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Archive for May, 2013

Spanish Wine Dinners Make Me Sing Ole!

May 30th, 2013 • No Comments

There’s just something about a wine dinner..elegance, sophistication..lots of great wine and food..2013-05-29 18.56.43

I attended a wonderful Spanish Wine Dinner from part of the Tradewinds Specialty Imports Portfolio – the Wine dinner was from Bodegas Ismael Arroyo, a great historic winery from the Ribera del Duero area of Spain. Here’s a photo of their 16th century wine cellar – pretty impressive!spanishwinecellarbodegasismaelarroyoThis event was held on Wednesday, May 29th at Taberna del Alabardero – the Top Rated Spanish Restaurant in Washington, D.C. and for good reason – their food, chef, management and sommelier Gustavo together make this a destination for Foodies and wine lovers – and they know how to throw a wine dinner!

Below is the menu with details – overall, I really enjoyed the wines, but especially enjoyed the aged Valsotillo Vendimia Seleccionada Reserva 2004 D.O. Ribera del Duero – and the importer Estebe explained it best – it had quite a bit of acidity to balance the tannins and American oak after aging and made the wine sing on my palate! This says alot about high alcohol levles of today’s wines: they may be enjoyable¬† for a few sips or a glass, but acidity helps to refresh your palate and make them pair better with food. I also really enjoyed the aromatically “barnyardy” 1999 Valsotillo Gran Reserva – this was an unusual wine in that it had alot of funk on the nose, but it had a pretty delicate structure – something kind of pensive, maybe a wine to discuss philosophy or to cellar for many years and share with only close friends..there’s something to be said for that!

Food-wise, Taberna really excels, but the steak stood out for it’s simplicity, tenderness and good salty flavor – it’s rare that a steak wakes up my palate, but the flavors of this with the Tempranillo revived my tastebuds and actually I was hankering for more!

Enjoy perusing the menu..and remember..

I’m Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler !

Delicious Quail with Lupini Beans!

Delicious Quail with Lupini Beans!

Taberna del Alabardero Presents: Bodegas Ismael Arroyo Wine Tasting Dinner

Executive Chef Javier Romero, In collaboration with Sommelier Gustavo Iniesta, invite you to a unique Wine Tasting experience, where you are going to discover the Wines from One of the most Important Wineries in Ribera Del Duero Region: Bodegas Ismael Arroyo Featuring: Estebe Salgado Bodegas Ismael Arroyo Ambassador and Tradewindsspecialty, Inc Owner Price Per person: $95.00 (Tax and Service Included)

For reservations

Wine Dinner Tickets at Taberna del Alabardero

Friday, May 29th 2013 Reception 6:30pm Dinner 7:00pm Cocktail Reception Endivia, Mollejas y Mousse de Pato Endive, Sweetbreads and Duck Mousse Mejillones Tigre Stuffed Mussels Shells Ajoblanco de Gambas al Ajillo Cold Garlic and Almond Soup with Garlic Shrimp Flavor Bohigas Brut Nature Reserva D.O. Cava

First Appetizer Ensalada de Pochas, Codorniz a la frambuesa y lascas de Foie White Bean Salad, raspberry-quail Stew and Foie chips Valsotillo Crianza 2009 D.O. Ribera del Duero

Second Appetizer Bacalao Confitado con txangurro y tomate sobre un Caldo Ahumado Confit Codfish with Crabmeat and Tomato over a Smoky Broth Valsotillo Reserva 2004 D.O. Ribera del Duero2013-05-29 20.33.13

First Course Rabo de Toro en Estofado de Noras, Calabaza Liquida y Cogollos en Tempura Nora (Sweet Pepper) Stewed Oxtail, Liquid Pumpkin and Heart Lettuce in Tempura Valsotillo Vendimia Seleccionada Reserva 2004 D.O. Ribera del Duero

2013-05-29 20.39.11Second Course Rib-Eye de Ternera, Tortilla Espanola e Higados Encebollados Veal Rib-Eye, Spanish Potato Omelet with Liver and Onions Valsotillo Gran Reserva 1999 D.O. Ribera del Duero

Dessert Queso de Cabrales en Texturas con Helado de Membrillo Cabrales (Blue Cheese) in Textures with Quince Ice Cream Alexandro Pedro Ximenez D.O. Jerez-Xerez-Sherry

Cassandra Salgado

Cassandra Salgado

Cilantro: Some Love It, Some Soap It!

