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Queso y Vino March 23rd enews: Rare Grape Finds & Lamb Koftes!

Hello to all my wonderful friends & foodie family!

So much good wine to talk about this week, so I hope you are ready. Foodportunity Had a blast at yesterday's Foodportunity, (photo borrowed from The Frantic Foodie herself!) which is a must-go event for all Seattle foodies out there. Great food, interesting peeps, & so nice to be back in the world with my foodie family at last!

Talking & scheming with chefs about places for upcoming Queso y Vino dinners, so there should be some fun events coming up in the near future. Don't want to jinx myself by giving too much away, so stay tuned...

Enjoy the glorious weather, this week's wine recommendations, & hope to see you all soon. See the upcoming events listed below.

Besitos,
Catherine Reynolds
Presidenta, Queso y Vino, 206-518-1166, quesoyvino@gmail.com

I now have a Facebook fanpage so please become a fan!!!! It's where to stay ahead of the curve on events, new wines I'm recommending, & general food gossip. I keep up with gourmand Twittering for you... Oh yeah, you can follow me as quesoyvino there too.
_______________________________________________
UPCOMING EVENTS

Flamenco shows at Taberna del Alabardero!Viewer
Jesus Montoya will be performing with guitarist Jose Tanaka & dancers
on March 25, 26 27 (with 2 performance times!)
Attend both the show & dinner for $65, or take in the show only in the bar for $20

I am not organizing this event (just attending!), so call Taberna for reservations at (206)448-8884

Croquetas de Jamon y Pollo
Iberico Ham and Chicken Croquettes
Pincho de Jamon Serrano
Serrano Ham on Tomato-Rubbed Toasted French Bread
************************
Gazpacho de Remolacha
Red Beet Gazpacho with Goat Cheese Mousse
************************
Paella Mixta
Mixed Paella, Made with Saffron Rice, Chicken, Shellfish and Vegetables
************************
Panacotta de Frutos Rojos

Harvest Vine wine & tapas April 20th (menu forthcoming)
Stay tuned for
Olivar
and other special appearances in the works  
__________________________________________________

Jamie GRILLED LAMB KOFTE KEBABS WITH PISTACHIOS & SPICY SALAD WRAP from Jamie at Home:Cook Your Way to the Good Life by Jamie Oliver

The Facebook fan club asked for this recipe when I mentioned making it this week, so you got it! Hopefully we have more beautiful grilling weather in our future. We have a meat-grinder attachment on our Kitchen aid, so we went for grinding our own, but already ground lamb (or as we found, even buffalo!) works with this tasty recipe. Tofuboy, are you really upset with me now? It was pasture-raised lamb from a family in OR's Umpqua Valley!

Serves 4

1 lb trimmed shoulder, or neck filletof lamb, chopped into 1-inch chunks

2 heaped Tbs fresh thyme leaves
1 level Tbs ground chili pepper

1 level Tbs ground cumin
4 level Tbs sumac, if you can find any, or finely grated zest of 1 lemon
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
a good handful of shelled pistachio nuts
a few handfuls of mixed salad leaves, such as romaine, endive & arugula, washed, spun, dry & shredded
a small bunch of fresh mint, leaves picked
1 red onion, peeled & very finely sliced
1 lemon
a bunch of flat leaf parsley, leaves picked
extra virgin olive oil
4 large flatbreads or tortilla wraps
4 heaped Tbs plain yogurt

This dish is best cooked  on a barbecue over hot coals, but if that's not possible, put your broiler on to its highest setting or heat up a griddle pan. Either way, get your heat source preheated.

Place the lamb in a food processor with most of the thyme, chili, cumin, & sumac (reserving a little of each for sprinkling over later), a little salt & pepper, & all of the pistachios. Put the lid on & keep pulsing until the mixture looks like ground meat.

Divide the meat into 4 equal pieces & get yourself 4 skewers. With damp hands, push and shape the meat around and along each skewer. Press little indents in the meat with your fingers as you go--this will give it better texture when cooked.

In one bowl, mix the salad leaves & mint. In another, combine the sliced onion with a good pinch of salt & pepper & a squeeze of lemon juice (the acidity will take the edge off & slightly pickle the raw onion). Scrunch this all together with your hands, then mix in the parsley leaves.

Grill the kebabs until nicely golden on all sides. Dress your salad leaves & mint with a splash of extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice & some salt & pepper. Meanwhile, warm your flatbreads for 30 seconds on your griddle pan or under the broiler, then divide between plates.& top each with some dressed salad leaves & onion. When your kebabs are cooked, slip them off their skewers onto the flatbreads--you can leave them whole or break them up. Sprinkle with the rest of the sumac, cumin, chili & fresh thyme, & a little salt & pepper. Now either toss the salads, grilled meat & juices together on top of the flatbreads & drizzle with some yogurt before rolling up & serving; or let your friends toss theirs together at the table, then dress & roll up their own, drizzled with some extra virgin olive oil.

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THIS WEEK'S QUESO Y VINO WINE RECOMMENDATIONS
I offer a 10% discount on whole or mixed cases, free delivery for orders over $150, smaller orders will be conveniently & gladly delivered to you for the nominal fee of $10. Start a buying club & I'll waive the delivery fee! Ask me if you'd like to arrange a free pick up at the Saturday University Farmer's Market or Sunday at the Ballard Farmer's Market or the West Seattle Farmer's Market. We're usually there from a window of 10:30 until noon depending on our order requests, and can be around to meet you before or after your market shopping.

Tn Verasol TN Tempranillo 2008, Navarra $9.99
Verasol MCS.J Monastrell 2008, Jumilla $9.99
I'm extremely excited to have brand new $10 Spanish reds to offer you. The Verasol wines are the project of respected winemaker Pedro Sarrion, whose mission is to search out old vines & native grapes from up & coming wine regions. The wines are all aged without oak to show off the true nature of the varietals & their indigenous grapes. Modern, fun, true.
TN Tempranillo comes from the southern slopes of the Pyreness & tastes a bit like a sassy Grenache. My co-taster Naomi Andrade said, "this is Good" when we were going through a big line up of new wines. TN is light, supple, easy with cherry acidity. Clean & fruity, a totally enjoyable quaff, with violet essence & a spicy finish.
The MCS.J pops with fragrant bramble berries, smoky juicy plums, baked pie fruits, cloves & blackberry. Juicy, spicy & peppery with a licorice stick finish. Both GREAT wines for so little.

Casa de Mouraz Organic 2006, Dao $10.99
Mouraz Lovely, lovely, lovely. Casa de Mouraz was one of the first in the Dao to go organic & then biodynamic, hence the ladybugs on the label. There are even several holdings that go back to the 16th century, & the vineyards coexist with pine, oak, chestnut & cork tree forests. The granite soil & gentle 8 months in oak create a delightful wine, with feminine leanings. 40% Touriga Nacional, 30% Tinta Roriz, 20% Jaen, 5% Agua and 5% Alfrocheiro. Inviting red raspberry nose, supple, pliable body, an approachability that keeps leading you back to the glass. I am very happy to find this wine.
 
Maritavora 2004, Douro $10.99 (reg. $18.99)
This wine has some serious Douro grip! Bang for the buck, baby. The father of poet Guerra Junqueiro bought a group of farms in the mid-19th century, and this upper-Douro Quinta was founded in 2004 by someone who worked with the Niepoorts. Quinta-da-maritavora-2004 Their practices are the perfect confluence of past & present. 40% of the wine is foot-trodden & fermented in traditional stone lagares. Then 40% of the wine is aged in French oak for 12 months. The flavor from this blend of Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, & Touriga Nacional is a big & bold Douro mouthful. Crushed rock, candied cherries, this was fantastic with a bowl of black olives. Serve this meaty red with Fillet of Beef with Porcini, Olive, & Manchego Butter from Spanish Kitchen by Jane Lawson. I think it's a little too big for a Portuguese duck recipe.
-90 points, Wine & Spirits

Chateau Douley Premeieres Cotes du Bordeaux 2006, Bordeaux $11.99 (reg. $13.99)
Adamsfrenchvineyards_chateau_douley_label This delightful French wine came home in my husband's bag, where it was passed from Bruce Naftaly's kitchen at Le Gourmand to ours. Bruce liked it too, I hear... This hails from the east bank of the Gironde River, surrounded by the pricey & prestigious regions of Pomerol & St. Emilion. This is 80% smooth Merlot, & a balance of spicy Cab Franc & Cab Sauvignon. Smooth & fleshy with dusty plum skins, allspice, & green pepper, and a flourish of violets on the finish. Bring this bistro-style wine into your home & enjoy Marjolaine de Coninck's work.

Guimaro Mencia 2008, Ribeira Sacra $14.99 (reg. $16.99)Guimaro vines
Calling all Mencia lovers, this is a lovely example of how good this pocket of Spain can get, at price tag I can get a handle on. Guimaro exemplifies the Mencia grape, which is that exotic Galician varietal that some say may be related to Cab Franc. Young winemaker Pedro Rodriguez Pérez lives and works in the tiny village of Sober (ironic eh?), where he is one of only nine residents. Can you imagine?! The average vine age for his project is 40 years. But this is the kicker: grapes are grown on the slopes of Ribeira Sacra, so steep, they recall The Mosel with vines on slopes up to 75 degrees. "Working these vines requires a fully manual operation. Grapes are harvested into baskets worn on pickers’ backs, moved by small carts on tracks down the steep hillside, and, finally paddled back to the cellar along the Rio Sil." Incredible! A feminine & elegant expression of the grape, with typical white pepper & pomegranate flavors, redolent with silken spice. Mineral sanguinal aspect typical of the grape, this is true elegance with a slightly ripe finish. Another for vine geeks & anyone up for pleasant dinner company.

Fitz-Ritter Riesling Extra Trocken Sekt, Pfalz $19.99 (reg. $21.99)
Fitz haus Sekt means "sparkling wine" in this region of the world, and this bubbly is one of the most fascinating & delightful finds I've come upon lately... A bottle that screams spring, Fitz-Ritter will satisfy wine geeks along with all your Easter brunch guests. This is 100% old-vine Riesling from the sunny micro-climate of the Middle-Haardt region. The family has been producing since 1785, & is one of the earliest producers of Sekt, now on its 8th generation. One of the oldest producers in the Pfalz, this scenic winery is graced with almond trees planted between the vineyards. Just another lovely fact about it. It was instant love for me. Salty, springy, & ever-so floral, this has acidity in spades to make it an intellectual's quaff, or a truly versatile food wine. I am so excited to sell this!Sparkling riesling

Didn't find your perfect wine this week? Go with a

Specially Selected Six-Pack!
This has been such a successful way to serve you that I say we shall continue this tradition, holidays or not. You pick the theme and price level you want to pay & I'll mix and match from my favorites in the cellar. Limited quantities, thoughtfully selected.

Choose your juice theme & your 6-pack price level:


The Pride of Portugal $60; $75; $100


Savor South America $60; $75


Celebrate Spain $60; $75; $100

Great Grenache $60; $75; $100

Throwing a Party  $50; $60; $75; $100


On my Madeleine blog, I have created a tip jar (click on link to the left above), and I hope if you get something from my writing but don't want to order anything--maybe a recipe idea for an upcoming dinner, or wine advice that you put to use elsewhere--I hope you'll slip a couple of bucks in the jar from time to time. It's like sending your pledge money to public radio, only I don't interrupt the airwaves for a fund drive.Thank you & enjoy!!!!!!


