Rusty Sly: Viva La Spain! (Grape of the Night Announced for 4/5/10)

Valencia Wine Company held a Spanish Wine Tasting and Tapas class on March 20, 2010.  The class was led by VWC staff member Jeff Prange.  A selection of wines were chosen by Jeff which were accompanied by Spanish tapas prepared by Tracy Sly–a combination to further tantalize everyone’s palate. Spanish wines are very unique and below is the list of wines that were presented for tasting:

2007 Marques de Irun Verdejo – this white wine is 100% Verdejo grape.  The wine displayed a profile of light grass, citrus and subtle tropical fruits.

2007 Lagar de Cervera Albarino – this  white wine is made from the Albarino grape which is thought to be a clone from the Reisling varietal from the Alsace region of France. This wine displayed pear and peach with a little lemon to provide a slight citrus taste along with a buttery vanilla probably from American Oak barrels.

2008 Castillo del Baron Monastrell – This red wine is crafted of 100% Monastrell (Mourvedre) grape.  Deep colored with dark fruit, hints of cherries and cinnamon. Here is a prime candidate from Spain for Grape of the Night Rhone varietals that will be held at VWC on April 5, 2010.

2003 Vina Alberdi Rioja Reserva – This Rioja is made using Tempranillo and Grenache grapes.  This wine displayed characteristics of earth, mineral, cherry and blackberry.

2005 SolPost Montsant – A blend of 50% Garnache, 35% Carinena, and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine displayed plum and dark berry flavors with a long lasting finish.

Lustau Pedro Ximenez Sherry – Dark golden color, rich and sweet with the aroma and taste of brown sugar.  Sherry is matured through a system of barrels called the Solera System.  The Solera System takes wine from the bottom row of barrels which is then filled with younger wines.  At each stage about a third of wine is taken out and replaced with wine from the one above until the new wine of the year goes in.  In this way, the wine in each barrel is refreshed at least three times a year.  This allows the sherry wine to take on the characteristics of the older wine once blended.

To add to these fantastic examples of wines from Spain, Tracy presented various tapas in keeping with the Spanish theme.  This included delectable delights of:

Tuna and goat cheese empanadillas – which included capers, toasted pine nuts and pimento stuffed olives baked in a puff pastry.

Ensaladilla rusa (Spanish potato salad) -  made with carrots, peas, green beans, red bell pepper, capers, anchovy stuffed olives and of course potatoes.

Garlic marinated black olives – these were three days marinating in red wine vinegar, dash of lemon juice with garlic and dried red chiles.

Ajillo mushrooms – this is prepared in olive oil, dry sherry, lemon juice with garlic and Spanish paprika.  In keeping with tradition it is served with crusty bread to mop up the delicious juices.

The class on wines from Spain was very informative and inspired interaction with those in attendance.  Jeff provided great examples of many different grape varietals as well as regions of Spain.  Even though this was not a wine pairing class, the appetizers served provided a good overview of how different styles of foods and wines can be combined to provide for a great experience.

Rusty Sly

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