If you are traveling to Spain, or need a virtual trip, don’t miss Food and Wine magazine’s SPAIN issue (September 2017). Chock full of eating and drinking recommendations, it covers the best vermuterias (vermouth bars), tapas spots and specialty restaurants all over Spain. José Andrés, a brilliant Spanish chef with 17 restaurants in the U.S., is a passionate advocate of España’s top quality foods and wines. He shares his favorite producers and winemakers in this issue, along with traditional recipes and essentials for your own Spanish pantry. We’ve got most of the essentials and hard-to-find products here, some listed below, as well as many of the wines and vermouths.
Smoked paprika: “A must have!” José Andrés (J.A.)
Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oils, made from Arbequina and Picual olive varieties, “Spanish extra-virgin olive oils are some of the best in the world. Every Spanish household keeps a few bottles on the table.” (J.A.)
Potato chips: “Spanish chips are made with just three ingredients – potatoes, salt and extra-virgin olive oil-giving them a bright, fresh taste.” (J.A.)
Tinned seafood: “Spain’s most delicious conservas come from the Galician coast. Razor clams, mussels, octopus, sardines and more are preserved right on the coast to keep the beautiful taste of the ocean.” (J.A.)
Cheese: “Spain has so much great cheese!” (J.A.). We stock Garroxta, a semihard goat cheese from Catalonia, lightly smoky Idiazabal cheese from the Basque region and an array of Manchego cheeses, including the stellar one-year aged, raw milk Artequeso Manchego. …….. Above quotes by José Andrés (J.A.)
WINES: The Food and Wine issue also recommends a plethora of wonderful Spanish wines. Not surprisingly, we’ve got a lot of them in stock! Our picks from the Food and Wine lists are:
“Tops Under $20” lists a dozen value wines. The best of the best are 2016 Can Feixes Blanc Selecció ($13.99) “Full of tangerine and apple notes, this white blend isn’t sparkling but a tiny amount of trapped carbo dioxid does give it a vivacious prickle on your tongue.” and 2014 El Chaparral de Vega Sindoa ($13.99) is one of our staff picks. 100% Grenache from vines planted before 1940, aged in French oak for nine months. “… almost Pinot Noir delicacy with notes of cranberry, black cherry and floral hints. Terrific body, good acidity and underlying, earthy minerality.” 91 points Wine Advocate
“Generation Next” shines a light on young, upcoming superstar winemakers and also includes on one of our favorite reds: 2014 Bernabeleva Navaherreros Garnacha, Madrid ($23.99) 100% Garnacha from vines planted in 1926, in the mountainous, new-on-the-radar Sierra de Gredos region west of Madrid. Bernabeleva produces subtle, beautifully detailed reds. This bottling is an ideal introduction to the winery’s style.
“The Boundary Breaker” is a sidebar by Food and Wine’s Ray Isle devoted to Raúl Pèrez, one of Spain’s most influential winemakers. We’ve got a number of his wines in stock, including 2011 La Vizcaína de Vinos El Rapolao ($52.00). “The 2011 La Vizcaina El Rapolao comes from the fresher of the red vineyards in the new La Vizcaina project. Like all the wines in Raul’s projects, these old vineyards have a field blend with a majority of Mencia, but they all have some Alicante Bouschet, Estaladina (the local name for Merenzao/Bastardo/Trousseau) and Souson. El Rapolao is a north-facing vineyard which is harvested 25-30 days after the warmer vineyards, and its soils are rich in clay and iron. The elegant nose shows some wild herbs, red rather than black fruit, and a strong sense of wet soil. The palate is balanced, with a light touch of the stems. Drink 2013-2020. 93 points Wine Advocate
“Seeing Red” focuses on the primary red wine regions of Spain. Including Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Priorat, it’s a stellar list of great bottles. We’ve got almost all of them in stock, including 2014 Tinto Pesquera Crianza ($33.00), which just arrived yesterday. “Winemaker Alejandro Fernandez almost single-handedly brought Ribera del Duero to fame in the late 1980s. His Tinto Pesquera is still one of the regions’s most distinctive wines, with plush plum flavors blanketed under soft tannins.” (Ray Isle). We also now have Pesquera Reserva 2012 ($56.00) in stock.
As a sidenote, Seattle’s Classical Wines of Spain deserves their share of the credit for recognizing the quality of Pesquera, and promoting it early on. They were the first to import these wines into the U.S.