(From left to right: Cecile, Jenni, Andrew, Jeanne, Johanna, Todd, and Jeanne's husband Nick flashing in the mirror).
Couldn't believe my eyes when I stepped out of the house on Saturday and saw masses streaming from the station towards Twickenham Stadium - this must have been the scene everybody saw when they arrived for the 1st foodblogger event at mine back in May ... and I was really glad that Jeanne of the CookSister! had volunteered to host (in the very opposite end of London) on this occasion.
The theme for the afternoon was a wine tasting, Jeanne had paired with Andrew of Spittoon and arranged a (blind) tasting of Spanish wines in the company of Todd (londonchef), Jenni (Pertelote), Cecile (EnglishPatis) and myself. I really enjoyed the afternoon and was thankful that we separated the wine tasting from the food - it's been ages since I've properly discussed wine, concentrated on the bouquet, taste, tried to guess the grape, region, price... we had good fun and discovered a great lot of wines!
And here's what we had:
Herederos de Argüeso Las Medallas de Argueso, Manzanilla Sherry: although Andrew insisted on a nutty bouquet, I mostly tasted hay, wood - or chestnut at the most. Contrary to many, I actually do appreciate sherry, as a palate cleanser before your meal... and I also use it for sauces a lot. This particular bottle was very good value, I thought, only £3,75 for 375 ml @ Handfords.
Raventos El Preludi Clos Del Serral, 2004, Penedes, Spain: My first thought here was that the wine was corked - which I didn't dare to say out loud, of course, until our resident wine expert voiced the same opinion himself... so my tasting notes reveal wood and mineral smells, not much more than that.
LOVED the next one! Basa Blanco, 2004, Reuda, Spain, a Sauvignon Blanc grape - so the usual intensely fruity aroma, I had white peach, gooseberry, white melon - despite the short finish, I thought this was a great wine, even more so when the price tag was revealed: just £5 at Brindisa, this is a MUST for my next visit to the Borough Market!
On to the reds. Excellent choices again here:
Borsao Vina Borgia Campo de Borja, 2004, Borja, Spain: Although not overly complex, this is full of fruits, dark cherries, currants, cranberries - mostly Grenache grapes, a great, light wine and a treat at £4,95 at Handfords.
Bodegas Joan Sangenis Juncosa 'Cal Pla', 2002, Priorat, Spain: This was a funny one - I was absolutely sure I knew the smell, yet I have never knowingly had a wine from the Priorato. Intensely smokey, a hint of sandalwood and tobacco, a very interesting wine indeed. We're stepping up the price-ladder here: £10.99 at Handfords.
Next up a Rioja: Marques de Vagas Rioja Reserva, 2001, Rioja, Spain: full of prunes, chocolate - a really nice specimen, although I found the price a bit steep for what it was - £16. But that just follows the trend here in the UK - you pay a "premio" just for the fact that you're buying a Rioja - not as ridiculous as for the Bordeaux yet, but still. Given that you can have fantastic New World wines (ie special Penfold's bins or D'Arenbergs to name but a few) for around £10, I wonder why they sell that well at all!
With the cheese, Andrew brought out the Gran Barquero Pedro Ximenez, NV, Montilla, Spain (£6,49 at Waitrose) which reminded me very much of my entry for a WBW recently.
All this wine was obviously accompanied by some great food, too. We're foodbloggers, after all, with the exception of Andrew, maybe, and Jeanne's wonderful husband Nick who endured us with so much stoicism it's almost unreal.
Cecile brought Albondigas (meatballs in tomato sauce) and quails' eggs dunked in lime curd, wrapped in parma ham.
Todd flash-fried padron peppers for us (always a treat, although Nick must have nicked the only spicy one).
Andrew baked some fabulous olive bread for us.
Jeanne stuffed Spanish pickled peppers with cream cheese and prepared a scrumptuous seafood paella.
Jenni bought a great selection of Spanish cheeses and membrillo.
And I prepared:
- Skewers of enebriated chestnuts, sage, chorizo & sundried tomato
- Aubergine caponata in a thyme-scented tomato sauce gratinated with manchego cheese and
- Pan-seared tuna marinated in sherry, with a red onion & oloroso sauce, lime & coriander
Recipes to follow very soon, and everybody's looking forward to the Euro-Foodbloggers Official Christmas Party at my house on the 17th of December!