Copyright, queso y vino 2010

Queso y Vino March 17th enews: Scallops ala Arzak & No Green Beer For Sale

Hello to all my wonderful friends & foodie family!

Article_Spain - Flamenco Poster Spring is in the air... I just read it's going to be 67 on Saturday! The Mobile Chowdown was a lot of fun & it was great to see some of you there amongst the queues. I guess we should be thankful that it was a little chilly instead of the forecast we have for this Saturday. The lines would have been to the stadium. Also had a great time at the Art of the Table anniversary party--I was listed as a food "celeb" sighted at the party :)

And attended an amazing tasting at Via Tribunali with Small Vineyards this week & I can't wait to start selling their Italian line up.

But I have much to tell you about that is available right now. Brought home lots of new wines & have been tasting away. My work is never done :) I now have a Facebook fanpage so please become a fan!!!! It's where to stay ahead of the curve on events, new wines I'm recommending, & general food gossip. I keep up with gourmand Twittering for you... Oh yeah, you can follow me as quesoyvino there too. Into the 21st century I go!

Oh & happy St. Paddy's Day all you O'Hara's... I'm wearing my green garden clogs. A fava is sprouting outside in a determined spring way.

Besitos,
Catherine Reynolds (O'Hara)
Presidenta, Queso y Vino, 206-518-1166, quesoyvino@gmail.com
_______________________________________________
UPCOMING EVENTS

Rest_pic Stay tuned for Harvest Vine wine & tapas April 20th
and other special appearances in the works  
__________________________________________________

SCALLOPS WITH PISTACHIO VINAGRETTE from The New Spanish Table by Anya von Bremzen

Even my friend Chef D. at Art of the Table loves this cookbook! I made this recipe for my friend & blogger Seattle Tall Poppy (who took this gorgeous shot of food porn) a few summers ago & she was wowed by it's restaurant-like appearance. No surprise, the recipe came from Basque super-star Juan Mari Arzak of San Sebastian. Scallops So while I associate this dish sunny summer weather under our umbrella table on the deck, I was amazed to see scallops on the University Farmer's Market fresh sheet for this week. Here's where you can check out what's Ripe and Ready in town. Ready, set, make your shopping list! They're predicting a balmy 67 degrees for Saturday!

Makes 6    

1/2 cup Txakoli (a Basque white wine) or Portuguese Vinho Verde
2 Tbs white wine vinegar
1 medium-size garlic clove, crushed with a garlic press
1 Tbs minced shallot
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup light olive oil, plus more for brushing the scallops
1 small pinch of sugar
Coarse salt (kosher or sea) & freshly ground black pepper
18 sea scallops
A handful of baby lettuces, for garnish
2 Tbs minced chives
1/3 cup lightly toasted unsalted pistachios, finely chopped or coarsely ground

Place the wine in a small saucepan over medium-high heat & cook until reduced to about 1/4 cup, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the wine to a bowl & whisk into the vinegar, garlic, shallot, & lemon juice. Gradually whisk in the olive oil, then season the vinaigrette with the sugar & salt & pepper to taste. Let the vinaigrette stand while you prepare the scallops.

Light the grill & preheat it to medium or preheat a ridged grill pan to medium-hot over medium heat.

Soak 6 bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes. Pat the scallops dry with paper towels & lightly sprinkle salt & pepper over them. Thread the scallops on the skewers through the sides, placing 3 scallops on each skewer. Brush both sides of the scallops with olive oil.

Grill the scallops, working batches if necessary, until just opaque inside & lightly browned on the outside, about 3 minutes per side.


To serve, place each skewer on a small appetizer plate & arrange a few leaves alongside. Stir in the chives & the pistachios into the vinaigrette & dab some vinaigrette on the scallops. Serve at once.
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THIS WEEK'S QUESO Y VINO WINE RECOMMENDATIONS
I offer a 10% discount on whole or mixed cases, free delivery for orders over $150, smaller orders will be conveniently & gladly delivered to you for the nominal fee of $10. Start a buying club & I'll waive the delivery fee! Ask me if you'd like to arrange a free pick up at the Saturday University Farmer's Market or Sunday at the Ballard Farmer's Market or the West Seattle Farmer's Market. We're usually there from a window of 10:30 until noon depending on our order requests, and can be around to meet you before or after your market shopping. Farm mkt pick


Don Tiburcio 2006, Mendoza $9.99
Bring on the rub-your-eyes-at-the-price factor--I love direct imports so much. The Benegas-Lynch family immigrated from France & has one of the flagship properties in the Argentine wine industry. Out of all the Benegas wines this one is named after Don (the MAN!), Tiburcio Benegas, who started Trapiche & founded the wine industry in Mendoza, so you better believe it's good. A plush blend of Malbec, Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, & Merlot, this is Bordeaux beauty at South American prices. Sumptuous plump black cherry juice & rolling currant liqueur, topped off with roasted vanilla bean finish. My goodness this is wonderful for TEN BUCKS!!!!!

Podere Il Caio Roso Umbria Sangiovese Merlot 2008, Rosso Umbria $11.99

You should see their gorgeous agriturismo. Umbria is a modest wine region (look at this price) east of Tuscany, north of Rome, in the "green heart of Italy". Corbara Perfect for St. Patrick's Day! This Sangio Merlot blend has a little Cab & Montepulciano thrown in for good measure, & it swept me off my feet. It spends a brief 3-5 months in cask which keeps it fresh, but solid with raspberry, black cassis, ground pepper mill, & juicy plum preserves. I happily drank this with last week's recipe for Minestra with cabbage, wheat berries & sausage--perfect pairing, perfect price.

