There isn't a lot of new stuff on the tasting bench at the moment, some new stuff is coming in the new year. However, I have been enjoying some Spanish food and taking a second (or fifth) look at some of the wines I've tasted over the year. Mussels with bechamel is a great snack or have it with a salad and call it lunch.
You will need:
- Mussels. As many as you want to eat. If you have 4 or more people 1Kg is a good size for tapas.
- 1 cup of bechamel (or white) sauce. I use the aussie version: butter, flour, bay leaf, pepper and onion. Many Spanish recipes use olive oil, garlic, onion, parsley, and a little nutmeg.
- egg beaten and bread crumbs for coating
- Olive oil for frying and finishing
How to make it:
Steam the mussels and remove the cooked meat, saving the best shells. Make the bechamel and leave it to chill so that it becomes hard. Put a spoonful of bechamel over each mussel so that cover the bug and fill the seashell. Coat the top of the shell with egg and breadcrumbs and shallow fry the top half of shell. throw the completed mussels on a plate with a bit of salad and drizzle with olive oil.
There are a couple of variations on the theme: add a small slice of jamon on top before crumbing (my favourite), add some grated cheese to the top and give it a quick grill after frying, and finally add some mild blue cheese to the bechamel for some extra funky flavours.
I find manzanilla is perfect with this dish, but an albarino with some good acid would go down a treat.
To celebrate the ability to taste and smell again, I double decanted a couple of bottles and headed down to La Luna in Carlton for lunch with the lads yesterday.
This is a regional blend from Alvaro Palacios in Priorat, all of the grapes are bought in and its rumoured that he pays 3 times the going rate to get the best possible selection of fruit for this wine. The blend is 40% Garnacha, 40% Carinena and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and the wine sees 12 months in oak.
Initially quite reserved on the nose, it opens up with blackberry and dark cherry fruit and adds cinnamon initially. With some more air, a pleasant sooty aspect appears. Well balanced and refined in the mouth with a good hit of acid. The soft fruit tannins build into a great texture as the wine opens up. Lots of complexity with more dark fruits with licorice, crunchy minerals, pepper and spice. Great length and with more mineral and sour fruit on the finish. Looks like 04 Priorat is going to be a killer vintage. 91 Pts.
Source: The Spanish Acquisition Cost: Around $60 Closure: Conventional Cork
I've got a bad case of the flu at the moment, so there hasn't been a lot of drinking going on at casa Tinto y Blanco in the last week. I've got a couple of notes of wines I tasted last weekend, so I'm posting these up in the mean time. I should be back on track early this week.
The one thing I did manage to have a look at during the week was a tasting of some very interesting and tasty Portugese wines and ports. I will be adding some portugese wines in to the tasting list as they become availble. If you have any sugestions, I'd be very interested in what is available in Australia.
This is an odd little wine, it comes from a non DO area in Castilla y Leon and is a blend of Viura and Savignon Blanc. Oh and its very cheap, under $10 at retail in Melbourne. I've heard about these great Spanish wines for under $10 in the US, and I was suckered in. The good ones cost $20+ here.
Not a lot happening on the nose, a bit of passion fruit and white flowers, but a bit dull really. Well balanced and fresh in the mouth, it has a great oily texture that hides some fennel seed, lemon and melon. Finish is quite long for what it is. For a tenner, its interesting, if a bit ho hum. 80 Pts.
Source: Retail Cost: $9.50 Closure: Conventional Cork
This must be one of the most recognisable bottles of wine around, the solid metal base and metal coat of arms as the label are quite striking. Perfect for any medieval occasion you may be planning, also very handy in a bar fight.
So what is the wine like? Well, its very similar to the Vintage Brut, but more refined. In fact it may be the same wine blended from multiple vintages .
Just the right amount of fizz. The nose has a big wack of green apple with a light influence of bread and nuts. Very good balance, every thing is in its place. Very refreshing and enjoyable. While not as complex as many champagnes, there is a good deal of complexity to go with the green apple and lemon: almonds, walnuts and minerals. Long smooth finish that keeps you coming back for more. A very good wine with some outrageous packaging. 88 Pts.
Source: Retail Cost: $34 Closure: Conventional Cork