zest. This gentle yet lean white will compliment subtly flavored vegetable dishes and cold seafood appetizers.

Mas Alta Artigas 2005 $38.99 Bodegas Mas Alta is a joint project of an American, importer Eric Solomon and two Frenchmen, negociant Michel Tardieu and enologist Philippe Cambie. The small production wines from these three well known names were some of my favorites at the recent Eric Solomon Selections portfolio tasting. Artigas is composed of 65% Garnacha and 35% Cariñena grown in the rocky slate/schist of the Priorat region of Catalunya. This opaque amethyst colored wine displays the best elements of Priorat, including abundantly ripe dark berry fruit character interwoven with notes of wild herbs and minerals. Decant for immediate enjoyment or cellar for several years before drinking.

Mas Alta La Basseta 2005 $84.00 My favorite of the Mas Alta wines is this blend of old vine Garnacha, Cariñena and Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is aged in a combination of new and used oak for 16 months prior to bottling. Blackberry liqueur, wild herbs and rocky minerality benefit from the added structure and tannins coming from the Cabernet Sauvignon and the oak barrel ageing. Bold and ripe at present, this wine has a long life ahead of it. Keep this wine in the cellar for a few years and then enjoy it at any time over the following decade.

Artadi El Pisón 2005 $184.00 Bodegas Artadi, one of the best wineries in Rioja Alavesa is known for producing 100% Tempranillo wines of stellar quality. El Pisón, the flagship wine of this bodega, is deeply nuanced and complex yet light as a feather on the palate. Somewhat muted at present, this wine will reveal itself in all its silky glory to those with the patience to wait three or four years before enjoying it. This famous wine (98 points Wine Advocate, 95 points International Wine Cellar) is produced in very small quantities. We have just a few bottles in stock so do act fast to secure a bottle for your cellar.

 

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Filed under Red Wine, Spain, Sparkling Wine, White Wine

Holiday Wines, Version 1.2.1

This week finds us in a brief lull, an intermission if you will, in the holiday frenzy.

With Thanksgiving all finished except for the leftovers, everyone takes a quick breather before heading into the whirlwind of holiday office parties, extravagant meals, traveling to see family and/or having family travel to see (and stay) with you.  In this brief in-between period (just barely a week) I want to share some newly arrived wines with you that will ease you into the rest of the holiday season in style, as well as leaving you with plenty of funds for gifts, decorations and other seasonal accoutrements.

Here in the Berkeley store we have been having fun trying out the recipes in the classic Spanish cookbook 1080 Recetas de Cocina by Simone and Inès Ortega, newly translated into English and available now in a big hardbound edition for $39.95. Last night while out at Bar César for an after dinner drink, I saw that Chef Maggie Ponds is also celebrating the arrival of this most popular of Spanish cookbooks by including one dish from the book in her ever changing menu. Her version of Dried Plums Stuffed with Blue Cheese and Pine Nuts was a deceptively simple small plate with five bite sized mouthfuls of the most explosive flavor imaginable. I had to look it up in the book so I could try and recreate this knock-you-back-in-your-chair appetizer. It is really quite simple but the combination of ingredients is a complex and vivid mixture of flavors, aromas and textures.

 

Prunes stuffed with Valdeón cheese and pine nuts.

(adapted from 1080 Recipes by Simone and Inès Ortega)

Serves 4

 

¼ lb. Valdeón cheese (or other aged blue cheese)

12 pine nuts

12 raisins

1 tablespoon sweet Moscatel wine

¼ cup cream

12 pitted prunes

In a mixing bowl, mash blue cheese with a fork and mix with cream and sweet sherry. Roughly chop pine nuts and raisins and add to cheese mixture. Stir to combine everything. Fill each prune with a small spoonful of the cheese mixture and seal with a toothpick. Allow 45 minutes for the flavors to blend before serving alongside small glasses of the same wine used in the recipe.

 

Siete 2005 $12.99 A blend of 80% Garnacha and 20% Tempranillo made in the historic wine town of Olite in the Navarra region of Northern Spain. Organic fruit from old vine vineyards (+/- 25 years) is fermented in tank and aged on the lees for two months before bottling. Dark ruby color and youthful berry-like aroma create the first impression. Bright acidity gives lift to fresh cherry fruit character, resolving in a savory finish with light grape skin tannins. Serve this wine with another traditional Navarra specialty, the Piquillo pepper, served in any of a dozen ways (cold, hot, sliced, stewed, stuffed, you name it).

 

Navarro Lopez Old Vines Crianza $13.99 In the Valdepeñas region of southern Spain (a region with many centuries of wine making tradition) Bodegas Navarro Lopez crafts a range of wines from the local Cencibel (Tempranillo by another name) grape. This wine is made from old vine fruit and aged for 6 months in oak (mostly American) before bottling. Bright fruit character and toasty oak mix to create a lively red wine that will compliment meals based on traditional Spanish flavors

 

Navarro Lopez Old Vines Reserva $18.99 The Reserva version of this traditional red wine from the Valdepeñas region in southern Spain is composed of 100% Tempranillo fruit (known in this region as Cencibel) from 30 year old vines. After fermentation the wine is aged in oak barrels for 12 months before bottling. The end result is a wine with dark, mature fruit character, smooth, well integrated barrel tannins and a hint of traditional earthy background flavor and aroma.

 

Familigia Bianchi Malbec 2006 $15.99 Three successive generations of the Bianchi family have been making wine in the San Rafael region of Mendoza in Argentina. This wine uses some of their best quality Malbec fruit sourced from one of the family estate vineyards. After fermentation this wine is aged in oak for 10 months before bottling. This dark, abundant wine is rich with toasty oak aromas and dark berry fruit character.

 

Elsa Malbec 2006 $9.99 Bodegas Valentín Bianchi, one of the oldest wineries in Argentina, was started in the 1930s by Italian immigrants and is now one of the most well known and popular wine brands in Argentina. They craft this wine from a single vineyard of Malbec grapes named after Elsa Bianchi, the family matriarch. This young wine is full of ripe aromas and flavors of cherry and plum.

 

Casta Diva Cosecha Miel 2006 $28.99 It’s the time of year when a little late harvest sweet wine is particularly appealing. The new vintage of the celebrated Casta Diva is a lush Moscatel from the Alicante region on the Mediterranean coast. This bright gold colored wine is redolent of honey and tangerines. The rich Sauterne-like complexity of Casta Diva works with everything from fois gras to lemon tart.

 

Ochoa Moscatel 2006 $23.99 In the Navarra region of Northern Spain (home to a wide range of grape varieties), Moscatel grapes are left on the vine to fully ripen before they are harvested for this sweet (but not too sweet) dessert wine. Serve it with a pear tart on a crisp fall afternoon. Ethereal.

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Filed under Argentina, Fortified Wine, Recipes, Red Wine, Spain, White Wine