Chateau de Pena Rivesaltes Ambre, Rivesaltes $11.99
This delicious & tres interessant wine is hard to classify as it is recommended as an aperitif, with foie gras, & chocolate tart (not all at once) by the producer. That's a lot of latitude! We served this at Art of the Table with olive oil cake & a sweet orange compote-mmmm. A blend of Grenache Rouge, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris aged for 3 years in large French oak barrels. This comes from the foothills of Corbieres in the heart of the Rousillon in Francce, but is still culturally a Catalan area. Beautiful plump apricot jelly, gingerbread & caramel, butterscotch & toffee, spiced bitter oranges.Lightly nutty & smoky. A steal of a dessert wine that doesn't have to be for dessert.

Fico Prosecco, Veneto $12.99
Bring on Spring! We popped this open to try with some Korean tacos & it went hand in hand, even though that blend of cultures is quite a mouthful. This is ready for a pile of cured meats & cheeses. I've written about the Botter family's achievements in the past & this Prosecco is grown on the hills of Venice, where I hope to return to some day. Their Proseco vines benefit from over 25 years of age, but this bubbly has a lovely youthful vernal feel. Dry white peaches, light on its feet, fine bubbles. Not to be confused with sweeter styles. You could definitely have this with prosciutto-wrapped figs.

Vevi 2008, Rueda $13.99Vevi_08Rueda
Vevi is like the fireworks of forsythia blooming on the crest of my lawn: a golden harbinger of spring. A lovely new Verdejo with some Viura to round it out, this is as clean as its package. Explodes with Pomelo, Buddha's Hand citron, & a zesty punch. Super crisp style, I loved it with saag paneer & a chickpea/eggplant side on our dinner table. Absolutely refreshing, clean, & affordable. Oak lovers, there's nothing for you here.

Hazana Semi-Crianza 2007, Rioja $13.99
This new Rioja tastes as good as it looks. Hazana translates as a literary "heroic feat" & that it is, a tasty Rioja with a handsome price. This is made at Vinicola Real, with its labyrinthine tunnels, where barrels age in the side of a mountain. Everything else about this Rioja feels deliciously modern. The semi-crianza is aged in new French & American oak for 6 months, just enough to give backbone, but not overwhelm the wondrous orchard fruit contained inside. Plums, spice & earth circle the nose, roses on the palate, this is solid & smooth with supple dark cherries. This is a new generation of Rioja not to miss out on.

Benaza_godello Benaza Godello 2008, Monterrei $14.99
I've never seen a wine here from Monterrei, even though it appears to have become a DO in '96. This wine also contains a grape I've never seen listed called "Dona Blanca". Cool! Monterrei borders on Portugal, in the valleys of the Tamega River--it has a different climate than other Galician DO's as it is warm & dry, which can be tasted in the wine. Benaza uses 30-50 year old vines, so this Godello has wonderful weight. Stonefruits, apricot, & white nectarines flood from the glass, with zingy & spicy citrus rind, plus zesty minerals. An absolutely delightful wine I'm taken with, & a great match for this week's almost-Galician scallop recipe.

Borsao Crianza Seleccion 2006, Campo de Borja $14.99Bors big
This was the big hit out of the line up we tried this weekend with my tasting crew. I've gone to visit Borsao & the wonderful thing about these guys is that it is a mass effort--the day I arrived at the winery they took us out in dozens of all-drive vehicles & we went right to the vineyards, ducking grape vines and bumping along instead of examining all their pumps & tanks. Just the way I like it! The nose is pure sumptuous berries, boysenberry freezer jam. This is plump as a pin cushion, but not overly ripe or sweet. #1 at our Sunday evening taste off, & I have to say a handsome new label of Moorish-looking tile adds to the appeal.
"Dense and balanced, this polished red carries plum, blackberry, black pepper and tar flavors. Muscular tannins are well-integrated, and fresh acidity carries coffee, floral and mint notes through the finish. Tasted twice with consistent notes. Drink now through 2014" -92 points, Wine Spectator

Joao Portugal Ramos Falua Conde de Vimioso Reserva 2003, Ribatejo $19.99 (was $27.99)
You don't get more legendary that JP Ramos. Infamous for his Moscatel de Setubal wines, he's also known as a trendsetter & was one of the first to put Alentejo on the map. Now the hottest Portuguese wine region on the map, Alentejo wines are recognized for their deep earthy flavors & structures, but Vimioso from neighboring Ribatejo has a royal elegance about it. A large but undisclosed amount of Touriga Nacional gives itself away with a nose of pure blueberry & garrigue. Very dark plum hue with good acid & elegance, soil tones & a charcoal note.
"Rich, full-bodied palate. Deep, sweet ripe fruit. Great balance." -Decanter

Didn't find your perfect wine this week? Go with a

Specially Selected Six-Pack!
This has been such a successful way to serve you that I say we shall continue this tradition, holidays or not. You pick the theme and price level you want to pay & I'll mix and match from my favorites in the cellar. Limited quantities, thoughtfully selected.

Choose your juice theme & your 6-pack price level:


The Pride of Portugal $60; $75; $100


Savor South America $60; $75


Celebrate Spain $60; $75; $100

Great Grenache $60; $75; $100

Throwing a Party  $50; $60; $75; $100

I have created a tip jar and I hope if you get something from my writing but don't want to order anything--maybe a recipe idea for an upcoming dinner, or wine advice that you put to use elsewhere--I hope you'll slip a couple of bucks in the jar from time to time. It's like sending your pledge money to public radio, only I don't interrupt the airwaves for a fund drive.Thank you & enjoy!!!!!!


Copyright, queso y vino 2010

Queso y Vino March 10th enews: Meet Me @ the Mobile Chowdown & Apricot Nectar

Hello to all my wonderful friends & foodie family!

