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Spanish Tapas with Albarino and Rioja

Last Saturday was my wine night with three very good friends.  We try to get together regularly to taste new wines, eat great food, and have a laugh.   Last Saturday was no exception.  A great time was had by all.  Seeing as there are four of us, two bring wine and the other two cook.  The ones that cook dictate where the wine should come from.  The one rule we have with wine night is the wine has to be new for the people who are bringing the wine.  This makes them do some research so they can tell us about it – where it’s from, why it smells and tastes the way it does, the terroir, the varietal, etc.  This past Saturday we introduced two new friends to our group – Albarino and Rioja.  Well, Rioja had been with us once before but because it was so well received the first time we had to invite it back.

Albarino was a lovely 2010 white from Lagar de Cervera.  This wine made me think of warm summer evenings sitting on the deck.   First a sniff, then a swirl, another sniff.  Citrus, apple, and spice on the nose.  And now a taste – minerals and lemongrass on the palate, although as it warmed up in the glass it became more minerally (is that a word?) in taste.  So, kept chilled, it stayed light and refreshing.  Can’t wait for summer!  Paired with  Manchego cheese, chorizo, Manzanilla olives, and Champinones al ajillo (Ajillo mushrooms) just made this wine even better.

Rioja was a 2008 Crianza from Dianstia Vivanco.  This wine could make any wine-lover weep.  A beautiful ruby-red in colour and velvety on the tongue.  It smelled like peppered cherries.  Peppered cherries!  How yummy is that?  It just begged to be tasted.  Which we did and were not disappointed – chocolate and black cherries.  And it just got better with what we served – Berenjenas con Miel (eggplant fritters with honey) and spiced clams.  I felt like Dora the Explorer’s back pack gobbling this feast up.  Delicioso!

We saved a bit of the red for dessert which was hard to do but I was so glad we did.  Peras al Vino (poached pears in red wine) with trufas con cognac (chocolate truffles).  Oh my!  Really, what better combination is there than chocolate and red wine?

What combinations between wine and food do you like?

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3 thoughts on “Spanish Tapas with Albarino and Rioja

  1. Oh honey I wish I could have been there. I have made my red-wine-poached-pears with mascarpone cheese a few times since I first brought them to your house for one of our very first wine evenings. I miss them dearly as well as the most fabulous company a girl could ask for.

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