Have you ever noticed that adding in a glass of wine to the simplest evening or get together makes it feel a little more special?  The time, the skill, the knowledge and experience behind creating a great bottle of wine is truly astounding.  I still haven’t become accustomed to the perceived decadence of ordering an entire bottle of wine at a restaurant, despite the gross mark up.  Even my night at home in my yoga pants watching House Hunters International with a glass of Malbec at my side feels just a little… more.

Tonight was wine night with my wine gals – Gwen, Jenn, and Shelley.  Our other member, Angela, decided to move to the mainland, taking her perceptive nose with her.  That girl could pick out guava, pineapple, leather, licorice, anise – you name it.  If there was a hint of it, her nose would pick it out.  We blunder along the best we can without her!

Tonight, Gwen and I were on food duty, and Jenn and Shelley were in charge of choosing our Spanish wines.  I must admit I haven’t tried a lot of Spanish wines, but recently had an incredible one, so I was anticipating some amazing flavours.

Spanish white

Gwen prepared an antipasto platter with Manchego cheese, chorizo, and plump Manzanillo olives with a side of spicy Ajillo mushrooms to pair with Shelley’s white – a 2010 Lagar de Cervera.   This wine hails from the village of Fornelos in the north west of Spain, bordering on Portugal.  It was fresh and bright with aromas of citrus and spice.  A swirl and taste produced zippy acidity and fairly pronounced minerality with a hint of lemongrass (I didn’t catch the lemongrass, by the way.  Gwen gets full props on that one).  It complimented the spicy mushrooms, chorizo and nutty cheese beautifully.   For our cool, rainy spring, I would still reach for a Chardonnay first, but just wait until summer!  This would be the perfect wine to sip on a hot sunny day on the deck.

Next came my food offering.  My friend recently returned from Spain and told me about a wonderful appetizer he sampled while there – Berenjenas con Miel (or eggplant fritters with honey).  Done.  Murcian clams (Almejas a la Murciana) followed with some fresh baguette to soak up the wonderful white wine and paprika sauce.  Our red pairing was a pretty outstanding Rioja (nice pick Jenn!).  Dinastia Vivanco copyThe 2008 Crianza from Dinastia Vivanco comes in a rustic looking bottle, and is crafted using hand-picked Tempranillo grapes.  In our glasses, it shone with ruby highlights, and luxuriously coated our tongues.  Spice and cherries on the nose parlayed into tart cherries, chocolate, and toasty cinnamon on the palate.

Damn, this was a great red that just oozed old world Spain.

For dessert, Gwen had prepared pears poached in red wine and handmade chocolate truffles that just melted in your mouth.  A gorgeous finale to our Spanish feast.

Each and every time we gather for a wine night, the food and wine is amazing, but the conversation, laughs, and secrets we share are just as good.  My only complaint?  That we never find the time to do this often enough.  Til next time ladies!