Sunday, October 23, 2016

A quick trip to Spain, without leaving our townhouse

We decided to start having the occasional "theme night", where we would serve food and wine exclusively from whatever country we choose. We will be alternating from our place and our friends' place, every month or so.

Our first effort was at our place, and Spain was the chosen country. We actually started off the evening with a "draft", each of us picking our countries for future events. Even though we had chosen Spain, I demanded first pick and chose France, basically because we already are in possession of some decent Bordeaux that will make that a lot easier (and cheaper) than starting a France dinner from scratch.

I searched the web for some decent Spanish recipes, found some recommended wine pairings, and we were good to go. Click on the link if you want to see the full recipe.

Course 1:

The Food:

Easy Paella (from

I've never been a huge fan of paella but this was really terrific, everyone enjoyed it very much. The recommended wine pairing seemed odd to me, as they were suggesting a Tempranillo Rosé, but I stuck with their recommendation.

The Wine:

Marqués de Cáceres - 2015 Rioja Rosé ($15.99)

What a pleasant surprise. Floral bouquet of strawberries and raspberries. Fruity, elegant and refined all at the same time. And it was a TERRIFIC pairing with the paella. 88.

Course 2:

The Food:

Beef and Potato Empanadas (sort of)

My wife and I tried out this recipe a week before the event. We found that the filling was absolutely AMAZING. In fact we had an entire bowl of it, each, before making the empanadas. Once we put the filling into the pastry, though, it was underwhelming. Because of that, for our Spain theme night, we made the same filling but just served it with tortillas; so really more of a soft taco than an empanada. It was excellent served this way. Another big hit.

The Wine:

We didn't specifically have a wine to pair with this, but we had this wine for the evening so we tried it.

Viento Aliseo - 2013 Viognier ($15.99)

Notes of white flowers and citrus on the nose and the palate. Pleasant but underwhelming and honestly, not a match for the food, which isn't that surprising. 86.

Course 3:

The Food:

Pork with Grilled Vegetable Pisto

This was a pretty good recipe, the flavors were well integrated and it paired very well with the recommended tempranillo. The issue is that it was really quite a pain in the ass to make the vegetable pisto. This is the only recipe that I doubt we ever make again.

The Wine:

Anciano 2005 Tempranillo ($17.99)

I admit it, I'm a sucker for a good Tempranillo, and when they come to you aged for a decade, and at this price, how can you go wrong? All kinds of strong aromas here; black fruit, balsamic vinegar, leather and tobacco. Red fruit dominates the palate, with smooth and supple tannins and a long finish. At this price, a steal. 89.

I will admit, I was by far the biggest fan of this wine. The other dinner guests were underwhelmed. They are wrong :)

Course 4:

Chicken with Catalan Picada

Seriously, this was insanely good. The hints of chocolate that come through were not something I've experience before with chicken, but we cannot wait to make this recipe again. Everyone agreed this was a true highlight of the night. It was recommended to pair this with a Grenache.

The Wine:

Scala Dei - 2007 Cartoixa ($57.99)

A blend of Grenache, Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Notes of red fruit, chocolate and vanilla on the nose. Fruity, juicy and delicious on the palate. A real treat, and my wife, who generally dislikes Grenache, was a big fan. It's not cheap, but it's worth the money. 92.

Course 5:

Churros Con Chocolate 

Delicous. Churros rule, and the chocolate sauce was a nice add. We added cinnamon, which may not be "traditional" Spanish churros, but whatever. Suck it, Spain.

The Wine:

OK so we didn't have a Spanish dessert wine, per se, but there is one winery in BC that produces a Maderia-style wine, so that was pretty close. I reviewed in it my last blog post, here.

Since we were almost done with the meal and had not had quite enough wine yet, and I was out of wine from Spain, we cracked open this bad boy from a BC winery that makes wine in a Portugese style. Spain, Portugal, same thing. No, really.

Quinta Ferreira 2009 Obra-Prima ($35.00)

Aromas of bell pepper are prevalent, with some black cherry and vanilla lingering in the background. Cedar, cherry, mocha, bell pepper and vanilla on the palate. Long, juicy finish, with some hard Xmas candy coming through at the end. 88.

I was pleasantly surprised how good the food was, how good the wine was, and how good most of them went together and added to the experience. With the holidays coming up, our next event will be in mid-January, and I will report on that after it happens. Country TBD.

That's it for today: next up, our next Okanagan trip begins at Moon Curser!

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