Big dusty LOTS OF EXCITING NEWS THIS WEEK. Tonight is our Art of the Table event & I am so excited for Q y V's dinner #2, back in action. Since I didn't take the RSVP's this time, I have no idea of who's coming! Surprise... Looking forward to seeing you, and the olive oil cake with honey ice cream!

I worked late last night on bringing to life the previous newsletter on my blog last night. Both this & last week's wines are readily available. Take a look below & actually get to SEE the wines I've been talking about. We seem to have misplaced our camera, but if you took some at Art of the Table or Gaudi, send them along.

Oh & I almost forgot... This week I want you to meet me somewhere different: Mobile Chowdown III !!!!!!! This Saturday we have the opportunity to get down with the best food trucks of Seattle & Portland. I could not be more excited. I talked with one of the organizers, & they have agreed to let me hand off wine orders at this food extravaganza. After my recent trip to Portland I am all about the food truck scene & I can't believe it's happening here! Check out the folks you've been hearing about like Marination Mobile, Skillet, Whiffies. It's a dream come true. Bring cash for the trucks...I take checks, cash, or credit card info (which I can charge at home beforehand). The food fest starts at 10 am & goes until at least 1 pm. There's free parking & here's a map & info on this ultra-foodie event.

Also, I have set up a fan page for Queso y Vino on Facebook. Become a fan & get updates, sneak previews on events, heads up on special wine finds, share your reviews & news... Be my FB friend & thank you so much!!!!!

Besitos,
Catherine Reynolds
Presidenta, Queso y Vino, 206-518-1166, quesoyvino@gmail.com
_______________________________________________
UPCOMING EVENTS

 Art of the Table ... March 10th  
Stay tuned for
Harvest Vine / Txori     April
and other special appearances in the works   hmmm, things are heating up!
__________________________________________________

CELERY ROOT CREAM WITH BACON from Pork & Sons by Stephane Reynaud

PorkandSons Just when we were all firing up our barbecues here in Seattle we got snow.  I know, play me a tiny violin all of you in other parts of the world who really got hit with snow, but the heat's back on full blast, the cover's back on the grill, & soup is sounding appealing again. I believe you can still find some gnarled rounds of celeriac at the farmer's markets, & there's plenty of choices for small producer bacon from Samish Bay at UD, B’Way & WS. Wooly Pigs at UD and WS. Sea Breeze Farm at UD and WS. Skagit River Ranch at UD.  See what's ripe & ready this week at the link above!

Serves 6    

1 slice of dry-cured ham, such as prosciutto

2 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 celery root, cut into cubes
2 large potatoes, cut into cubes
1 leek, white part only, chopped
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
scant 1/2 cup heavy cream
scant 1 cup fresh whole milk
6 thin slices of smoked bacon

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Place the prosciutto in an ovenproof dish & dry out in the oven for 30 minutes, until crisp, then crumble, & set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the onion & cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until light golden brown. Increase the heat to medium, add the celery root, potatoes, leek, & nutmeg, pour in water to cover, & bring to a boil. Lower the heat & simmer for 30 minutes.

Transfer the vegetables & cooking liquid to a blender & process to a puree. Return to the pan, stir in the cream, & season lightly with salt & pepper. Preheat the broiler.

Transfer scant 1 cup of the soup to another pan, add the milk, & heat to just below boiling point, whisking with a hand-held blender until frothy.

Broil the bacon for 2-4 minutes on each side & reheat the soup, but do not let it boil. Ladle the soup into serving bowls, top with the frothy mousse, sprinkle with the crumbled ham, & add a slice of bacon to each.

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THIS WEEK'S QUESO Y VINO WINE RECOMMENDATIONS
I offer a 10% discount on whole or mixed cases, free delivery for orders over $150, smaller orders will be conveniently & gladly delivered to you for the nominal fee of $10. Start a buying club & I'll waive the delivery fee! Ask me if you'd like to arrange a free pick up at Saturday's http://www.seattlemag.com/0p66ev1967/mobile-chowdown-round-iii/ Mobile Chowdown!!! or Sunday at the Ballard Farmer's Market or the West Seattle Farmer's Market. We're usually there from a window of 10:30 until noon depending on our order requests, and can be around to meet you before or after your market shopping.

Marinada 2007, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla $6.99
This had always been one of my favorite cheapies, & I am happy to say Marinada has a fresh look for spring. Macabeo is akin to Spain's Pinot Grigio, and almost always appears in a fresh, unoaked style. For the money, it's hard to argue with juicy clean fruit & a bargain basement price. I've sold this to many a customer who was having a party, an event, or wedding, always with great results. Juicy pineapple & guava, apricot, a touch of pie crust, with a slightly salty finish. Ahhh, the sun came out just writing about it.

Benegas__37126_std Don Tiburcio 2006, Mendoza $9.99
This is definitely the steal of the week. Bring on the rub-your-eyes-at-the-price factor--I love direct imports so much. The Benegas-Lynch family immigrated from France & has one of the flagship properties in the Argentine wine industry. Out of all the Benegas wines this one is named after Don (the MAN!), Tiburcio Benegas, who started Trapiche & founded the wine industry in Mendoza, so you better believe it's good. A plush blend of Malbec, Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, & Merlot, this is Bordeaux beauty at South American prices. Sumptuous plump black cherry juice & rolling currant liqueur, topped off with roasted vanilla bean finish. My goodness this is wonderful for TEN BUCKS!!!!!

Chateau de Pena Rivesaltes Ambre, Rivesaltes $11.99Rivesalte
This delicious & tres interessant wine is hard to classify as it is recommended as an aperitif, with foie gras, & chocolate tart (not all at once) by the producer. That's a lot of latitude! We will be serving this one tonight at Art of the Table with olive oil cake & a sweet orange compote-mmmm. A blend of Grenache Rouge, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris aged for 3 years in large French oak barrels. This comes from the foothills of Corbieres in the heart of the Rousillon in Francce, but is still culturally a Catalan area. Beautiful plump apricot jelly, gingerbread & caramel, butterscotch & toffee, spiced bitter oranges.Lightly nutty & smoky. A steal of a dessert wine that doesn't have to be for dessert.

