A passion for food + fashion

Posts Tagged ‘Spanish wine’

Red is the Color of My True Love, Rioja

In Design, Drink, Food, Out of Town on May 31, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Back from a week in Rioja, Spain. I went for the wine—and more on that later—but fell in love with the place. And if there is one color that defines the region, it’s red. Everywhere you look. Painted flower pots, doors, windows, rooftops.

There were poppies sprinkled throughout the vineyards and barley fields.

And red pequillo peppers in tapas and tossed with morcilla blood sausage…

But yes. Best of all, the very heart of the region is its red wine. Like this pretty glass of 1942 Lopez de Heredia Viña Tondonia—still so very vibrant and seductive after 69 years, and seduction after all is what Rioja does best.

The Spanish Affair

In Drink, Fashion, Food, Recipes on July 17, 2010 at 1:17 pm

I fell hard for Spanish cuisine four years ago when I tagged along on my then-boyfriend’s business trip to Barcelona. While Mr. Foodinista talked bandwidth with the Spaniards, I wandered the streets of El Born, popping into tapas bars and museums, falling in love with the smoky, sweet, sultry flavors—to say nothing of the people, who break at 11 am each day for a coupe of cava. I don’t know why we don’t cook Spanish more often. But last night—because I had snagged the last four bottles of the ’98 Lopez Heredia rosé from my local wine shop and knew exactly with whom to share them—we rolled out the alfombra roja. (That’s red carpet in Spanish, a language I don’t habla but one that is highly google-able.)

I wish I’d taken more pics last night—of HJ’s gorgeous graphic-print dress, of Booth’s flamenco-inspired Louboutins, Dudley’s palest lavender linen shirt or Anne’s hot pink Vivier sandals. But most of all of the food! Particularly of Adam’s homemade churros—dusted in cinnamon sugar—that are to die for. Here are the few pics I did manage to snap and the menu.

Bellota Iberico Lomo + Mahon Cow’s Milk Cheese (above)

Bacon-Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Spanish Chorizo

Marcona Almonds

Piquillo Peppers Stuffed with Goat Cheese

Barcino Cava

Andalucian Gazpacho

Mixed Lettuces with Cherry Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Valdeon Blue Cheese and Sherry Vinaigrette

Fideos with Mussels, Clams and Shrimp (from Mario Batali’s Spain: A Culinary Road Trip)

1998 Lopez Heredia Rosado

Adam’s Churros & Spiced Hot Chocolate

And best of all? Check back tomorrow to find out what ranks as the very best hostess gift I’ve ever received. Ever. Thank you, HJ & Bill!!!

And to Drink?

In Drink on November 24, 2009 at 12:05 pm

I’m anxiously awaiting the delivery of our heritage bird via FedEx. Last year, it arrived wearing a silver Prada Sport-inspired aluminized bubble wrap to keep Tom cool. (And at those prices—$129 for a 10-12 lb bird—I hope it was Prada.) While we wait for this year’s fashionable arrival, let’s talk about what we’re going to drink on Thursday!

I’m torn because my father is a hard-core White Burgundy fan, and my sister is a Russian River Pinot Noir devotée. My husband likes California Chardonnay, and I’d rather be drinking Alsatian Riesling, but would be thrilled with a bottle of Lopez Heredia “Viña Tondonia” Rosado Rioja—an earthy, nutty and fruity Spanish rosé. In fact, Spanish wines in general—red, white, pink, bubbly—are a great choice for Thanksgiving since they have both that Old World minerality and earthiness, and that New World fruitiness. (For more on this, check out my Thanksgiving Wine piece in the November 2009 issue of Bon Appétit Magazine.) I was loving Lopez Heredia rosé all summer after my friend Dudley introduced me to it, and the love affair continues well into fall…

Of course, the one area on which we all agree is Champagne to start, particularly blanc de blancs, which is made with 100% Chardonnay grapes. I’m thinking either a Ruinart or Henriot would be perfect with the smoked salmon & crème fraîche app we’re planning. Cheers to Thanksgiving!

