Wine of the Day, No. 428

Our previous Wine of the Day concerned an albariño, partly fermented and aged in oak, from the unusual origin of Uruguay. Today, we look at an albariño wine from the Spanish region of Rías Baixas, where the grape is indigenous. Rías Baixas is in Galicia, in northwestern Spain, right up against the Atlantic Ocean, atop Portugal. The name of the region means “lower Rías,” or rivers, and refers to four estuaries that open to the Atlantic and mingle fresh and saltwater. The sub-regions of Rías Baixas are distributed among these rivers. While soil types vary, of course, among these sub-regions, generally the soil is granitic with an alluvial overlay. The Pazo Cilleiro Albariño 2017, Rias Baixas, made all in stainless steel, offers a shimmering pale gold hue and lovely aromas that partake of meadows and mountains, that is, not to be too fanciful, of heather and hay, high-altitude herbs and ...

Partida Creus SM 2014

Sumoll (late ripening, large bunched varietal from Catalunya Spain). 11%. Cork. Spain. Approx $A45.

My first bottle from this small but well known label; a pair of ectopic Italians making lo fi wines with indigenous Spanish grapes. . .

Pale and lively; savoury, quite elusive, wild, salty, very delicious. . . A funky nose, animal and woody herbs, bark. . . but it also seems green and sappy - like a fresh cut star fruit. Dry and meaty, but playful acids and sharp edges; the technical taster in me finds brett - but at an acceptable level.

What We’re Drinking Now: Chill White Wine from Spain and Portugal

Chill white wines. Perfectly refreshing but so much more. White wines from the Iberian Peninsula, abundant Spain and Portugal, are not only cooling and chill but also wise cultural ambassadors for their region.
Iberian wines
A selection of white wines from Spain and Portugal. Credit: Jill Barth
What these wines offer in terms of drinkability (especially in dog-days August) comes naturally, exhibitions of indigenous varieties calibrated by geographically-centered winemaking. Native yeasts, ancient methods, attention to detail and sheer craft enthusiasm make these wines serious contenders for top-of-my-list wines to drink. And wines to talk about — interesting helps, in our house, because we talk a lot about wine. My hubby and I work together on every meal that makes a showing on L’Occasion. To achieve our partnership, we talk a lot about wine and food. This week, as we worked on this post about Iberian wines I’m simultaneously publishing a piece on ...

Discover Jewish Heritage throughout Portugal and Spain

Orange trees scent a patio in Lisbon’s ancient Alfama neighborhood. Cilantro is used to season a seafood stew, made just like this for over a thousand years. Sausage made with bread stuffing hangs in a smokehouse and its true origin is hidden. A cook fries tiny fish in olive oil, unaware of the stories that belie this humble dish. Almond blossoms bloom and announce the eventual nut harvest which... Source

Eat and Drink like Hemingway in Spain’s Navarra Region

I’ll get this out first and be done with it — I’m absolutely not into bullfighting or rhino hunting. However, like millions of others, I fell in love with the works of Ernest Hemingway decades ago and haven’t properly separated myself from the fantasy of his creation since. In his iconic work, The Sun Also Rises, friends spend time in Pamplona, a city filled with Northern Spanish culture.
books and wine, wine for book group, wine paired with books
Cover art from The Sun Also Rises
Though the friends (a loose term — these are unraveled relationships) spend much time focused on sex and bullfighting there is an above-average focus on food and drink. As is Hemingway’s custom – the reader becomes hungry and thirsty for more. Navarra on the lips becomes an irresistible character.
Navarra Food and Wine
Navarra is located in Northern Spain, bordering Basque Country and Rioja. In addition to geographical borders, the region shares a 300-year historical ...
Spanish wine, rosato wine, rosado wine, wine

Wine of the Day, No. 359

So, let’s say you are weary, weary of chardonnay and perhaps a tad disenchanted with all the sauvignon blanc wines on the market and even — heaven forbid! — a bit cynical about riesling — or perhaps you just want to sip something different. Ta-dah! Of course I have just the white wine for you. It’s the Godelia Blanco 2015, from Bierzo, the wine region in northwest Spain, just above the border with Portugal. If you’re one of those wine consumers who likes to add interesting or obscure grapes to your list of accomplishments, you will be heartened to know that this wine is a blend of 80 percent godello grapes and 20 percent Doña Blanca. It’s made all in stainless steel tanks. The color is very pale straw-gold; initially, the nose is a subtle melange of hay and boxwood, roasted lemon and lemon balm that gradually unfurls notes of ...