May 17th, 2013 • No Comments

A friend of mine on Facebook Shana Glickfield recently posted that there are 2 kinds of people: those who like cilantro..and those who despise it!

I’m actually a person who didn’t originally like it because it reminded me of soap, but over time with the right dishes such as Latin and Mexican cuisine, I actually began to enjoy it – I even still get the soapy flavor and I’ve begun to love it, even look forward to it! I used to do cooking classes at Odeon Cafe in Washington, D.C. and the Moroccan owners actually preferred to make Italian cuisine with the North African influence of using cilantro in place of Italian parsley.

The video above is from Pro Chile and the two seafood dishes – 1 is a ceviche and the other is a shrimp with avocado sauce – both have tons of cilantro. I think the secret of enjoying cilantro is that it melds with other flavors and spices so well, but can be a bit overwhelming to the palate by itself – I can eat fresh parsley right off the stem, but not so much with cilantro – the latter does better with salt, sweet, sour and spicy flavors like vinegar, chiles, onions and ginger. Both Latin and Asian cuisines benefit from it’s herbal notes and that touch of soapiness!

OK, so you’re one of the people who doesn’t taste the “soapy” (or you just like the soapiness..)- here’s an additional article from the NY Times about how people taste and some of the instincts and survival background – Cheers!

Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler

My Attempt at Tasting 250 New Wines – Wines of Portugal Tasting

May 8th, 2013 • No Comments

Portugal is Unique in that they produce 250 grape varietals unique to their region..
2013-05-02 17.28.57
OK, I didn’t actually try to taste 250 new grape varietals (can you say “Alvarinho”, “Baga” “Trincadeira” or “Touriga Nacional” ?) but I did try to better understand the wonderful variety of wines coming from a country with a unique language and known more for fortified wines – their Ports – than for their still wines.

Trade Tastings can be a SERIOUS Affair!

Trade Tastings can be a SERIOUS Affair!

The best part of my tasting was the seated seminar with Evan Goldstein

– I had seen him in videos, but it was great to actually meet the wine powerhouse in person. Passionate is not a wasted word on this wine lover – he really presented with energy and humor and a keen sense of fun and adventure – he popped a few key Portguese words into the presentation but for the obvious effect – few people understand the language!

Evan Goldstein of Full Circle Wine Solutions was quite engaging..

Evan Goldstein of Full Circle Wine Solutions was quite engaging..

So what did I learn from the seated tasting of 7 wines (it was supposed to be 8, but one never made it through shipping!) ?2013-05-02 17.00.12

-Vinho Verde which translates as “Green Wine” does NOT mean green-hued wine, but rather a wine meant to be consumed “young”.

-Portuguese “Verdelho” is NOT the same as Spanish “Verdejo”

-There is a Rose Vinho Verde

-There are many micro-climates and the wines from the southern planes tend to ripen very evenly from year to year.

-Moscatel de Setubal is a Muscat Fortified wine other than Port from the southern Peninsula and has more of a golden raisin/apricot flavor than Ports more prunish, dark fruit flavors.

2013-05-02 17.29.26Overall I was impressed by the consistency of the wines – most had abundent acidity and enough fruit and flavor for backbone. Some of the reds such as the pure Touriga Nacional’s were quite tannic and “cedar box” spice, but still the average quality of wines was quite good.2013-05-02 17.58.25

I do want to mention that TasteDC was affiliated with the Consumer Grand Tasting that evening and helped to sell it out – although the wines were the same in the consumer tasting, the food was much better than the Trade got which is actually a good thing. Also the food was quite good – really tender carved Roast Beef, Ham Table, Specialty Taco Table and something I hadn’t seen before – a Ramen Noodle table with the chance to choose your own noodles and fixings- this kept the Vegetarians happy – Cheers!

Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler