by Donna Cain, Innkeeper and owner
We recently had our first cooking school of the season which included Spanish food from Valencia. Our Chef Carol Edmondson continued the tradition of providing wonderful cooking tips in the class and later an over the top delicious meal which we enjoyed in the fireside dining room at the Captain Freeman Inn.
The menu included warm lemon, garlic and rosemary olives,
figs with goats cheese,
warm garlic and herb flat bred and the show stopper, Paella with duck, seafood and chorizo.
All of our cooking school meals include a wonderful fresh salad and a dessert that pairs perfectly with the meal . For this dinner Carol chose Valencia oranges in Rioja wine with Manchego.
It was fun to learn a different way to grill the peppers which was actually quite simple and included just holding the pepper over the stove flame and then pealing away the burnt skin.
Our classes always include Wine tasting before our meal and Byron was so excited about the Spanish wines he was able to find. For those wine conoseurs, a detail description of the wines we served is noted below:
• Zerran – 2011 Montsant
Garnacha 50%, Mazuelao40%, Syrah 10%
• The Saint – Rioja – 2008 Reserva
• Los Dos 2012 – Campo De Borja
Grenache 85% & Syrah 15%
• Laya 2012 – Garnacha Tintorera 70% , Monastrell 30%
• Godello 2011 – Castelo Do Papa
• Licia Albarino 2011 – Rias Baixas
SPANISH WINES – Grape Variey Descriptions for wines in our tasting.
Albariño – White. Native to Galicia, with small, very sweet glyceric berries which produce high quality wines. It is the basic grape of Rías Baixas DO. There has been a dramatic increase in the area planted with this grape over the last few years.
Godello – White. A high quality, very aromatic grape. Native to Galicia, new planting has been encouraged in the last few years, especially in Valdeorras DO. It is considered a main variety in Valdeorras and Bierzo DOs.
Garnacha Tinta – Red Garnacha. A high-yielding grape that produces vigorous wines. This is the most widely grown red grape in Spain, especially in La Rioja, Madrid, Navarre, Tarragona, Teruel, Toledo and Zaragoza.
Cariñena (Mazuelo) – Red. Produces robust, balanced wines. An excellent complement to Garnacha, it is widely planted in Catalonia and La Rioja, where it is known as “Mazuela”.
Monastrell – A red, very sweet and productive grape. It produces wines with a deep colour and considerable alcoholic content. It is mainly found in Murcia (52%), Alicante, Albacete and Valencia and it is considered a main variety in DOs such as Alicante, Almansa, Costers del Segre, Jumilla, Penedés, Valencia and Yecla.
Syrah – Red. A variety thought to have come from Persia, grown extensively in central and southern France. Hermitage wines are usually 100% Syrah. Very little is grown in Spain (principally Catalonia and La Mancha).
Tempranillo – Red. Superb quality and very aromatic, the star of Spanish grapes. It is called Ull de Llebre in Catalonia, Cencibel in Castile-La Mancha and Madrid, and Tinto Fino and Tinto del Pais in Castile and Leon. It flourishes in Burgos, La Rioja, Alava, Cuenca and Ciudad Real. It is considered a main variety in the following DOs: Calatayud, Cigales, Conca de Barbera, Costers del Segre, La Mancha, Penedes, Ribera del Duero, Rioja, Somontano, Utiel-Requena, Valdepenas, and Vinos de Madrid.
BODEGAS ORDONEZ 2011 ZERRAN MONTSANT – RATINGS – WA 92 ; IWC 91+
Zerran is another fantastic deal from Spain. The 2011 Bodegas Ordoñez Zerran is a blend of 50% Garnacha, 40% Mazuelo (aka Carignan), and 10% Syrah sourced from vines that were planted between 1934 and 1942 (so the youngest vines are 70+ years old!).
The only ‘shock’ was how good this was in the glass, the wine’s explosive fruit component with notes of boysenberry, plum, and blackberry with a hint of cola taking center stage. There’s good minerality and acidity to balance out the fruit and the soft tannins make this bottle very approachable right now.
