¡SALUD! A Trip to Spain Through Wine!


Back in the day, winemaking in Spain was a simple task. You planted a variety of grapes and whatever grew well was made into wine. This was called field blending. Generation after generation would pass down these recipes for the best wines, and as parts of the global wine community started trying new things, the Spanish stayed true to their recipes. This Old World way of winemaking is what makes Spain one of the most formidable wine countries. When people think of Spain they think tempranillo and rioja as the best Spanish wines, but Spain has so much more to offer. In order to give Spain the proper recognition it deserves we are running an event we are calling ¡Salud! A Spanish Food & Wine Pairing Experience. Salud in English means to express good wishes before drinking, and we wanted to express those good wishes in two ways. A six course meal (some items are chef prepared and some are interactive to enhance your experience), paired with a variety of six wine types from little known regions in Spain poured by a wine professional.


With all these things in mind, we brought together wines hand-selected by our sommelier to provide an inspiring experience that is hard to find outside of Spain. We will be starting off the night like every spring in Spain does, with rosé from the appellation Cava. Relax into the beginning of the event while enjoying its fine and lingering bubbles. The rosé is made from Trepat which is a rare red grape that adds aromas and flavors of gooseberry and strawberry and boosts the body and the pigment of the wine. To elevate this rosé moment we are pairing the wine with fried olives stuffed with drunken goat cheese. Drunken goat cheese is a delicacy in Spain. (Don’t worry, no goats were given libations to make this cheese!)


Next we’ll try a still white that has a citrusy kick! An Albarino that has been grown in a cooler climate, this lightweight goes toe to toe with other wines as far as complexity is concerned. Crisp and mineral, this wine will taste like its good for you! A wine this crisp always goes well with seafood so we are pairing it with clams, mussels, Spanish chorizo, yellow tomatoes and fragrant herbs.


Then to throw it back to the Cava family, we will be tasting a Xarel-lo, a complex elegant still white. This wine is fermented in stainless steel and matured in new French oak barrels for four months, it has gentle tannins and a perfect integration of fruit, mineral, and oak flavors. With a wine so complex we paired it with something simple, baccallao fritters with citrus aioli, essentially fried codfish and a delicious sauce.


Moving into red wine territory, we’ll hit up the legendary region of Priorat. The story of Priorat is a comeback story, it was the place to make wine for nearly 1,000 years and was abruptly abandoned after phylloxera nearly destroyed all the wine in Europe! In the 1980s a Frenchman saw its potential and rebuilt it back to its former glory. Now Priorat stands tall among other wine regions. The Priorat Noster Inicial wine parallels the Priorat story, part of the Spanish wine is kept in a stainless steel tank and part of the Spanish wine is aged in French oak barrels for a year, and at the end of the year the two wines merge together, the Spanish wine mixing with the French method in a happy marriage. The taste demands your attention, intense cherry harmonizing with plums and figs fused with chocolate and vanilla. The wine kindled something within us, something elementary and pure. When we thought of elementary and pure we thought of Pisto Manchego with an egg. It’s like a ratatouille, without the heartfelt Disney movie about rats.


We’re going to continue to take a stroll in Priorat, stop and smell the flowers if you will. To really show you the power of field blending we are going to show off a Noster Templari Priorat, a field blend that is a Grenache, Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah blend. It’s a wine that talks back to you with black currants and figs, with layers of cacao, mature tobacco, mild spices. It’s a wine that makes you think of a tweed jacket with patches. It is a wine that is hard to find in the US, and we knew we had to pair it with something else that is hard to find in the US, fresh paella. We wanted to bring back a paella recipe a little off the beaten path so we will be making a paella valencia, with rabbit, chorizo, and olives.


We will be winding down the evening with a sparkling Cava to make a full circle back to where we began. We’ll pair it with a cheese course to demonstrate that much like these wine regions are underrated, so are savory desserts!

There is nothing like this experience. Sign up, come drink and be merry. The Spanish are a people known for taking time to enjoy good food and good wine. Take some time to be a bit like a Spaniard, and join us for ¡Salud! A Spanish Food & Wine Pairing Experience!

Photo Courtesy of Scott Warman on Unsplash


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