Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spanish Wine Cellar & Pantry tastings

Tasting Spanish wine that can't find in the US is always an adventure because  you don't know what to expect. And if the tasting is paired with amazing canned and cured fish and "gammon" from Spain, the adventure becomes far more pleasant.

I was impressed with the Aecovi-Jerez Sherries from Andalucia, served in a wine glass - a detail I ignored. Light, fruity and easy to drink, the Sherry pairs perfectly with oysters and salty nuts. I also liked all three Cavas (the Spanish "Champagne"). The first, the Pere Ventura Tresor, a blend of 40% Xarel-l0, 40% Macabeo and 20% Parellada was fruity and citrus with a decent level of acidity. The second, the Pere Ventura Cupatge d' Honor, a blend of 70% Xarel-lo, and 30% Chardonnay was far more complex. Finally, the rosé (Pere Ventura Brut Rosé) 100% Trepat is perfect for an aperitif and with chocolate even.

I didn't taste many Reds, but I remember the strength and the spices in all three: Hacienda Sael 2009, Solar de Sael 2007, and Solar de Sael Crianza 2006 - all 100% Mencia.

The culinary adventure was delightful. For the first time, I tried and was impressed with the Dry Salt Cured Tuna Loins, a perfect balance of fish protein and salt and the Smoked Tuna, another surprise even for a food writer. The Dry Salt Cured Mullet Roe was unique but not for me. On the whole, the Ricardo Fuentes products were outstanding.

The Cudie caramelized almonds covered with powdered cocoa or dark praline (of various recipes) were also a unique sweet experience worth mentioning. Finally, the Chestnuts in syrup with white Godello white wine, Mencia red wine or Albarino white wine were a mouthwatering, local, Spanish specialty.

Although I am way far from being a Spanish food and wine expert, I publicly admit that Spanish food is refined and elegant. When it comes to its wines, I will have to explore them in depth to form an objective opinion - they definitely have potential.