MontaditosGET READY FOR THE HOLIDAYS – Easy Prep Tapas classes $55.00 per person, per class
Join us for a hands-on session to inspire and ease your entertaining this season. We’ll be teaching you how to prepare 5 to 6 easy Spanish-style tapas, which are great for large parties or just for a few people.  The preparation is easy and the results are stunning.   No one will guess how easy it all was!
Accompanying the Thursday class, we’ll pour one white and one red party wine to taste with the recipes.  The Sunday class will include a tasting of two sparkling wines.   Among the dishes we’ll be preparing include a selection of Montaditos (crostini topped with sardines, alioli, piquillo pepper; sobrasada with goat cheese and honey; tuna, boquerones, anchovy, shaved Mojama with almonds & olive oil), Piquillo Peppers stuffed with Tuna Salad, Spanish devilled eggs, Salpicon (chopped salad with seafood and olives), Cantimpalitos in red wine, Stuffed Manzanilla Olives, Christmas Mussels.   Recipes are included and different dishes are prepared at each class.  You can sign up for both!
Thursday Nov. 1, 6:15 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.
Sunday, Nov. 11, 9:30 A.M. – 11:00 A.M.
To register, please call us at 206.682.0679 and confirm your place with credit card payment.
No refunds unless the class is canceled; however, if you are unable to attend, you may transfer your registration to another person.
Registrants under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.  Must be 21 years old to taste the wines; a non-alcoholic beverage will be substituted for underage attendees or by request.

Fall is a superb time of year to host a wine tasting party.  It gets dark early, so you’ve got extra time as you can’t work in the yard, go boating, or play softball in the evenings.  The tastebuds now yearn for red wines which compliment autumn’s mushroom dishes, roasted vegetables, and stuffed peppers.   So invite some friends over and have them each bring wine for the tasting (assemble at least 6 bottles for contrast).  See below for more helpful tips on organizing an inspiring evening.

FOCUS If the tasting is focused on one varietal, region, vintage, or specialty wine such as Champagne or Port, it will be more educational.   Our most fascinating tastings have been by varietal.  For example:  Tempranillos from around the world, Pinot Noirs to pair with salmon, Grenache with spicy foods.
FOOD  Serving food when drinking wine is always a good idea; see below for suggestions from The Spanish Table Cookbook by Steve Winston.  We like to have dinner, with the host preparing the main course and guests bringing side dishes and dessert.  For a more casual evening, serve a variety of small plates such as flank steak montaditos (recipe below).
FOOL your preconceptions.  Blind tastings are incredibly fun – you’ll focus on the aroma, color, taste, and finish of the wines, not the label or price.  One thing that will amaze you is how the scores deviate from each other.  Often, one taster picks one wine as best while another ranks it worst.  You can be assured that sooner or later, at least one “sleeper” will emerge while some highly esteemed winery’s release will taste merely ordinary.

To start, assemble six wines (more or less, depending on the number of guests) and gather around the dining room table.  Taste the wines blind by putting the bottles in paper bags and then removing the corks and neck caps.   Shuffle the bagged bottles.  Use a felt tip pen (one that does not reek of petroleum solvent), to assign each bag a letter from the alphabet.  Labeling the bottles starting with “a” through “f” reduces the confusion of referring to both the ranking and the bottle by number.  Otherwise, when it is time to rank them, you lapse into a Laurel and Hardy routine of, “Number three is number one, number one is number 2, etc.”

Then start tasting using individual score sheets, noting color, aroma, taste, finish, and rank in order of personal preference (number “1” is best wine).  Tabulate the scores, and the lowest score is the winner.   Then take off the bags and find out what you were tasting.   Serve the wines with the meal.

We are now taking orders for fresh turkeys!   It seems early to think about Thanksgiving but these stellar gobblers sell out very quickly.   The prices are a bit cheaper this year, too!  We’ve served these birds on our Thanksgiving table for the last three years and hands down, they are unbelievably moist and the most flavorful turkeys we’ve ever had.  Reserve your turkey now to ensure you get the size and type you want.    Give us a call to order from the options described below and please provide your credit card information to confirm the order:

turkyDiestel Free-Range Turkey $5.99/lb, 10-16 lbs
(antibiotic free, hormone free, gluten free, California raised.)
Mary’s Non-GMO, Free Range Turkey $4.99/lb, 12-24 lbs
(antibiotic free, hormone free, gluten free, California raised.)
Northwest Natural Whole Turkey $3.49/lb, 10-14 lbs
(these are natural but NOT free range. Hormone Free, gluten free, Minnesota-raised)
Premium Specialty Free-Range Turkey $4.49/lb, 10-24 lbs
(Free range, hormone free, Gluten Free, Minnesota raised)

