Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Suquet alla Ca L'Isidre with 2004 López de Heredia Gravonia Blanco

This is our first 2004 López de Heredia Gravonia Blanco.

The 1996 was our first love, and a wine that probably did more to get us into Spanish wines in general than any other bottle. The 1999 mostly lived up to the 1996 when it came to acid and echoing the original goodness, but fell short a bit. The 2000 emphasized freshness more than the typical Gravonia nutty depth. And the 2001 was all class. Everything you would ever want from Heredia. No write-up for the 1998, but it came pretty close to the 1996 in terms of completeness, if I recall correctly, and a shame there were so few of them on the market.

Early meals with Heredia Gravonia involved some variation on chicken, many times with saffron risotto. That migrated to Spanish-ed up fish, and it's been a good migration, one that makes the meal feel kinda special.

Like this one.

Suquet alla Ca L'Isidre, local fish stew that has its origins in Catalonian fisherman's Sunday dinner, made with whatever fish they had left. Taken from Barcelona's Ca L'Isidre restaurant. Recipe here, chronicled in Mark Bittman's The Best Recipes In The World (great book). No changes made to the actual cooking. Swapped out red snapper for Icelandic cod and langoustines for lobster tail.

Boiled down, this is deconstructed Spanish stew, with two types of seafood - and all the complementing and contrasting that comes with that - potatoes, onions, tomatoes, garlic, fish stock, parsley and chile. Depth from flamed-up brandy. Garlic-d up mayo for dipping. And a spectacular hazelnut sauce for drizzling over everything. Super-duper Spanish in every bite and done right. It's not the easiest meal to make, but this was the first time Mrs. Ney made it. She expects subsequent ones (which there will be) will be easier.

Hot damn, this was good. Want Spanish food? THIS is classic Catalonian Spanish food.

The 2004 López de Heredia Gravonia Blanco ($23 - Binny's) is still young, a bit tight-ish, and a touch short. Everything seems to be there, though, for it to broaden into something quite good, if more upfront/ripe and less lengthy than the 2001 (which was part of one of the best pairings we've probably ever had with sea bass a la Veracruzana and duck fat-saffron potatoes). Pears and nuts. A lil honey, a touch of wax. The usual wonder that is Heredia white. A bit less...lessness overall compared to the 2001 when it came to offering everything together and a teeny-tiny less concentrated, but this is still young. I got a little bit of pineapple that shows up in lesser vintages, but that quickly went away. Complete, round, ever-present, proper, happy acid everywhere. We're gonna like this one. It has the goods.

Very good pairing. Spanish fish with Spanish wine. It has that unique, specific goodness that only those two things can have. Italian fish and wine has it. French, too.

But Spanish has more. It's a thing.

An enormously delicious, singular thing.

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