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Brian Murdock

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    Madrid, Spain
  1. Victor, your vote wins by default!! My friend decided to bag the gazpacho de hierbabuena. Probably the right choice given the chilly weather that day. We did have fish for a first course, paired with a delicious Enrique Mendoza Chardonnay Fermentado en Barrica, and Rabo de Toro as the main course (the sauce included some dark chocolate, giving it a kind of mole poblano touch, I guess), and we chose a wonderful Toro red (appropriate at least in name) by Telmo Rodríguez, Gago, to go with that. And there you have it. Issue resolved! Or maybe not, come to think of it!!
  2. Brian Murdock

    Wine Tag: G

    Plenty of Garnacha in Spain, especially in Aragon (D.O. Calatayud, D.O. Campo de Borja and D.O. Cariñena), and in Priorat and Montsant where the old vine Garnacha plays a key role in those blends. One variety I'd like to add is the grape Godello, which makes delicious whites from Galicia. The most famous region is D.O. Valdeorras. A good "G" Godello worth trying is "Gutián". You can also find Godello in some other parts of Galicia, and even in El Bierzo (León) which is right next door. G could also be used for Galician wines in general: Albariños (Rías Baixas), Ribeiros, Ribeira Sacra, Monterrei and Valdeorras. One interesting thing about those wines is that no foreign grapes are used, and most wines made available are made from grape varieties that are native to the region, so it's a good chance to try something different.
  3. It is a tricky one, isn't it? A friend of mine is making it and he called me and asked what I thought we could pair with it, and I thought for a second and replied, "I have no idea!" That's why I was appealing to the members of the forum. Manzanilla seems to me like a reasonable choice, so unless anyone else out there as another suggestion, I think I'll give that try. Thanks
  4. I'm mixing forums here, but I figure someone in this area will most likely have a good suggestion. Any recommendations for a wine to go with a gazpacho de hierbabuena? Thanks!
  5. Brian Murdock

    Wine Tag: E

    Here's one quick "E" wine from Spain. The winery Enate, from the region Somontano. Just about everything it does is good, and goes up from there!!
  6. Brian Murdock

    Pedro Ximenez

    Some very interesting comments made throughout this thread, but I thought I would add some further clarifications about sherry, PX, etc. First of all, sherry is generally not a blend of different grapes but, as JohnL just mentioned, a blend of different aged wine. In the D.O. Jerez-Xeres-Sherry-Manzanilla de Sanlucar de Barrameda (an appellation whose name does not hold up to modern marketing standards!!), uses mainly the Palomino grape, which makes some pretty uninteresting basic white wine, but excellent sherry. PX is also available in these parts, but one basic difference is that whereas sherry (fino, manzanilla, oloroso, amontillado) has alcohol added to the base wne before the aging process, sweet Pedro Ximénez naturally reaches 15% because of the high sugar content. So, no alcohol is added. Part of the confusion may come from the fact that cream sherries are quite popular outside of Spain and they are in fact blends of Palomino Olorosos and Pedro Ximénez. To make matters even more confusing, in D.O. Montilla-Moriles (in the Andalusian province of Córboda), sherry-style wines are made. Some are dry while others are sweet, but almost all use the Pedro Ximénez grape. The whole subject is fascinating but equally baffling at times. But the wine is good, that's for sure.
  7. Judiones de la granja are much bigger and thicker than fabes and the later are thinner and softer. Take a look at this site. I've heard that there are now lots of fake fabes from South America. To differ them you have to take a fistful and tighten and if they escape they are the false ones. ← That's a great site!! Thanks Rogelio!!
  8. I agree with Butterfly. It's very important not to stir, especially after the beans have become soft. Some with break apart, but most will keep together. Now's here a question someone might know the answer to: is there a real difference between fabes and judiones de la granja (Segovia)? They seem essentially the same to me, and the only difference is that they come from different parts of the country.
  9. I've never heard of that either, but I'll check with my mother-in-law...she's the expert!
  10. Brian Murdock

    White Rioja

    It's good to see that a big red wine region like Rioja is also getting some exposure for its white wine, which has improved a lot over the past few years. Generally, these whites are made the Viura grape, making the Remelluri white an unusual but very pleasant surprise. In the past, Rioja had a well-deserved reputation for uneven quality in its white wine, but the potential for extremely well-balanced and complex whites has always been there, and a number of regions are now proving that.
  11. Make that 2-0 final score!!! Exciting game all around. And plenty of butifarra to boot!
  12. Thank you very much Jose. It was a pleasure for me to be a part of this conversation. I'm afraid you're going to be wrong about the score this weekend! A la teva salut!
  13. Clokwurk has brought up some very interesting points, many of which confirm that the issue is a complex one. Spain is doing better than ever, but it has taken an usually long time for it to get there, and Spanish wine is still for from where I think it could be. But at least it's heading in the right direction. In any event, I was giving some thought to Jose's remarks and an interesting discovery dawned on me. In a follow-up question I asked Jose about which wine regions he was especially excited about and I later realized that in a sense he had already answered my question in his response. You see, Jose referred to wines that excited him by using grape varieties, many of which I could associate with a specific region. Albariño (Rías Baixas); Treixadura (Ribeiro); Godello (Valdeorras); Mencía (especially El Bierzo); Garnacha (Priorat, Montsant, Aragonese regions, to name a few)... In other words we were talking about the same thing with different words. Jose spoke almost "American" in the sense that he discussed wine in terms of variety. People order Pinot Grigios, Merlots, etc. But in Spain, with the possible exception of Albariño, wine is generally ordered by region (I am talking generally here, not necessarily at an expert level)...if that. Sometimes it's just a "vino blanco" or a "vino tinto". You never hear a person say, "I'll have a Garnacha". Heck, many Spaniards have no idea what grape variety goes into their wine. This seemingly minor detail led me to wonder just HOW Americans order Spanish wine. What are they looking for? Are they looking for varieties? Regions? Which bit of information sticks with them best, the grape or the D.O.? In the end, this could have a huge bearing on how Spanish regions, bodegas and even institutions like ICEX should market it. In the end, it may not be a minor detail at all. From your personal experience there, Jose, do you have any thoughts on thi matter? Thanks
  14. I'm watching this weekend's Real Madrid - F.C. Barcelona soccer game with some friends. Any suggestions on dishes I should prepare? (There will be both merengues and culés there). Any predictions on the score?
  15. Cabello de ángel is candied squash (not pumpkin, but cidra--a much more fibrous squash). I've never seen this squash in America--though I've seen it in Mexico as (chila)cayote. ← Now that makes sense. I was always told it was "calabaza" which is usually pumpkin, but you're right, but sweet squash...hmmm I hadn't thought of that.
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