Francois Cazin Le Petit Chambord Blanc Cheverny 2017 ($17.99)  By law, a Cheverny Blanc must be a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Cazin’s is about 80% Sauvignon Blanc and the rest Chardonnay.  The grapes are organically farmed and fermented with native yeasts in tank, then aged in tank and neutral oak for one year.   Very fresh and lifted, it offers up white fruit aromas and a richness on the mid-palate. With verve and citrus on the dry finish, it’s an excellent balance of fruit and acidity.    Sublime with shellfish.

Château Thivin Côte de Brouilly Cru Beaujolais 2017 ($28.99/750 ml; $16.99/375 ml)  SPECIAL PRICE, 12 X 750 ML BOTTLES AVAILABLE.  Château Thivin is a benchmark domain of the Côte de Brouilly.  Family owned since 1877, the 50+-year-old vineyards are planted on Mont Brouilly’s steep 48% slopes, on volcanic soils.   “The 2017 Côte de Brouilly is superb, unfurling in the glass with aromas of ripe cassis, candied violets, and plums. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, rich and concentrated, structured around fine-grained but chewy tannins and tangy balancing acids, with considerable depth and substance at the core. The wine is still quite primary and will need some time to come together, but it’s an excellent rendition of this storied cuvée that resembles the 2011 vintage.”   94 points Wine Advocate

Domaine Diochin Moulin-A-Vent Cru Beaujolais 2017 ($23.99/750 ml; $13.99/375 ml)    Domaine Diochon has been making Beaujolais the old-fashioned way since 1935.   Picking when the grapes are perfectly mature, traditional whole cluster fermentation, aging in large old oak foudres, and bottling unfiltered in the springtime have characterized the house style.   The grapes grow in crumbly granite with a subsoil of sand and clay which adds a pronounced mineral component to the wine. Yields are small, given that the vines are between forty and one hundred years old.  In 2007, Thomas Patenôtre took over winemaking and continues the Diochon tradition of sustainable farming, harvesting at perfect ripeness and no chaptalization.  Grapes are fermented in cement, aged in oak foudres for 6-7 months before bottling with minute doses of sulfur.  Unfined and unfiltered.   “Winemaker Patenôtre opted to destem 80% of the crop this year due to hail damage, and the resulting 2017 Moulin-à-Vent Vieilles Vignes is a great success, unfurling in the glass with a charming bouquet of red cherries, raspberries, dried flowers and licorice. Medium to full-bodied, it’s supple, delicate and giving on the palate, with melting tannins and a fragrant finish. It’s a great success in a challenging year, and it will drink well on release.”    90 points Wine Advocate

Bodegas Frontaura Nexus Crianza 2011 Ribera del Duero ($18.99)  This was the best seller at our recent Tempranillo tasting; in fact, it sold out and now it’s back in stock.   This rich and balanced 100% Tempranillo is aged 13 months in French oak, giving it an extreme elegance for the price.   Displays aromas of vanilla and ripe black fruit notes, with a suave mouthfeel and smoky hints.  Bright and structured with silky tannins, it has a roundness on the palate with mineral notes.  This is an cellent wine with red meat, especially lamb.

flank steak montaditoFLANK STEAK PIRI PIRI MONTADITOS    Makes 24 tapas
Hot sauce does not give most wines a chance to show their subtleties, but here, after grilling, the piri piri is only a background note.  It will not overpower the wine being tasted and provides a wine a chance to show if it has the character to be paired with red meat.

1 pound               Flank Steak
¼ cup                    Piri Piri sauce (available at Paris-Madrid Grocery)
pinch                     Coarse Sea salt
¼ cup                    Spanish Alioli (available at Paris-Madrid Grocery)
24 slices               Baguette

Brush a flank steak with piri piri sauce on both sides then dust it with coarse sea salt.
Grill or broil until medium rare.
Let cool.
Slice and cut into pieces no larger than the baguette slices.
Brush each slice with a little alioli.
Top with a slice of meat and serve.

Thanks for reading!