Palacios Chorizo

In Food on September 28, 2009 at 12:05 pm


One of my sister’s friends sent a care package containing Palacios Auténtico Chorizo Español. Spanish chorizo differs from Mexican chorizo in both flavor and texture. Thanks to pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika), chorizo from Spain has a distinctive smoky flavor, while Mexican chorizo gets its flavor from chile powder. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that Palacios is one of the only chorizos made in Spain that is sold here in the US. (Most “Spanish” chorizos we find here are more likely made in the US with Spanish ingredients.) And they’re fantastic. Their dry-cured sausages are made in the Rioja region of Spain, and they are incredible with a glass of Rioja red.

In Heaven, There’s Paella on Sunday Nights

In Drink, Food on August 30, 2009 at 3:22 pm


Last Sunday night, we went over to our friends Anne and Dudley’s for dinner. The main event was paella, and I had run into Anne and Dudley at Santa Monica Seafood as they were loading up on mussels, crab legs, scallops, and spot prawns for the affair so we knew it would be nothing short of spectacular! Since I didn’t break out the camera until later, imagine sitting in a garden eating heirloom tomato and buffala crostini and bacon-wrapped figs while looking at Anne’s formal rose garden (which she restored to the original 1928 landscaping plan) and sipping Spanish rosé and Albariño—bottles of which are chilling in a silver ice bucket nearby.


I actually hadn’t planned on whipping out the camera at all because it’s, well, rude at someone else’s dinner party. But when their cook, Lety, was adding the seafood, baby purple artichokes, and green beans to a giant paella pot atop a Weber kettle grill, well, I lost all my manners and…click…


You cannot imagine how delicious the paella was! We sat down at tables in the garden to enjoy as the sun was setting and the fire was roaring in the outdoor fireplace. Just magical. Dudley brought out this CRAZY bottle of 1998 R Lopez de Heredia rosé from the Rioja. I’ve never had anything like it, so fresh for being over a decade old and just gorgeous. Coppery in color with sort of apricot, cherry and nutty flavors—and super complex for a rosé. I hesitate to share this, but there are a few bottles left at The Wine House.


For dessert, Dudley had made a balsamic sauce to go over fresh peaches and basil, while Anne had whipped up the largest, most seductive bowl of mascarpone and cream (with a splash of cognac) you’ve ever dreamed of. This bowl of mascarpone cream wouldn’t have made it through the night if it had been left in my custody. Here is what, if you’re lucky, the afterlife looks like with a spoon:


Gracias, Anne y Dudley!

$8 is Enough: Budget Wines

In Drink on April 13, 2009 at 7:52 am


This bottle of 2005 Mas Que Vinos Ercavio ($8) is the best value wine I’ve tasted in a while. They have it at K&L in Hollywood. The wine is from the Castilla y Leon region of Spain, and is made from the Tempranillo grape. Lots of blackberry fruit, earth and spice would make this a slam dunk with a Cheddar Burger with Balsamic Onions and Chipotle Ketchup.

Bubbles Meet Bitter

In Drink on March 11, 2009 at 7:38 am

cava campari

I heart cava. I heart Campari. I heart cava + Campari. The traditional Italian mix is sparkling Prosecco with Campari, but recently we tried subbing in cava (the best of these Spanish sparkling wines are dry, citrusy and nutty) with the bitter Campari—versus Prosecco, which too often goes the direction of sweet and apple-y. Cava + Campari makes a great aperitif, and the bitter and citrus combo makes for a lovely counterpoint to fatty or rich apps like cheese or jamón or olives, and is great with salty (Marcona almonds, Pecorino or parm). Of course, if you have a bummer bottle of cava or Prosecco or even Pinot Grigio, the forward bitterness of Campari is genius at doctoring up a less-than glass of still or sparkling white wine. Plus it’s so pretty! Pour a splash in the bottom of a wine glass and then top generously with your favorite or not-so-favorite icy-cold white.

To a Bright Future and a Fresh Start!

In Drink on January 20, 2009 at 10:43 am


In the end, it was with Albariño that we toasted the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Although I’m halfway around the world here in Madrid, and the warmth and excitement from our Spanish hosts is nothing short of thrilling. I will forever associate this hopeful, exciting evening (it is, after all, nighttime here in Madrid) with the 2005 Pazo Piñeiro de Lusco Albariño from the Rias Baixas in Galicia. It’s a bright, fresh wine with depth and complexity, appropriately enough, and has lovely pear and white peach flavors with a citrusy finish. Here’s to a bright and fresh future!