Hazana Semi-Crianza 2007, Rioja $13.99
Hazana This new Rioja tastes as good as it looks. Hazana translates as a literary "heroic feat" & that it is, a tasty Rioja with a handsome price. This is made at Vinicola Real, with its labyrinthine tunnels, where barrels age in the side of a mountain. Everything else about this Rioja feels deliciously modern. The semi-crianza is aged in new French & American oak for 6 months, just enough to give backbone, but not overwhelm the wondrous orchard fruit contained inside. Plums, spice & earth circle the nose, roses on the palate, this is solid & smooth with supple dark cherries. This is a new generation of Rioja not to miss out on.

Didn't find your perfect wine this week? Go with a

Specially Selected Six-Pack!
This has been such a successful way to serve you that I say we shall continue this tradition, holidays or not. You pick the theme and price level you want to pay & I'll mix and match from my favorites in the cellar. Limited quantities, thoughtfully selected.

Choose your juice theme & your 6-pack price level:


The Pride of Portugal $60; $75; $100


Savor South America $60; $75


Celebrate Spain $60; $75; $100

Great Grenache $60; $75; $100

Throwing a Party  $50; $60; $75; $100


On my Madeleine blog, I have created a tip jar (click on link upper left hand corner), and I hope if you get something from my writing but don't want to order anything--maybe a recipe idea for an upcoming dinner, or wine advice that you put to use elsewhere--I hope you'll slip a couple of bucks in the jar from time to time. It's like sending your pledge money to public radio, only I don't interrupt the airwaves for a fund drive.Thank you & enjoy!!!!!!


Copyright, queso y vino 2010

Queso y Vino March 2nd enews: Greenwich Village Spinach & a Baker's Dozen

Hello to all my wonderful friends & foodie family!

Cherryblf How was Portland? This haiku-esque tweet I wrote on Sunday morning sums it up pretty nicely, "love is waking up slow after a moonlit stroll under the pdx cherry blossoms. rhubarb blush @ whiskeybar, pok pok, pix patis sweetness"
I would love to have some buying clubs down south so I can have an excuse to go more often!

Thirteen exciting wines this week & a recipe to help edge us into spring eating. Many thanks to my friends in Portland for showing me much kindness. My palate is blossoming, and I am infatuated with wine again. I hope you're as thirsty as me, and see you at the farmer's market...

Besitos,
Catherine Reynolds
Presidenta, Queso y Vino, 206-518-1166, quesoyvino@gmail.com

_______________________________________________
UPCOMING EVENTS

 Art of the Table ... March 10th   Waiting list!
Stay tuned for
Harvest Vine / Txori     next ???
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SPINACH SALAD WITH PEARS, SPICED WALNUTS, & RICOTTA SALATA from The Flavors of Southern Italy by Erica DeMane

Flavors I am so excited about the new cookbooks I got in Portland. As someone who worked in the publishing industry & gourmet retail, I love supporting independent stores such as Powell's & In Good Taste. It was extremely hard to choose a recipe out of this new book, so expect to see more!  I see wild spot prawns are available from Fishing Vessel Hat Trick at the U Market for one more week... This would make a great side with those beauties, & is apparently based on a salad served at Grano Trattoria in NYC.                     

WALNUTS

A few drops of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup very fresh walnut halves
Pinch of salt
4 scrapings freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of sugar
Pinch of cayenne pepper

DRESSING
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil

SALAD
2 unpeeled ripe pears, cored & thinly sliced (red Anjou are especially pretty for this)
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1 shallot, very thinly sliced
1 small chunk ricotta salata

Heat a medium saute pan over medium-low heat for 1 minute. Add all the spiced-walnut ingredients & saute until the walnuts are fragrant & lightly toasted, 3 or 4 minutes.

TO MAKE THE DRESSING: In a small bowl, combine the garlic, lemon juice, salt, & pepper. Whisk in the olive oil.

Decorate the rims of 4 salad plates with the pear slices.

Put the spinach & shallot in a medium salad bowl. Remove the garlic from the dressing. Add the dressing to the salad & toss. Divide the salad among the 4 plates. Shave or crumble some ricotta salata over each salad & garnish with the walnuts. Serve right away.

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Hard at work

THIS WEEK'S QUESO Y VINO WINE RECOMMENDATIONS
I offer a 10% discount on whole or mixed cases, free delivery for orders over $150, smaller orders will be conveniently & gladly delivered to you for the nominal fee of $10. Start a buying club & I'll waive the delivery fee! Ask me if you'd like to arrange a free pick up at the Saturday University Farmer's Market or Sunday at the Ballard Farmer's Market or the West Seattle Farmer's Market. We're usually there from a window of 10:30 until noon depending on our order requests, and can be around to meet you before or after your market shopping.

La Fiera Pinot Grigio 2009, Venteo special intro price $7.99 (reg. $8.99)
LaFiera_logo  "We're captive on the carousel of time" --Joni Mitchell. Here's to one captivating Pinot Grigio! This is not rocket science, but after tasting this fair Pinot (pardon the pun) and think of how many disappointing PG's I've had in Italian restaurants I wonder, why??? You don't have to pay a lot to get a great Pinot Grigio, you just need a good source. The Botter family knows their stuff. They are 3rd generation wine makers, with a rebirth in 2000 under son Luca who has gone with environmentally friendly practices. What really makes the difference here is that the grapes are immediately pressed and cooled after picking.Very fragrant nose of ice box peaches, soft, smooth, satiny crenshaw melons. Along with one of the $10 Chardonnays I've mentioned of late, this is a sure bet wedding wine of the summer, and generally great quaffer to have around the house. Funny, Zazou just came on the iPod, the gypsy swing band we had at our pastoral wedding in Poulsbo!

