City Winery has done it again with a sensational new series for us. This new line up of food and wine events is in partnership with American Airlines, where each segment will focus on a different world destination celebrating the wine from that country, of course with delicious food pairings and menu also inspired by the country.
This recap is on last week’s event featuring a tour of the wines from Spain.
Our expert for the evening was Patrick Mata, co-owner of Ole Obigrado, an importer of artisanal wine and spirits from Spain and Portugal connecting us with some of the best family winegrowers across the Iberian Peninsula.
With a clear love and passion for his Spanish roots and the wine produced there, Mata gave us an evening of beautiful storytelling, weaving in through personality, emotion, and facts on the wines’ origins throughout the presentation.
The evening began with the first wine, a City Winery Bubbles made from the traditional method of Cava vinification, similar to the fermentation of champagne. With that said, the bubbles in this wine are all natural, unlike variations of Prosecco that inject bubbles into the wine.
The scallop crudo was an elegant piece of fish that was so tender and delicate but had a nice meatiness to it. In addition there was also a bit of crunch and smokiness from the addition of the guanciale. It added something unexpected and was a really great light appetizer to start.
The second wine was an Leiranna Albarino (2022), a very exclusive wine that only has 1000 cases world wide. This is a fascinating grape due to its salinity. It has a great combination of mineral and acid which makes it a great palette cleanser, and goes great with almost any kind of food. While the acid within the wine promotes the flavors in different foods, what makes this special is that the grapes themselves have their own beautiful flavor. It went exceptionally with the crudo, and also paired nicely with our second course. Overall it is a very elegant, special and versatile wine.
The second course was a Mollete de Antequera, a traditional Spanish dish which was excellent in all its simplicty. The small “baguette” had a really lovely butteriness with the smokey but yet still mild Iberico ham and a divine mustard horseradish kick that added some wow factor flavor.
The third wine was a very humble wine, with enough tanins to add a little assertiveness. I found it to still be a light and balanced wine. Also very, elegant, a common theme with the wines presented to us this evening.
The octopus was perfectly cooked with a spot on ratio of tenderness and char. It was seasoned perfectly and also had some extra flavor elements from the smokey and earthy romesco sauce, and a nice freshness from the frise. There was also a nice garlic note from the back end of the taste buds which married nice all together.
The fourth wine that was brought out was a La Antigua Clasico Ciranza from Rioja, which has a beautiful earthiness and smokiness to it. With notes of cedar and vanilla, there is a sweetness and warmth that works together really beautifully. Although it was the fourth wine, it matched the earthy smokiness of the romesco in the third course. Mata really honed in on playing with wine and showed the versatility in how we can mix and match with these dishes for a completely different experience each time.
One dish that stole the crowd this evening was the cherry gazpacho which entered the show screaming with flavor. The gazpacho had a wonderful consistency and had a beautiful complexity and a great pungency and kick from the sour cherry and garlic, which was heavily present, that added a spice but not in the typical way one thinks something as spicy. The sour cherry also brought in a hint of sweetness. It also had a nice balance to it with a bit of goat cheese to help cut through those stronger flavors and a nice textural crunch from the pistachio.
The cheesecake was also exceptional with a really lovely twist using Plumcot ( a cross between a plum and apricot), that added a really nice sweetness and almost perfumy essence to the dish. The cheesecake itself was also full of flavor, loaded with notes of different spices, whether it be cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger or all three. The texture was perfectly creamy with the nice buttery crumble to complement it.
We finished with another glass of City Bubbles however the real star finisher was given to us by our host who treated us to a non-vintage bottle of Tondonia from Rioja, a wine from the 70s or older that is no longer made.