Very expressive, very versatile, very affordable, this has all the makings of a first class ‘house red’ or party go-to. There are excellent notes from both Wine Advocate (92 points) and International Wine Cellar (91+ points) as well as some enthusiastic words. It reveals abundant kirsch, lavender, black raspberry and dusty, loamy, earthy scents intermixed with notions of spring flowers and blackberries. There is not any oak evident in this dense effort.” Excellent value. Stock Report Aug. 2013
Robert Parker writes in Wine Advocate: “Even more so is the 2011 Zerran, which ratchets up the level of concentration and ripe fruit. It reveals abundant kirsch, lavender, black raspberry and dusty, loamy, earthy scents intermixed with notions of spring flowers and blackberries. There is not any oak evident in this dense effort. Its completeness and overall equilibrium are impressive, and this great value should drink well for 5-6 years, possibly longer. (There is no track record for these wines in terms of aging.) Production from the Rueda vineyard (38.3 acres) owned by Jorge Ordonez was begun in 2011. This well-known white wine appellation sits on the border of the province of Segovia. The 2010 and 2011 Zerran come from a vineyard planted at 1,500-1,800 feet altitude. They are blends of Grenache, Mazuelo and Syrah whose vines were planted between 1934 and 1942.”
Josh Raynolds writes in International Wine Cellar: “Vivid purple. Aromas of black raspberry, spicecake and musky herbs, with a smoky topnote. Densely packed and youthful, with spicy dark berry flavors accented by cracked pepper and a touch of candied violet. Tannins build on the zesty finish, which shows refreshing bitterness and a touch of boysenberry.”
2008 The Saint Rioja Reserva
Website: http://www.thesaintwine.com – Region: Rioja Varietal: Tempranillo
Coined by Jancis Robinson as “Spain’s answer to Cabernet Sauvignon,” its style varies significantly depending on terroir and the wine-making techniques used. Cooler regions and stainless steel fermentation tend to produce Tempranillos with fresh strawberry and cherry like fruit, similar in body to Pinot Noir. Examples from hotter, more arid regions that undergo extended oak aging often produce richer, plumper, jammier wines, typically exhibiting chocolate, tobacco, and leather notes. Tempranillo provides the backbone of the highly regarded wines of Rioja, Toro and Ribera del Duero. In Rioja particularly, it is typically blended with Garnacha (Grenache), Mazuelo (Carignan) and Graciano. In La Mancha and Navarra, it is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to produce inexpensive, great-value wines. One of the few places Tempranillo has spread to is Spain’s neighbour, Portugal. Grown mainly in the Douro valley since the mid 19th century, where they call it Tinta Roriz, it is used as one of the key blending agents in port. Lately it has been used in the region’s intensely rich, dry, table wines.
With more area under vines than any other country, it ranks third in terms of quantity of wine produced. The range of its wines is a reflection of the country’s regional climatic diversity ranging from the rich and sumptuous reds of the hot and arid Ribera del Duero to the light, crisp whites of the cool Atlantic region of Galicia and Basque Country. For some of the country’s best reds, try the regions of Rioja, Navarra, Ribera del Duero, Priorat, and Murcia. Spain is also nsible for some of the world’s finest fortified and dessert wines, the finest of which come from the town Jerez (Sherry), in Andalucía.
Complex aromas of ripe fruit blend with smoky fine woods. The wine is fantastically well structured and has a long lingering finish. The Saint Rioja is a deep ruby colored wine that displays an abundance of fruit enhanced by a full 26 months of oak aging. On the palate it shows big fruit, spice and outstanding concentration of flavors with impeccable balance. This Reserva will continue to age well for at least 10 years. The Saint Reserva Rioja will match well to most dishes for the perfect pairing, try this with grilled meats, BBQ and mushroom or seafood risottos. Enjoy this wine with good food and good friends or, try it alone in your room with the door locked, you’re the boss!
2012 Los Dos Grenache / Syrah
Brand: Bodegas Aragonesas – Region: Campo de Borja – Varietal: Grenache Blend Style: Red Wine
From slopes on the edge of the Sierra Iberica, just south of Navarra where Garnacha is king, this special cuvée blends Syrah with rich Garnacha produced from vines of 30 years of age. The resulting wine is nuanced and elegant. Fermentation is classical, with no carbonic maceration. Aging is entirely in stainless steel. The wine is immediately aromatic, full and friendly on the palate and finishes with a refinedlength.
Almira Los Dos is bright cherry red with violet hues and has a pleasantly intense and complex aroma of subtle fruit and balsam, with a full, well-structured and lingering taste.
