Great Escape: A Girls' Night In With Spanish Wines
Here's a good reason to coordinate childcare ahead of time: a night of wine tasting with friends.
Wine tasting might sound fun at first, but intrigue can quickly give way to intimidation. What types and price ranges are appropriate? Is it necessary to “pair” the right cheeses? Life is complicated enough without having to solve such conundrums during your precious relaxation time.
So to have your wine and drink it too, consider raising a glass to Spain. There are a number of delicious and affordable Spanish wines available. Most pair brilliantly with basic Spanish snacks: olives, almonds, and a mild sheepsmilk cheese called manchego (available at Hollin Hall Safeway). Arrange the tidbits in a few platters on the coffee table and you’re ready to bring out the corkscrew.
If Rioja comes to mind when you think of Spanish wine, you are not alone. However, wines from the Ribera del Duero region are widely considered to be superior. A fantastic and affordable bottle, Alidis Ribera del Duero Roble 2007, offers the deep fruit flavors and velvety texture that Cabernet lovers will savor. Best of all it, will only set you back $15 to $20. If you don’t see it at the local liquor store, ask the staff to order it, or check online. It’s well worth the minor inconvenience.
Feeling celebratory? Consider a bottle of cava. That’s the Spanish analog of champagne. Two easy-to-find and tasty brands, Freixenet Negro and Codorniu, will tingle your palate without emptying your wallet. Many people prefer the Brut versions, but if you like dry better then go for the Extra Dry. Freixenet Negro is currently available at Hollin Hall’s Safeway.
When you’re ready for dessert, you can unscrew a bottle of port. Sure, it’s easy to spend a lot of money on the fancy brands, but some very reasonable varieties like Ramos Pinto Porto Ruby can be had for a mere $15. Sip while you nibble on dark chocolate.
Okay, the kids are finally off with the sitter, your friends are coming in an hour and – what? You haven’t done anything to prepare for Spanish Wine Night? Here’s what you do. Grab any old red wine. Combine 1:1 with your favorite lemon soda. Garnish with lime. Presto! You’ve got tinto de verano (“red wine of summer”), which madrileños drink all year round. Enjoy with some salty snacks like chorizo (Spanish sausage) on slices of baguette. Or just break out the gourmet potato chips. So authentic you can almost hear guitar music accompanying the stampede of bulls running down the road. Olé!