Thursday, May 13, 2010

#75 - Hot Spanish Tapas With Three Wines

Last night was our first hot tapas-style meal since starting this here bloggy-type thing.

Odd, that. We love our hot tapas. Hot tapas be tasty and hot tapas always satisfy.

I can't stop saying hot tapas!

Efforts to cram a wine into shrimp, potatoes and oranges were short and quick. We just drank some wines we were interested in and might be in a very large ballpark of an acceptable pairing.

Food: Garlic shrimp and Bulgarian sausage, patatas bravas, roasted ramps and a chard, orange, nuts, olives and onion salad

Shrimp sautéed in garlic, olive oil, salt, bay leaf, parsley and dried chile. Bulgarian sausage added later. I don't know what's going on but we've had shrimp in various forms five times this year. That probably beats the amount of times we had it in the five years previous. Just frozen shrimp but cooked perfectly and we Loved it.

Patatas bravas is a longtime favorite. Spicy tomato sauce made with olive oil, onion, garlic, cumin, chili flakes, paprika, white wine, peri-peri sauce and tons of parsley. Ever so subtle kick of heat made it delicious. Almost tasted like piquillo peppers were the base but no piquillo pepper were added. Light and bright.

Ramps cooked in the style of calçots charred under the broiler. Tis the season and these were quite good. Creamy with a mild onion hit and a nice black char contrast.

A modified salad recipe from this month's Food & Wine. It's a main course salad from Charlie Parker's Cellar Door Café, except without the turnips and subbing chard for spinach. Originally, Mrs. Ney was going to do the turnip roasting but the size of our kitchen and the need to get everything out at the same time made that seem like a ridiculous amount of work. Came out rustic but light on its feet. Substantial but very clean with the oranges keeping it from becoming too heavy. We'll be having this again. Good stuff.

A pretty great meal. Everything we could ever want was there and we could pick here and pick there for what ended up being a couple hours.

Wine: 2009 Raventos i Blanc Perfum de vi Blanc ($20 - Red & White), 2007 Albariño Do Ferreiro ($28 - Cellar Rat) & NV Lini 910 Lambrusco Bianco Sparkling ($19 - Cellar Rat)

All the wines came from Monday's wine shop trip as we tried to kill time before going to The Bristol.

Like The Saldo Zin, The Perfum de vi Blanc has been missing from Chicago wine shops for awhile but there it sat at Red & White. One of Mrs. Ney's favorite whites, I didn't love it until one day I had it and said, "Crap! This is awesome!"

60% Macabeo and 40% Muscat from the Penedès region in Catalonia, it may be the perfect apertif wine. Great pre-dinner, late afternoon drinker and that's what we did with it for this meal. Tons of rose petals with a marshmallow-mandarin orange fruit salad quality. Not dense or sticky, it's low in sugar, on the dry side, great, lighter acidity throughout and finishes with a silky orange blossom note. Everybody - even people who don't like white wine - would love it.

Similar in many ways to the Torres Viña Esmeralda but more refined and pretty and probably worth $8 more. The Perfum de vi Blanc is sort of limited in pairing options but, like the Torres and Crios, would most likely be great with seafood sausage.

The 2007 Albariño Do Ferreiro is a more polished albariño showing pear, lime and some orange fruits all surrounded by a huge minerality and a touch of herbs. Lighter and more stylish than any albariño I've ever had. It's 100% organic and was quite tasty. But it wasn't $28 tasty. Low $20 tasty for sure, but $30 after tax brought a more critical eye and wasn't twice as good as the Orballo Albariño. We like albariño to be a bit more rough and tumble, though.

The sparkling white Lambrusco was too irresistible to pass up. We never had such a thing. While we wouldn't buy it again, it has its moments. Tastes like a sparkling Amontillado sherry with tons of nuts and nice bubbles. Very little fruit here. Never got out of the 'interesting to try' category but we were okay with that.

Pairing: 86 The food by far won the night but the wine helped a bit

Everything kind of went according to Hoyle with the pairings. We didn't have high expectations. It was more of a "let's try these wines we just bought" kind of night.

The albariño with its sage/herb elements was awesome with the patatas bravas sauce that had copious amounts of parsley and white wine involved. The nuts in the chard salad worked quite nicely with the Lini Lambrusco sherry quality. Nothing really helped the shrimp along, but oddly, I didn't mind the albariño with the Bulgarian sausage. Don't have a clue as to why.

What was left of the Perfum de vi Blanc was DOA with the food as expected.

Pretty great food with some interesting wine made for a fine meal.

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