85% Grenache and 15% Syrah The fun and fruity character of Los Dos might seem simple at first taste, but Grenache and Syrah have been making hap…
RP: 87 + Wine critic This is a dark rich wine with a nice fruity aroma. Bold black berry flavor, that hold it flavor right to the finish. The tannin on the finish were … Read more
classic old world Garnacha dark-fruit-forward flavor profile with a long, dry, spicy Syrah finish. would be excellent with something like carolina-… Read more
A round, fruit-foward palate of cherries and blackberries carries through to a refined, lengthy finish. Read more
Suggested Recipe Pairing presented by
Spain Easy Paella featuring RiceSelect™ Arborio Rice – RiceSelect™ Arborio Rice has an exceptional ability to absorb flavors, which makes it the perfect choice for tasty paella and Spanish Red Wines
Parsnip Risotto with Pancetta and Sage Recipe
Chicken Noodle Soup with Lemongrass Recipe
Garlic-Infused Mashed Potatoes and Celery Root Recipe
This is a dark rich wine with a nice fruity aroma. Bold black berry flavor, that hold it flavor right to the finish. The tannin on the finish were present but smooth. We had this with some spice chili that my wife prepared, I wondered how this wine would match with the hot and spice dish. This wine stood it ground, it’s flavor came through the spices in the chili nicely, even mellowing out the chili a little. One spoon of chili followed by a sip of wine (alright , maybe a gulp), then some more chili. It was great. Two years ago a reviewed a 2008 vintage of Los Dos, but I was not impressed and stated I would not purchase again. I am happy that I forgot about that review. I would buy the 2010 vintage again.
Snooth User: kleith
classic old world Garnacha dark-fruit-forward flavor profile with a long, dry, spicy Syrah finish. would be excellent with something like carolina-style smoked pulled pork with a vinegar slaw topping (with cilantro, I think). Keep it at proper temp, as Garnacha can get cloying if let get too warm and Syrah loses dimension when too cold.
External Reviews for Los Dos Grenache Syrah Campo de Borja 10/05/2011
A round, fruit-foward palate of cherries and blackberries carries through to a refined, lengthy finish.
External Review Source: Astor Wines & Spirits 09/28/2011
An excellent Spanish red from the Campo de Borja region, made from a blend of old-vine Garnacha and a bit of Syrah. Dark, fresh and – no surprise – deliciously “grapey” on the palate. Light, silky tannins make for a very pleasant finish. Try it with grilled fare for a failsafe pairing.
Winemaker’s Notes: From slopes on the edge of the Sierra Iberica, just south of Navarra where Garnacha is king, this special cuvée blends Syrah with rich Garnacha produced from vines of 35 to 50 years of age. The resulting wine exhibits an elegance rarely encountered in the wines from this DO. Fermentation is classical, with no carbonic maceration. Aging is entirely in stainless steel. The wine is immediately aromatic, full and friendly on the palate, and finishes with a refined length.
Tasting Notes: The fun and fruity character of Los Dos might seem simple at first taste, but Grenache and Syrah have been making happy noise together for centuries in the southern Rhône Valley. The grape duo are no less rewarding in this wine, showing oodles of fruit such as mulberries, boysenberries, and raspberries.
BODEGAS ATALAYA 2012 LAYA ALMANSA
Neal Martin writes in Wine Advocate: “The 2012 Laya, a blend of 70% Garnacha and 30% Monastrell, has a superb bouquet of pure dark cherries, blackberry and incense that would normally grace a wine far more expensive. The palate is medium-bodied with layers of succulent black fruit that is neatly entwined with the subtle French oak. It is not a complex wine, but it is supremely well-crafted for the unbeatable price. Excellent.”
Not only is Spain cranking out an abundance of great values overall, there are certain sources that have consistently hit the mark year after year. One of the producers that we keep going back to is the Gil family. These are the folks who bring you an impressive list of exciting wines: Bodegas Atalaya, Juan Gil, Shaya, Can Blau, and El Nido. We’ve carried the Laya every year ever since the inaugural 2009 vintage was released in the U.S.. There have been changes in the organizational aspects of the company since that time. But thus far there have been no changes in the quality and value of what goes in the bottle. This 2012 Bodegas Atalaya Laya from Almansa is a blend of 70% Garnacha Tintorera (aka Alicante Bouschet) with 30% Monastrell (aka Mourvedre). Although every vintage has been quite the juicy value, this is the first vintage that pulled in 90 points from The Wine Advocate. Neal Martin of The Wine Advocate writes, “It is not a complex wine, but it is supremely well-crafted for the unbeatable price.” There are immediate impressions of mixed berry preserves with a hint of smoked meats and fresh cracked pepper that carry from your nose to your palate. There is also surprising volume and length for a wine at this modest price. You might want to keep a few bottles handy for those summertime neighborhood BBQ’s or as a hearty all-around house go-to. A juicy ‘90-pointer’ for $7, this is definitely a case buy.
