Winter is high season for two of my favorite foods: Dungeness Crab and citrus. Serve them together, in a salad tossed with friseé. Or, serve them separately. An incredibly simple preparation is cracked Dungeness crab accompanied by a mayonnaise-lemon-smoked paprika sauce. Slice sourdough bread, apply the sauce, and top with a mound of crab. A white Burgundy, French Chablis or Spanish Godello are perfect accompaniments. Crab-theme towels and napkins available at Paris-Madrid Grocery.
A simple and delicious pairing of citrus and cheese is elegant and seasonal. See the recipe below for a Spanish-style combination of citrus, Manchego cheese, and Membrillo.
New Dish Towels! Bring a bit of France and Spain into your Kitchen with Fleur de Lis and French grain sack dish towels, Spanish “days of the week” towels, aprons and more.
Muga Prado Enea Gran Reserva – A Classic Rioja.
One of the truly legendary names in Spanish wine, Muga, is one of the benchmark producers of Rioja. Located in the historical Barrio de La Estación in Haro, in the Rioja Alta region, the winery was established in 1932 by Isaac Muga Martínez.. Muga possesses a number of vineyards in and around Haro, which ensure access to grapes and complete control over their quality. Muga’s vineyards enjoy Mediterranean, Atlantic and Continental influences that create an ideal climate for growing grapes, and give their wines their personality. Paris-Madrid Grocery stocks a full range of Muga wines, and in addition to the 2009, listed below, we also have a few bottles of the 2005 (94 points, Wine Advocate; 95 points, Wine Spectator), and the 2006 (96 points, Wine Advocate) Prado Enea. Impress your friends, and host a stellar, Prado Enea vertical tasting, or lay a few bottles down, and reap the sensory pleasures for years to come. Truthfully, these Prado Enea wines are a crazy value and should not be missed!
2009 Muga Prado Enea Gran Reserva $70.00
“The most classic cuvée was not produced in 2007 or 2008, so we jumped to the phenomenal 2009 Prado Enea. It was produced with grapes from cooler vineyards that enjoyed 20 extra days of slow ripening compared with warmer zones, which provided them with perfect ripeness and deep flavors. This blend of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha and the remaining 10% between Mazuelo and Graciano had an extended élevage, in this case no less than three years (alternating newer and older barrels). This is still a baby and I know Winemaker Jorge Muga would like to keep it in bottle for longer before selling it, but the commercial pressure is tremendous, as there has been no wine since 2006. The wine has 14.1% alcohol and a surprising 3.34 pH, especially considering 2009 was generally a warm and ripe year. But somehow this cuvée seems to work very well in ripe vintages. The wine feels even younger on the palate, and it still needs to develop some further complexity and the silky texture for which this wine is famous. There is good balance here and all the elements are in place for a nice development in bottle. In fact, it feels like one of the great recent vintages of Prado Enea. There will be no Prado Enea in 2012 and 2013 either, but it’s produced in 2010, 2014 (small quantities) and 2015. At this quality level, the price seems like a real bargain. 90,000 bottles produced in 2009.”
96 points, Wine Advocate.
“Plump and lively, this red delivers plum, tobacco, licorice and candied orange flavors, with firm tannins and balsamic acidity supplying structure. In the traditional style, showing uncommon richness. Drink now through 2021. 900 cases made.” –TM. 93 Points, Wine Spectator.
2014 Pascal Janvier Jasnieres $19.99
I was unaware of this small, somewhat obscure appellation until a few days ago. Apparently, Pascal Janvier, the owner and winemaker, is almost single-handedly responsible for the resurgence of this viticultural area, centered around the town of Sarthe, just north of the larger Coteaux de Loire appellation. The principal grape is Chenin Blanc, known locally as Pineau de la Loire, or white Pineau. This style of Chenin Blanc wine is remarkably dry and long lived, with an aging potential of decades. Fresh, floral and mineral, this golden-hued wine is highly recommended.
NV Valdespino Quina, Jerez $17.99: A sherry infused with herbs, quinine and spices, then barrel aged in a solera. It’s a Spanish chinato, and the last one produced in Spain. Medium-sweet with a hint of botanicals and spices. Serve it on the rocks as an aperitif, or create a cocktail with it.
CITRUS TRIO (Recipe from The Spanish Table Cookbook by Steve Winston)
Since Spain is far enough south to be within sight of North Africa it has warm microclimates. Since much of its mass is at high altitudes, it also has cool areas. It is thus blessed with fruits from temperate to tropical, from apples to mangos. The Spanish love fruit and it is always an appropriate dessert. Until recently dessert in Spain was either flan or a piece of fruit. Even the fanciest restaurant had a bowl of whole fruit for diners to select from at the end of hearty meal. This dessert keeps with that tradition. Serves 4
2 tablespoons Membrillo (Quince paste)
¼ cup Lemon or lime juice
¼ pound Shaved, one year aged, manchego cheese such as El Trigal
Whisk lemon juice into membrillo until consistency of heavy cream. Peel oranges and grapefruit with a knife removing white pith, then slice. Place on individual plates, and pour membrillo-lemon over fruit. Using a vegetable peeler, shave curls of manchego over the top and serve.