Last weekend, we joined the ‘pop up’ restaurant revolution and, after much nervous preparation, laid on a five course Spanish ‘taster’ menu with accompanying wine for a group of 35 surgeons in our events room. Thankfully, to coin a phrase, it proved to be just what the doctors ordered and now, emboldened by the success, we’re really looking forward to doing it all over again.
In the meantime, I thought I’d talk a little of the wines the guests enjoyed and, for the benefit of any cooks who may be reading, point out that the soup, fish and paella recipes can be found in the excellent ‘Moro’ cookbook and the venison and Santiago tart in the eponymously titled cookbook from Michelin starred restaurant, Barrafina. Needless to say, the wines are available from yours truly!
Cava Brut Reserva Sumarroca 2011 with Pea, serrano ham and mint soup with tomato bread
Bodegas Sumarroca is a 15th century winery in the Penedes region of Catalonia in north east Spain. Owned, since 1982, by Carlos and Nuria Sumarocca, it produces an excellent range of Cavas that belie their relatively modest price points.
The Brut Reserva 2011 is comprised of three indigenous grape varieties, Parellada, Xarel-lo and Macabeo, and famed international grape variety, Chardonnay. The wine is rich, full, complex and toasty and will appeal greatly to Champagne lovers seeking a fairly frugal January alternative to the famous fizz.
The Cup and Rings Albarino 2011 with Hake and venus clams in salsa verde
Albarino or Alvarinho is a grape variety that originates, either, from north-eastern Portugal or from over the border in Galicia in north-west Spain.
The Cup and Rings Albarino, from Galicia, Spain’s culinary capital, has varietal aromas of peach, honeysuckle and stone fruits with creamy mineral notes. Far fuller than most, this, the wine’s debut vintage, elicited the following comments from world renowned wine critic, Jancis Robinson, “ Much more guts than most Albarinos. Firm lemon and flower notes with real depth. Very much a lees aged wine that has some depth and potential still. No hurry to drink this. Lots there with Chablis like acidity and great texture.”
Well said, that woman!
Classic Amontillado Sherry, Ferdinando de Castilla with Chicken paella with artichoke and oloroso sherry
Cast aside any thoughts of vicars or maiden aunts sipping sweet Sherry – that’s not what real Sherry is all about at all. The real stuff is dry, delicious and, thanks to top chefs, such as Heston Blumenthal, increasingly popular.
The Fernando de Castilla Amontillado from Jerez in Spain’s deep south is an extraordinarily fine, complex and sophisticated drink that, time and time again at our events, totally blows away any Sherry sceptics present. It has a beautiful shining amber colour, a tangy nose of nuts and raisins and a deliciously plump mouthfeel.
Manga del Brujo El Escocés Volante 2012 with Loin of venison with red cabbage, pinenuts and sultanas
One of my favourite winemakers is ‘El Escoces Volante’ or, as his mother knows him, Norrel Robertson. Hailing from Aberdeen, Norrel makes exceptional wine from gnarly old vines in Catalonia and his nickname, unsurprisingly but amusingly, translates as the Flying Scotsman.
Norrel’s Manga del Brujo is comprised of 4 grape varieties, Garnacha, Syrah, Tempranillo and Mazuelo and is forthright, full bodied and massively imbued with flavours of black fruits, cracked pepper, smoke and toast.
Senorio de Sarria Moscatel 2013 with Santiago Tart
Last but not least, from the Senorio de Sarria winery in the northern region of Navarra comes the dessert wine made from the Moscatel grape variety. It’s a highly attractive wine with seductive flavours of honeysuckle, peach, apricot and tarragon and, although ample, is, even after a 5 courser, a wine you’ll want more and more of.