Alves de Sousa Estacao 2005, Douro $8.99
This is a lovely little bargain that made me happy to taste this morning, even though I spit. Estacao is a blend of 5 traditional port varietals from an award-winning family winery that has kept with the times and created a wonderfully drinkable red that's as soft as a ripe raspberry dangling on a summer vine. Winemaker Alves de Sousa is known for his style of "honest" wines, & is a founding member of the Independent Wine Growers Association, plus the only vintner to be awarded the "Producer of the Year" twice (1999, 2006) by Revista de Vinhos, Portugal’s prestigious wine magazine. Creamy vanilla bean sweetness, super-ripe roasted strawberries, & a plump/clean attitude make this a stand-out for the money. My mouth was left with the flavor of freshly spread jam on toast. Can you tell I tasted this at breakfast time? Fantastic deal.

Quinta da Prelada 2007, Douro $9.99
Amen, a new Portuguese table wine to recommend for $10. Prelada is known for their port wines, but this tinto is a taste of old world tradition mixed with present-day concentration & nerve. The Quinta was established way back in 1756, but like many Douro companies, it sold most of their grapes to port producers. In 2005, they reorganized & released their first table wine from the Cima Corgo. Dark forest floor aromas, ripe & rich raspberries/black currants with veins of anise. This is a traditional-feeling wine with modern flair & care put into the bottle: hand-harvested with low yields, yet low prices.

Puydeval_Syrah_300dpi_Label_thumb Puydeval "Chevalier" Syrah 2008, Vin de Pays d'Oc $9.99
This dashing Languedoc Syrah is unoaked & has a splash of Grenache... A discovery from Dan Kravitz of Handpicked Selections, this importer has "a knack for finding good wines at great prices" says Robert Parker. Puydeval stands on solid shoulders and compliments any bistro style fare--bring out your roast chicken!!! Floral hints sneak in with raspberry jam and an ashy finish. No oak lets the grapes speak for themselves, along with a refreshingly light 14% alcohol level. From the ancient walled city of Carcassonne, in Southern France. Someday I will hope to visit, until then I will just drink the wine.

Li Veli Passamente Rosso 2007, Salente $11.99
What a difference a year can make! Here's the story of how I initially came upon this wine from my January 2009 newsletter... I've revamped the actual tasting notes to reflect the new vintage, though.
A few blizzardy weeks ago, my husband & I were anxious to celebrate the arrival of the new (& only) pizza place in our neighborhood, Pizzeria Pulcinella, Pulc so much so that we chained up & headed out into the snow trying like heck to avoid all the crazy hills. After taking the long route to get there, we stomped off our boots at the doorway, but much to our chagrin found out that they were hosting a private party & weren't open for business yet. Rats! So we mukluked-it back to the truck & headed for another south-end Italian restaurant whose name I won't mention because it was honestly the worst Italian meal either of us had ever eaten. The only redeeming factor was discovering this wine!!! It actually restored our smiles & weary spirits, & we corked half of it up just so we could enjoy it at home in front of the fireplace.

Eti-passamante Li Veli is situated in Puglia, the heel of Italy's boot, which is also the largest wine-producing region in the country. But in recent years, the focus has begun to shift from quantity to quality, & northern producers have begun to buy up this southern real estate. And that's just what happened at Li Veli. Tuscan giant Aviognesi (who make de-licious Montepulciano's) bought the Masseria in 1999, & brought new life to the dream of its original founder, a famous Italian architect who wanted Li Veli to be a model winery for all of Italy. Their Passamente is 100% Negroamaro (meaning "dark, dark") aged 6 months in barrel & it is a silky smooth concoction. Black cherries fill the glass, a touch of amber oil, raspberries. This vintage is juicy and kicky with a vibrantly pleasing palate. We do a lot of Italian cooking at home, so I sure am glad to have a stash of this now to remind us of our adventures in the snow!


Caparzo Rosso 2007, Toscana $11.99; $9.99 a bottle for case purchases ($120 a case)
Caparzo Sangiovese 2008, Toscana $11.99; $9.99 a bottle for case purchases ($120 a case)Caparzo
I am definitely going global this week... These two Italian reds were an exciting find, which we popped open with a hearty baked pasta dish last evening. Shockingly good values. Both these bottlings were made in the picturesque town of Montalcino, by the famed Tuscan Brunello producers Altesino and a woman who was determined to "gently improve" a classic. "Caparzo is the only estate-bottled producer of Brunello di Montacino to have estate vineyards on all five sides of the hill of Montalcino, ensuring that no matter what climatic challenges effect one side, the other vineyards will more than compensate." The Rosso is a clean and juicy blend of Sangiovese, Cab, Syrah, Merlot, & Colorino which spends 4 months in oak, the Sangiovese is 100% varietally pure. Owner Elizabetta Gnudi Angelini and winemaker Massimo Bracalente have sought "terroir with increased softness & drinkability" which both of these wines have in spades. The Rosso has ripe cordial cherries, is balanced & savory with an earthy finish, plump & supple frame, good acidity--a home run. The Sangiovese is seductive with strawberry, raspberry fruit, pleasantly plump with springy juice, with licorice reins driving this thoroughbred.

