This week’s installment of Wine Essentials, the fourth in a series of six, introduced us to the wines produced in the warmer regions of France and Spain. We began with a light and dry Sherry then slowly made our way to the dark and smoky Rioja Reserva. Our final stop was marked with a sip of Matusalem Oloroso Dulce Muy Viejo, an amber-colored wine tasting of prunes and figs.
Each sip of Spanish wine brought back memories from the time I spent studying in Seville, where the sangria and the salmonella (shout out to my señora for almost killing me) were aplenty. I found that last week’s red wine epiphany has left me with an open mind and a less nervous palette when it comes to swirling, sniffing and sipping several heavier-bodied reds.
But what would Spanish wine be without tapas? We snacked on warm roasted almonds, fresh Manchego, olives and sardines as accompaniments to the 11 wines included in the evening’s tasting. An interesting side note – the concept of tapas allegedly evolved as a way to keep flies out of wine by placing a piece of bread on top of the wine glass to cover it. As time passed additional tastes were added on top of the bread, eventually turning into the countless hot and cold tapas we enjoy today. So pick your favorite Spanish bites, or check out my pairings below and let the tasting and toasting begin!
Just a Taste Recipe + Wine Pairings:
- Sweet and Spicy Roasted Nuts + Jerez, Manzanilla, “La Gitana,” Bodegas Hidalgo NV ($23)
- Noni’s Baby Back Ribs + Ribera del Duero, Pesquera 2006 ($32 …. ribs and wine, why not!)
- Vanilla-Poached Pears + Jerez, Matusalem Oloroso Dulce Muy Viejo, G. Byass ($65)
- Chocolate Bread Pudding + Barossa Valley, Shiraz, “Entity,” J. Duval Wines 2006 ($40)
A look back: