Tag Archives: Which wines go with Tapas?

¡Mucho Gusto! Get to know Verdejo on #VerdejoDay

10 Jun

Great news, chicas y chicos!  You don’t have to wait until July 4 for a reason to celebrate – National Verdejo Day is just around the corner! This Thursday, June 12 marks the first annual National Verdejo Day, and if you happen to be near New York, Miami, Chicago or, yes, beautiful downtown Los Angeles, you can live it up at a rooftop party in honor of this crisp white wine from Spain’s Rueda D.O. region.

L.A. folks – get your tickets by visiting my Events page and following the link provided in the “Sign Me Up!” section. Tickets are only $25, and the party includes a little taste of Spanish appetizers from Rueda that pair well with Verdejo.

VERDEJO_Food

And you know I wouldn’t send you off to a wine fiesta without some fun facts to tuck away in your hip pocket. Here’s all you need to know about Verdejo:

HOLA, ME LLAMO: Verdejo is a white wine grape from Spain’s Rueda D.O. region.

MY ROOTS: Don’t confuse Verdejo with Verdelho, the white grape from Portugal. DNA testing shows that they are two distinct grape varieties. It’s believed that Verdejo showed up in the Rueda region around the 11th century. Before that, it was introduced to southern Spain from North Africa.

ALL ABOUT ME: Verdejo is a dry white wine with zingy acidity and lovely fruit aromas of peach, pear, tropical fruit, and lemon. You’ll also get a touch of herbs (think fennel) and a trace of limestone minerality. It’s a medium-bodied wine with an alcohol content hovering between 11 and 12 percent. Verdejo develops honeyed, nutty flavors as it ages.

FOODS I LOVE: This is a wine that loves tapas, especially garlicky clams, grilled shrimp and bacalau (fried cod). The wine’s acidity holds up nicely with vinaigrette dressing in salads, and the same crispness “cuts” through a creamy pasta dish and Manchego cheese.

DO TRY THIS AT HOME: Verdejo is one of those wines that’s easy on the wallet. You can get a nice Verdejo for less than $15. Give these a swirl: Protos Verdejo 2013; Mocen Verdejo Fermendado en Barrica 2011; Pago traslagares Oro Pálido Organic Verdejo 2013; Castelo de Medina Castelo Vendimia Seleccionada Verdejo 2012; Pedro Escudero Fuente Elvira Verdejo 2013.

¡Salud, and see you in downtown L.A.!

Verdejo_Wine

 

¡Mucho Gusto! Get to know Tempranillo

29 May

My favorite wine anecdote is one I could share during one of those silly business “icebreakers” where you have to tell a group of complete strangers your most embarrassing moment. I was talking vino at a party with some people I’d just met and I mentioned a Tempranillo I had tried at a new tapas bar that had opened nearby. Being a Latina, I pronounced the word “tapas” with a native Spanish accent.

I started getting uncomfortable looks from the others, and finally one of them cleared his throat and said, “Um, you go to topless bars?”

For the record, I do not, but if you ever find yourself at a Spanish-themed topless bar–or at a restaurant with an eclectic wine list–here’s all you need to know about Tempranillo.

tempranillo
HOLA, ME LLAMO: Tempranillo, a red wine, gets its name from the Spanish word temprano, which means early (the grape ripens early). Depending on where you are, Tempranillo goes by a host of aliases: Cencibel, Ull de Lliebre, Tinto del País or Tinto del Toro in other regions of Spain; Tinta Roriz or Tinta Aragones in Portugal; and Tempranilla in Argentina.

MY ROOTS: Tempranillo’s birthplace is the Rioja region of Spain, but some folks think that it was brought there by French monks who were making the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Tempranillo is the core grape of red Rioja wines, where it’s often blended with Garnacha. It’s also one of the main red grapes in Ribera del Duero, where it’s been used for more than 100 years at the prestigious Vega Sicilia winery. Today, Tempranillo is grown in Mexico, California, Italy, Argentina, Australia and South Africa.

ALL ABOUT ME: If you like cherry and plum on the palate, you’ll enjoy Tempranillo. Grapes that were grown in iron-rich soil may show some iron-mineral notes. When it’s aged, Tempranillo displays beautiful caramel, tobacco and tea leaf aromas. This is a dry wine with medium tannins, medium alcohol and medium to high acidity.

FOODS I LOVE: Break out the jamón serrano and the chorizo. Tempranillo is dreamy with a charcuterie plate, and if you happen to be at a tapas bar, it’s a great match for croquetas (ham croquettes), meatballs in tomato sauce and pinches (lamb or pork kabobs). Tempranillo is also tasty with roasted lamb and Indian food.

DO TRY THIS AT HOME: A bottle of Tempranillo can cost anywhere from $10 to $300. Some budget-friendly wines worth trying include: Luis Alegre Koden 2011, Sancho Barón 2009, Lar de Sotomayor Vendimia Seleccoinada 2010, and from Mexico, Alximia Alma 2012.

Something to ponder as you sip your next glass of Tempranillo: You can enjoy Tempranillo and still keep your top on, while getting your tapas on.

¡Salud!

 

%d bloggers like this: