Take a look at the gorgeous meat and cheese platters that we made this week for a customer.   The meat platter included two new 100% Iberico de Bellota sausages (Chorizo and Salchichon) that we just brought in from Dehesa Cordobesa, made with pork from the famed black-footed pig.   In the fall these pigs roam freely over 400,000 hectares of Holm oak forest, eating acorns which are considered to be the sweetest in Spain. These special acorns contribute to the meat’s juicy flavor and marbled appearance.   The platter also included a delectable piece of pâté de Campagne and sliced Rosette de Lyon sausage; this was truly an assortment from both sides of the Pyrenees.   With picnic weather finally here, stop in and choose an assortment for yourself!

Pommeau de NormandyWe now stock NV Pierre Huet Pommeau de Normandy ($38.00/750 ml).  A blend of about 2/3 unfermented cider-apple juice and 1/3 Calvados, aged in oak for 16-18 months.   The Calvados flavor is pronounced, along with nutty and vanilla hints and a persistent finish, somewhat reminiscent of tawny port.  It should be served chilled.  It is perfect in a scooped-out melon, served with foie gras or with an apple dessert; great in cocktails, it also works wonders in the kitchen as an ingredient in sauces and creams.   Unfortunately, only 3 bottles are available until the next shipment, due in late May.

Sketch AlbarinoBodegas y Viñedos Raul Perez  Sketch Albariño 2016, Rias Baixas ($79.00)  Sorry, no discounts on this extremely limited wine. It’s been a couple of years since we’ve gotten our hands on Sketch, one of the most sought-after Albariños from Spain. In 2011 we were incredibly fortunate to visit Spain with Raul Perez’ U.S. importer.  The highlight was a boat trip through a Rias Baixas inlet, where divers went down to an underwater cellar and retrieved bottles of Sketch Albariño for us to sample with oysters and mussels.  Tasting this wine was a total experience!  The grapes for Sketch grow in a .5 hectare vineyard planted in 1965, located 150 meters from the Atlantic.  The fruit is harvested 1 to 2 weeks later than other vineyards, which gives them low malic acid and higher level of natural sugar.   Fermented with native yeast and aged one year in neutral barrels, Sketch is bottled without fining or fermentation, and back then, bottles were aged in an underwater cellar for 60 days.  (There is conflicting information about whether Sketch continues to be aged underwater).   This is an Albariño that continues to evolve with air, to reveal notes of orchard fruit, citrus and a huge mineral component.  A whiff of sea salt on the nose has white flower and sea shell notes.  A creamy texture is intense and voluminous on the palate with a bright acidity and lengthy finish.  Tasting is believing!  Only six bottles were allocated to Washington State, and we were lucky to get them.

Château de Gadou Tradition 2016 Cahors ($8.99)   We’ve always loved wines from Château de Gadou and even visited the estate a couple of years ago when we spent time in the southwest of France. Don’t miss eating at their rustic farmhouse-restaurant Le Caillou – it is superb!  The 2016 vintage of Gadou Tradition is a spectacular expression of a Cahor wine and an unbelievable value.    An unoaked blend of 80% Malbec, 15% Merlot and 5% Tannat from vines over 30 years old.  A great pairing with grilled foods.     “Fresh ripe black fruit nose; young wine with firm tannins, medium-bodied with nice acidity. Youthful and juicy, lush and vivid.”  94 points – Decanter World Wine Awards 2017

smoked raclette cheeseSmoked Raclette Cheese – This Swiss raclette has been smoked over oakwood, giving it smoky, rich, and woody nuances. Made from the rich and floral raw milk of cows grazing in the Alps, this semisoft cheese is aged for four months. Smoky and savory, yet buttery, this raclette is delicious in sandwiches, potato dishes, savory tarts, and topped on burgers. A good and hearty melter!    $29.99 per lb.

D'Affinois with Garlic and HerbsFromage d’Affinois with herbs – Our favorite double cream now comes with an herbaceous kick! Fromagerie Guilloteau adds French herbs and crushed garlic to this luscious cow’s milk cheese made in the Rhone-Alps region of France. We can’t resist the fresh herb flavors and savory hints of garlic melded into this creamy cheese. Serve it with toasted baguette, or spread on a bagel and top with smoked salmon!  $19.99 per lb.

Mojo picon sauceAmona Mojo Picon – A specialty of the Canary Islands, Mojo is typically made from a mixture of some type of pepper, almonds, extra virgin olive oil and a few spices. Amona’s recipe was perfected by Basque chef Mikel Trevino de Luis, who was inspired to make his own after living on the islands for a few years. Smoky and a touch spicy, this versatile condiment, named for his amona (grandmother in Basque), is wonderful paired with seafood, hummus, avocados, potatoes or as a dip for bread.