Spanish Wine Review: Peña Caballera Garnacha 2011

July 16, 2013
Peña Caballera 2011:  Great Spanish wine from the Madrid region

I was back in Madrid and my first Spanish wine had to be from Madrid region and a Garnacha. It was a bit of a risk as I was having a perfect steak experience at the Vaca Nostra restaurant and elegant, lean Madrid Grenache might not be everyone’s first choice. But I couldn’t resist the Peña Caballera, a top bottling from Bodega Marañones, especially at such a great price. What a joy to be back where wine markups, even in expensive restaurants, are so reasonable! The Grenache turned out to be a great match for both the steak tartare and the very special 4 month dry aged Galician steak. Great balance, freshness, and a good tannic structure were the perfect, subtle framework for the meats. So happy to be drinking some great Garnacha back in Madrid!

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Simple Spanish Food: The Perfect Salad

June 16, 2013
Simple Spanish Food:  The Perfect Salad

When I get back from Spain I’m a bit overwhelmed by all the wonderful food and wine experiences. It’s hard for me to get down to writing about it, so I’m going to start today with some simple and perfect Spanish food: the composed salad. It’s anything lovely arranged on a plate and dressed most simply with top notch olive oil, vinegar and sea salt. These plates were mainstays on my Spanish family’s table…a favorite was tomato, cebolleta (baby onions), perfect oil-packed tuna or bonito. I used to have to avoid my American tendency to over-complicate and heap on ingredients…now I fully embrace the minimalism. My only concession to a US palate today is the use of fresh ground pepper and maybe a fancy salt. Look at this beauty I made the other day….just avocado, Kumato tomatoes and Vidalia onion dressed with Marques de Griñon olive oil, spectacular Romate aged sherry vinegar, and Soso chili sea salt. Perfect with a glass of rosado cava!

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Video Spanish Wine Review: Aragón Grenache

May 17, 2013
Spanish wine:  Evodia 2011 from Calatayud

Always on the lookout for a great Grenache! This Spanish wine is old-vine Garnacha made in the Calatayud area of Aragón for the US market. The Evodia 2011 has gotten rave reviews around the blogosphere and from critics, so wanted to give it a try!  

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Video Spanish Wine Review: Value Rioja

May 16, 2013
Spanish wine:  Obalo Joven 2011 from Rioja

Some thoughts on value Rioja…love the video format…short and sweet! The Spanish wine today was the Obalo Joven 2011.  Other great value Rioja recommendations here and here… Spanish wine review: Value Rioja from Mary O’Connor on Vimeo.  

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Undiscovered Spanish Wines: Ribeira Sacra

May 14, 2013
Spanish wine:  Dominio do Bibei from Ribeira Sacra

Ribeira Sacra is one of Galicia’s least known wine appellations, yet it is producing some of Spain’s most interesting wines. This very small area has attracted some top wine makers and small, artisanal projects due to its unique and challenging landscape. The wines, produced from unique indigenous varieties, are light, yet intense and very original. They are mostly white, but the reds are even more surprising, especially in a Spanish, hot climate context. There are many great wines that represent this unique terroir, including the spectacular El Pecado, a most unique red made by innovator enologist Raul Perez. The wines that inspired this article are from Dominio do Bibei, a project from the wine superstar couple Sara Pérez and René Barbier.

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Video Spanish Wine Review: Fernando de Castilla Antique PX Sherry

May 13, 2013
Spanish wine:  Great Spanish sherry in Fernando de Castilla Antique PX

Very excited to start video posts on Spanish wines…this is my first one! Riveting stuff! Enjoy it and laugh at my awkwardness! It will get better! I already mentioned this wine, the Fernando de Castilla Antique Pedro Ximenez, in my recent article about the wines of Sherry. In that article I talked about how what […]

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Spain Represents: Xixón Cafe in Miami

May 12, 2013
Xixón Cafe Miami:  great Spanish wine and food

When I’m missing Spain, Xixón Cafe is one of those places that can that the edge off. It offers a comforting combination of good Spanish wine and food and a bustling, relaxed, mostly Spanish-speaking atmosphere that makes you feel right at home. Did I say good wine? I meant a spectacular selection of Spanish wines, not only by the bottle, but by the glass. They have self-serve Enomatic machines and cards, so you can even help yourself to tasting-size pours if you want. The menu is extensive and includes many traditional Spanish mainstays as well as some more adventurous interpretations. There is even a market section where you can buy some excellent gourmet Spanish products. Exciting first visit….lots more to try!

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Spanish Wine Review: Faunus 2011

May 8, 2013
Spanish wine:  Faunus 2011 from the Montsant region

I tasted a few great Spanish wines by the glass from the self-serve Enomatic wine dispensers at one of Miami’s really authentic Spanish restaurants, Xixón. My favorite for both quality and value was another impressive entry from the Montsant region, the Faunus 2011, by Ediciones i-Limitadas. Another great value Spanish wine from the Montsant region. I love this region for its intense, earthy balanced reds. Though perhaps not as consistent and remarkable as neighboring Priorat’s more famous wines, they’re also a lot less expensive in general.

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Spanish Wine Review: Lustau Los Arcos Amontillado

May 4, 2013
Spanish wine:  Lustau Los Arcos Amontillado Sherry

Some of my top Spanish wine experiences have been with sherries, but it’s also just as important to find the great value, every day sherries. The Lustau Los Arcos Amontillado is a delicious example of a great sherry to enjoy, sip and cook with. Once you start cooking with and trying sherry with food, you will never go back….it’s one of the most food friendly wines around. Amontillado is the perfect Sherry style for summer cooking and drinking. The tangier, edgier Fino style can be an acquired taste, while Oloroso has a winter feel to it. Amontillado, especially a really friendly, soft one like the Los Arcos is the perfect wine compromise. A complex, fresh, unique wine for only about 15$!

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Wine news: Zarcillos 2013 Wine Competition

May 2, 2013
Zarcillos de Oro:  Spanish wine competition

The Zarcillos de Oro 2013 will be held in Valladolid, Spain from 21-24 May. This biannual international wine competition was first held in 1991 and the last edition included 3,000 entries from 23 countries. It was originally organized by the regional government at a very crucial time for the wines of Castilla Leon, when both the system and wines were undergoing tremendous changes. The idea was to incentivize the production of the highest quality wine while introducing to a wider audience the wines of the area. Added to those initial national goals over the years has been the equally important goal of the competition as an international fine wine encounter.

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