Lícia Albariño 2011
Lícia is a shortening of Galicia, the autonomía in northwest Spain known for its Celtic influence and overall greenness due to the maritime climate. This refreshing, flavorful white is made from 100% Albariño, sourced from the subzones of Condado de Tea and O Rosal in DO Rías Baixas. Situated along the border with Portugal, vineyards in these subzones benefit from the drier climate and warmer growing season.
Straw yellow with greenish hues, the Lícia Albariño has strong varietal characteristics with hints of grapefruit, candied fruit, quince jelly, notes of fresh herbs, green apples, and minerals. It is fullbodied and wellbalanced, highlighting the aromas of citrus and green apple, with a long and persistent finish.
Food Pairing – This wine pairs deliciously with grilled fish—or any kind of seafood—Asian cuisines, rice dishes, salads and grilled vegetables.
Castelo do Papa
Papa, spicy scents of citrus peel, green apple and anise, with a salty mineral overlay. Fresh and taut, with the wine’s minerality dominating fresh apple and pear fruit and notes of fresh herbs adding complexity Exceptionally concentrated and focused. Finishes brisk and persistent. This fresh, mineral-inflected Godello will pair well with swordfish sautéed in butter and wild herbs, grilled or pan-fried sweet veal or pork sausage, and a host of casual foods like tapas, pasta with white clam sauce or fried oyster sandwiches.
Made from the indigenous Spanish varietal Godello (25-year old, organically farmed vines), this cuvee is aged completely in steel and sees no malolactic fermentation. A restrained yet intense minerality along with spicy, lemony, flinty, stony notes make for a fresh, medium-bodied, complex white to enjoy over the next year.
Score: 90. —Robert Parker, August 2012.
Best Wines to Pair with Paella?
Fabulous Blog Post – http://enofylzwineblog.com/2013/03/27/best-wines-to-pair-with-paella/
Every cuisine has at least one – a one-pot meal, a dish of humble origins that is the quintessential definition of that place and people. There’s Gumbo, Cassoulet, Risotto, Irish Stew and Pad Thai to name a few. And the Spanish? Well, they have paella. March 27th is National Paella Day.
Paella originated Valencia region of Spain.
Paella was originally farmers’ and farm labourers’ food, cooked by the workers over a wood fire for the lunchtime meal. It was made with rice, plus whatever was to hand around the rice fields and countryside: tomatoes, onions and snails, with a few beans added for flavour and texture. Rabbit or duck might also have been added, and for special occasions, chicken plus a touch of saffron for an extra special colour and flavour. Paella was also traditionally eaten straight from the pan in which it was cooked with each person using his own wooden spoon.
There are three main types of paella; Valencian consists of rice, green vegetables, meat (rabbit, chicken, duck, pork), land snails, beans and seasoning; Seafood replaces meat and snails with seafood such as prawns, mussels, and clams and omits beans and green vegetables, and Mixed, a combination of meat, seafood, vegetables.
Paella Valenciana (image courtesy of daytondailynews.com
In addition to the three main types of Paella, two other popular variations are Vegetarian, which typically contain vegetables like artichokes, lima beans, red and green peppers,and Paella Negra, which is typically seafood, cooked with squid ink, so it looks black.
My personal favorite – Paella Negra (image courtesy of piospaella.com)
When pairing paella with wine, I recommend keeping a few food and wine pairing guidelines in mind:
• What grow together, goes together – I prefer to pair with wines from Spain, Portugal, or wine from the neighboring Languedoc-Roussillon region in Southern France. Outside of Spain or France, consider Sangiovese or Pinot Noir for red wine.
• Pair humble with humble, great with great – Paella has humble origins, I generally pair with inexpensive wines unless it’s a special occasion.
• Sparkling wines go with almost anything – Pair Valencian, Mixed, and Negra paella with rosé Cava and Seafood and Vegetarian with Brut Cava
Can’t wait for the next class. We have a few slots left in the Naples class.
February 8, 2014 Naples, Campagnia
March 1, 2014 Rome
March 29, 2014 Provence