How the Cork Gets from a Tree to Your Bottle

The cork wine stopper is synonymous with preservation – not only of the wine in the bottle but of a way of life for cork farmers and the natural ecosystem of the forest. The process has been the same for generations because the system is a sustainable network benefiting the local economy, the environment, and the industries that utilize cork – particularly the wine industry.
Catalonia, Portugal, eco-tour, sustainable travel, cork, wine bottles
The authenticity of the cork harvest. Courtesy: Cork Forest Alliance Bark to Bottle Eco-Tour
Cork grows naturally in only two areas of the world: the Mediterranean region of Europe – particularly the Iberian Peninsula, where Portugal and Spain produce more than 80% of the world’s cork – and, Northwest Africa. Los Alcornocales Natural Park – a name that literally means “the cork oak grove”  is the largest mass of cork oak on the Iberian Peninsula, and the cork woodlands are home to rich biodiversity including ...
sustainable, eco-travel, eco-tour
Champagne, sparkling wine, bubbly
Cork tree, rainforest, sustainable forestry, nature, ecology
cork harvest, sustainable agriculture, women in agriculture
trees, endangered species, Rainforest Alliance, WWF

Chef José Pizarro’s Top Foodie Tips for Spain

With a focus on simple, authentic Spanish cuisine, Chef José Pizarro has been at the forefront of bringing both traditional and innovative tapas to London. With three successful restaurants across the city, author of several Spanish cookbooks, and a regular on morning television shows, his career has taken him a long way from his farming background in Extremadura. Today, we’re honored to... Source

Wine of the Day, No. 340

It’s snowing in Memphis as I write this post, so let’s contemplate a summery wine. La Miranda Secastilla Garnacha Blanca 2015, from Spain’s Somontano region, is an absolute sweetheart of a quaffer that goes down like a golden meadow in a glass. I don’t want to oversell it; this is basically a simple and appealing wine that conveys an aura of authenticity. Aged four months in second-year French oak barrels, this garnacha blanca — what the French call grenache blanc in the Rhone Valley — offers a pale straw-yellow color and attractive aromas of bee’s-wax and lemon balm, cloves and camillia, with touches of spiced pear and heather and, just at the end, a shivery fillip of petrol. It’s sleek and silky on the palate, with flavors of yellow fruit animated by sun-bright acidity and a note of limestone minerality. If you happen to be braising cod tonight — there ...

30 Great Wine Bargains of 2017

I suspect that while many readers may find the annual roster of “50 Great Wines” interesting, they don’t necessarily find it essential. Today’s post, however — “30 Great Wine Bargains of 2017” — I hope will be greeted with expectation and gratitude. Who doesn’t love a bargain, especially when the price is attached to a wine that performs above its weight and class? Prices on this list range from about $7 to $20. Twenty-five of these selections rate Excellent, with the next five rated Very Good+, and each one offers a hefty and distinguishing serving of quality. The breakdown by genre is 15 white, 13 red and 2 rosé. By country or state: Italy 7; California 6; France 5; Spain 3; Germany 2; and one each from Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, Oregon, Portugal, South African and Washington. Whatever, it’s not the statistics that count but the wine inside the bottle. ...

12 Days of Christmas with Champagne & Sparkling Wine: 9th Day

Two renditions of brut rosé, one a Champagne that displays lovely style, tone and elegance, the other a well-crafted and delicious Cava from Spain. You pays yer money and you takes yer choice. These wines were samples for review.
For four generations, the parents and grandparents of André Jacquart only produced Champagne grapes. In 1958 André introduced a new spirit in the family, producing his own estate-bottled Champagne in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. Since 2004, Champagne André Jacquart has been located in the village of Vertus. Major work was undertaken, and the fifth generation, represented by Marie Doyard (the grandchild of André Jacquart) stepped in to run the business and inspire it with her own philosophy. Winemaker is Floriane Eznack. (Champagne André Jacquart should not be confused with Champagne Jacquart, a cooperative founded in 1964 that expanded from 30 to 1,800 growers today and for which Floriane Eznack is also the ...

A selection of sweet and fortified wines…

…beginning with sherry Barbadillo Manzanilla Pasada Pastora En Rama (2017 bottling), Spain (£9.99 per half Amazon, Cambridge Wine Merchants, Taurus Wines, Roberts and Speight, The Dorset Wine Co, Mumbles Fine Wine) Has the classic bracing briny edge of Manzanilla, but this is deeper in colour, and weightier, with pungest yeasty notes, greater depth of fruit […]

The Hidden Culinary Escapes of Barcelona

Sam Zucker is far from a Spanish native, but his passion and dedication to Spain has been profound. For years, he’s written on Catavino, not only infusing his writing with his love of food and wine, but for discovering the undiscovered nooks and crannies of Spain.  Sam Zucker’s Top Tips for Spain 1. You’ve been in Spain for a considerable amount of time, so what makes it such a... Source

Can a Rias Baixas Albariño Stand Up to Holiday Feasts?

2016 Granbazán Albariño

In March of this year we attended a Rias Baixas Albariño wine tasting at Succotash, a restaurant at National Harbor in Maryland. Although Albariño wines beg for seafood, at the Succotash restaurant we saw the versatility of this grape with southern cooking. One of my favorite pairings for this wine was the fried chicken on a biscuit with okra garnishing. The Albariño enhanced the food. This presentation of Albariño and the restaurant was organized by the New York firm Gregory White PR. Since the March tasting, the firm has sent us additional bottles of Albariño to taste.

2016 Martin Códax Albariño

We recently received two Albariños from Rias Baixas. Since Thanksgiving was just around the corner, we decided to see if this exotic white grape could stand up to the different flavors of a Thanksgiving meal. The wines included a 2016 Martin Códax Albariño and a ...