Artazuri Garnacha 2008, Navarra $11.99 (reg. $14.99)
Art 08 Artazuri is like the little black dress of wine--it's a staple & something that fits in just about every occasion, never goes out of style. The Artazu project was created by Juan Carlos Lopez de la Calle of Rioja’s famous Artadi estate. The goal was to take the same quest for varietal purity that the estate seeks in Tempranillo to the Garnacha varietal. Of the various locales that were investigated, the small village of Artazu in the most northern zone of Navarra was chosen for its extraordinary vines of Garnacha.
100% Garnacha from 60-80 year old vines, Artadi's Navarran foothold is all about wines with dark fruit and resounding balance with soft tannins, ideal for near-term consumption.
“Vivid red. Energetic, sharply focused strawberry and raspberry aromas are complicated by notes of rose, cinnamon and white pepper; smells like a sexy pinot noir. The very fresh palate offers silky, sweet red berry flavors and suave notes of candied flowers and Asian spices. Gains sweetness on the finish, lingering with good flavor authority and liveliness. This is an outstanding value.” -90pts, Stephen Tanzer’s IWC

Cuatro Rayas 2008, Rueda $13.99
In a time when Verdejo is being increasingly blended to taste, this is a wine that brought me straight back to Rueda, where I was first introduced to Tortilla Espanola the way it's meant to be. "What makes this so good?" I asked the winemakers between forkfuls. "Well, the potatoes are from down the road, the eggs were laid this morning, the local bar made this." My husband has become a master tortilla maker (ask him for his secrets when you get your next wine order!) and this white paired up beautifully with a midweek pobre dinner. Heck, I felt rich! Pomelo, lemon oil, & tangerine make this stunningly vibrant, and we threw in a Caesar salad on the side with some chickpea/meatball soup... Seventh heaven.


El Perro Verde Verdejo 2007, Rueda $14.99
Perro Verdejo lovers, I've got something else new for you!!! I guarantee that once the temperature rises you will see this label around town--it's an eye-catcher. Turquoise hounds chase a monarch across a pastel yellow field... Guava fruit perfume, zesty yet round, this is like catching the juice of a cantelope that's been split open into your glass. Get ready to taste spring!
"Light yellow. Subtle orchard fruits on the nose, with a suave tangerine note emerging with aeration. Nervier lime and orange zest on the palate, which offers good fleshy texture and gentle mineral lift. Gains heft on the finish, which features musky yellow plum and succulent herbal qualities. An impressive blend of power and verve."
 -90 points, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar


Po de Poeira 2006, Douro $17.99 (reg. $20.99)
I was having a bite in Ballard at Portalis after Sunday market deliveries & savored a glass pour of this sumptuous red with a bowl of mussels & a plate of charcuterie. Winemaker Jorge Moeira was the enologist at Real Companhia Velha for seven vintages, and in 2001 he bought his own quinta. He joined the team at Quinta de la Rosa as chief enologist, but this is distinctly his own project. Despite this bottle's modern appearance, this is a minimalist winery with four traditional stone vats & an old vertical press. Po uses younger vines & is a move away from tannins toward acidity, with a goal to "(seek) its true character in elegance." Luscious blue/black fruit comes from a rich vein of Touriga Nacional & Souzao, a grape that was news to me. Souzao is a renaissance grape, re-emerging in the Douro thanks to its high acidity content & massive color, soft tannins. This wine has a royal purple hue dark as velvet. I sipped & cooed, but didn't take tasting notes, so borrowed notes for you this time around...
"red berry, black cherry, floral and chocolate edged fruit carries through on the palate, very 2006, this is fresh, defined and elegant. Fine grained tannins, mid weight wine." -Sarah Ahmed, The Wine Detective

 
Black Slate 2006, Priorat $22.99

Black-slate-l This is an absolute not-to-be-missed bottle for wine lovers. Importer Eric Solomon's motto is "place over process" & this wine is the culmination of his dream, to feature wines from the specific regions of Priorat and showcase their individual terroir. Wonderfully pure raspberry and red cassis, fresh & approachable with a mineral schist background. Boysenberry plumpness with purity abounding, streamlined elegance. Exciting exciting exciting! You MUST try this new bottling out.  It's like finding the next "Les Terasses"... Affordable and still a little off the radar.


Artadi Vinas de Gain 2007, Rioja $24.99 (reg. $35) 12 bottles available

Artadi is about purity with almost Burgundian textures; in fact,
critics have often compared these wines to the top wines of Chambolle-Musigny &
other top appellations of Burgundy. The key to this level of elegance comes from
the cold winds of the Pyrenees which blow from the north & mod-
erate temperatures--an absolutely majestic region.
“Artadi’s 2007 Vinas de Gain is 100% Tempranillo sourced from 40- to 60-year-old
vines and aged in 40% new French oak for 12-14 months. A saturated purple color,
it delivers an expressive bouquet of wood smoke, pencil lead, mineral, blueberry, and
blackberry. Layered and full-flavored on the palate, it is nicely balanced with the
structure to evolve for 4-6 years. Drink it from 2014 to 2027. It is one of the better
values in quality Rioja.” -92pts, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Specially Selected Six-Packs!
This has been such a successful way to serve you that I say we shall continue this tradition, holidays or not. You pick the theme and price level you want to pay & I'll mix and match from my favorites in the cellar. Limited quantities, thoughtfully selected.

Choose your juice theme & your 6-pack price level:


The Pride of Portugal $60; $75; $100

Savor South America $60; $75


Celebrate Spain $60; $75; $100

Great Grenache $60; $75; $100

Throwing a Party  $50; $60; $75; $100


I have created a tip jar and I hope if you get something from my writing but don't want to order anything--maybe a recipe idea for an upcoming dinner, or wine advice that you put to use elsewhere--I hope you'll slip a couple of bucks in the jar from time to time. It's like sending your pledge money to public radio, only I don't interrupt the airwaves for a fund drive.Thank you & enjoy!!!!!!



Copyright, queso y vino 2010



--
Catherine Reynolds
Queso y Vino
206-518-1166