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Archive for November 10th, 2015

all about the wines!

Learn a little bit more about wines and its variations in spain:

Txakoli

Txakoli is a light, young and fruity white wine typically produced in the Basque Country. It pale yellow in color with intense citrus, flower and herb aromas. Hundreds of years ago, this wine was home-made in baserris, which are the farm houses in the Basque Country. During this times, the wine was consumed locally and also used as an exchange object between the neighbors. The grape is harvested in the late September or early October, the time when it is perfectly mature and the sugar/acidity ratio is in the right balance. Typically the winegrowers prefer to serve the wine with salted anchovies and tuna in oil.

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Cider

Cider is the traditional ‘Wine’ of Asturias and it was already around during Roman times, when it was known as ‘pomaria’; the Arabs later called it ‘siserio’. The unique taste comes through the fermentation of the natural, fresh must of apples, a fruit that is abundant in the region of Asturias. For the cider production different types of acid, sweet and sour apples, not for normal consumption, are used. This wine contains only naturally occurring carbonation and the minimum alcoholic content is 4.5%. Cider is traditionally served with many local dishes, but especially with Cabrales Cheese and it is served in typical glasses from small ceramic pitchers.

The most traditional and entertaining part is the serving of cider. In order of getting the very best from all its flavors and nuances, cider has to fall heavily into the glass from a certain height, actually hitting the edge of the container. In Spanish this they use the word escanciar for this type of pouring.

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Cava

Cava is Spain’s iconic sparkling wine style and answer to Champagne from the Iberian Peninsula. The name comes not from a place, grape variety or a winemaking technique, but from the stone cellars (cavas) in which the wine was and still is matured. This wine style was first produced in the 1870s, by Josep Raventós, on his return to Catalonia after a visit to France.

Nowadays the most popular productive area for Cava is in Northeast of Spain, near Barcelona, or in the area of Penedès and in the Ebro River valley (in Rioja). There are nearly 200 producers registered with the Cava Consejo Ragulador. Most of these cavas are produced from 2 or 3 traditional, native grapes, which are Viura (or Macabeu), Xarello and Parellada. The primary grape used in the Cava production is Macabeu. This grape has floral aromatics, a taste like green almonds and a lemony flavor with a little bitter finish. Besides this, Xarello is more aromatic with strong floral aromas and pear/melon-like taste. Finally Paralleda has a high acidity and zesty citrus flavors.  All in all with these three grapes, Cava is a balanced fruity sparkling wine, which is less sweet than Prosecco but not as nutty as Vintage Champagne.

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Sherry

Since many centuries the province of Cadiz in Andalucia is famous for their Sherry wine.

Sherry was already mentioned in Greek texts back in the 4th century B.C. It can only be made in one place, the area lying between Jerez de la Frontera, Puerto de Santa María and San Lucar de Barrameda. The secret lies in the combination of soil, the damp climate which encourages the growth of the flor and the solera system used to blend the different vintages. All in all there are more than 10,000 hectares of vineyards in the region or Jerez. The predominant grape Palomino, named after a 13th-century Spanish knight, acquires Sherry its exceptional dryness and earthy aroma. Like Port, Sherry is a “fortified” wine, means that extra alcohol is added to bring its alcohol content up to around 16 percent. There are dry sherries like Fino and Manzanilla, medium-dry is Amontillado with a dry but nutty taste. Then a darker, richer but still medium sherry is the Oloroso and finally the dessert sherries are Moscatel and Pedro Ximénez.

Sherry goes well with a dish of nuts or olives, but also with shrimp, raw oysters, white meats, cheese, fruits and desserts, depending on the kind of Sherry. For example the food for Fino or Manzanilla are olives, nuts, ham, cavier or smoked salmon. But for the dry Oloroso the perfect food is grilled meat or sauced meats.

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Sangria

More than 2,000 years ago the Romans made their way through the Iberian Peninsula Spain and planted vineyards along their way. During these times, water was considered unsafe for drinking so  it was common to fortify it with alcohol to kill off any bacteria. Therefore the first sangrias , whose name comes from sangre, or blood, and refers to its usually dark color, were likely heavily watered down mixes of wine, water, herbs and spices. Today it is an alcoholic beverage made with red wine, sparkling soft drinks, fruit juice, sugar, and sometimes also liqueurs. Traditionally this red wine is made from a blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot and brandy and fruits are added for flavor. Sangria can also be made with white wine and is then known as ‘Sangria Blanco’ (white sangria). All in all Sangria is one of the most individualistic drinks on the market, due to the fact that every restaurant has its own sangria recipe. Enjoy and taste Sangria – a mix of wine, brandy and fresh fruits, served over ice.

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Vermouth

Vermouth is an aromatized, fortified wine flavored with botanicals like herbs, spices, roots, flowers, barks or seeds. The name has its origin in a German word meaning wormwood, which is a common, principal ingredient used at the time of commercial vermouth’s conception in the 19th century. Unlike long-aged, fortified wines gaining their dark color from oxidization and abuse, the vermouth gets most of its color from the final addition of caramelized sugar and its bitter notes and complex flavors from well guarded combinations of botanicals and spices. In Spain it is typically ordered on its own over ice or con sifón, mixed with a little bit of carbonated water.

Typical foods to accompany the bitter and sweet flavors of a glass of vermouth are tinned and pickled food or simple potato chips, but in general salty food and snacks.

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