Paleo & Primal Food, Wine, Travel & Living

tapas

TAPAS Tempranillo Tasting is April 26, 2015 at the Presidio, San Francisco!

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If you like wine at all (especially wines made in a Spanish style), don’t miss this event:
TAPAS is pleased to announce the most extensive tasting of domestically produced Tempranillos and other Iberian varietal wines. Join nearly 40 TAPAS member vintners for the 8th annual Grand Wine Tasting held at the Golden Gate Club at the Presidio in San Francisco on Sunday, April 26, 2015.

Trade and consumers will be able to taste Tempranillos, Albariños, Garnachas, Verdelhos, Tourigas, and many other varieties, in a casual walk-around setting where they can chat with the growers and vintners. Explore the diversity of grapes and styles produced across the western United States.  Many TAPAS members are limited-production, family-owned wineries and will be pouring small lot wines that are not widely available. Many of the wines will also be available for sale at this event.

The year’s event will feature a Tempranillo Shootout starting at noon – watch the website for details!

The public event schedule is:

  • 12:00 Noon – 1:30 p.m.  – Tempranillo Shootout.  Tickets are $75, and include early admission to the Consumer Tasting directly afterward.
  • 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.  – Trade/Media Tasting.  Qualified members of the wine trade and media may register using the appropriate link below:
  • 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. – Consumer Tasting.  In conjunction with the walk-around tasting, the TAPAS Wine School (included with admission) will feature informative consumer-oriented seminars. Tickets are $55.

Tickets to the Tempranillo Shootout and Consumer Tasting are now on sale at tapas15.eventbrite.com.

TAPAS President Stuart Spencer noted, “The TAPAS Grand Tasting is a unique opportunity for you to discover, savor and celebrate this treasure chest of exotic and delightfully food-friendly wines. You will gain appreciation for what some visionary winegrowers are doing here on American soil. Don’t miss it!”

To me, this is one of the best wine tasting events of the year and a nice walk off the beaten path of common varietals. It’s fun to taste lesser known wines like Touriga Nacional (originates from Portugal) along with wines like Albariño, Garnacha, and Verdelhos which are slowly gaining domestic popularity. I walked away from the event last year with a better knowledge of wine in general and a few new favorites. I am looking forward to this year’s event and a day at the scenic Presidio in San Francisco. 🙂

About TAPAS
TAPAS, now in its eleventh year, started at the 2004 Unified Symposium, when Tempranillo winegrowers from California, Oregon, Washington, Texas and Arizona met for the first time to discuss their avocation.  Since that first visionary group pointed the way, the organization has incorporated and grown to over 100 members.  The first Grand Wine Tasting was held at Copia in Napa in 2008, and has continued annually since then, as one of many initiatives to promote Tempranillo and other varietal wine grapes native to the Iberian Peninsula and wines produced from them in North America.


Andaluca Restaurant in the Mayflower Park Hotel

Andaluca Restaurant is located adjacent to the Mayflower Park Hotel (where we stayed during our recent trip to Seattle).
Instead of rushing back out to eat after our check-in at the Mayflower Park, we opted to dine at Andaluca. It was so nice to simply walk down the stairs and be seated at our table.
Andaluca had a special that evening (all wines from Washington were at a 20% discount), so we chose the 2009 O’Shea Scarborough Chardonnay to kick things off. This wine release is aged 18 months entirely in neutral oak with barrel fermentation and is a classic oaky and buttery chardonnay.
When it was time to order dinner, we opted for the special Prix Fixe “Tour of the Meditteranean” for $39 per person, so that we could taste a wide spectrum of the menu. It’s a great deal because it includes a salad or soup, three small plates and a dessert for each person.

The beginning-of-meal bread basket comes with a ramekin of house made hummus. Hummus is real treat for me (because I really don’t eat legumes anymore at all), but I didn’t touch the bread. Instead, I used the hummus as a dressing on the salad I ordered.

My salad was a Pear Salad with mixed organic greens, stilton cheese, hazelnuts, and balsamic vinaigrette.

The BF ordered the Green Bean and Roasted Beet Salad with mixed organic greens, goat cheese, marcona almonds, roasted carrots, and sherry shallot vinaigrette.

This is the mini crab tower with dungeness crab, avocado, palm hearts, and gazpacho salsa.
Then it was onto a Beef Tenderloin Skewer with a marsala demi glace. I really enjoyed this one!


Next, I ordered the Grilled Quail with shallots, mushrooms, black currant jus. I had just had an exquisite quail appetizer at Hurley’s in Yountville a few weeks prior, so I saw no reason to quit my quail habit anytime soon. It was cooked perfectly (it’s a tiny creature and easy to overcook).


The BF ordered the Broken Egg Papas Frites made up of fried yukon gold potatoes, chorizo, and roasted mushrooms. I had most of the egg–I love dishes with runny egg.


These are the Roasted Mussels with baby tomatoes, sizzling lemon butter, rosemary, lemons, and finished with white wine.  I have had my share of gamey, metallic mussels, but these tasted sweet and subtle. I would eat mussels all the time if they were more like these.

The next bottle of wine we tried (yes, bottle number 2, don’t judge) was a 2008 Hedges Family Estate “Red Mountain”. It is a blend of 36% Cabernet Sauvignon; 33% Merlot; 14% Syrah; 11% Cabernet Franc; and 6% Malbec. It was full bodied and a great pairing with our desserts… especially my cheese plate (pictured below):


For dessert, I ordered the Cabrales Cheese Selection 1 oz. cow and goat milk cheese blend from the north of Spain, with a pear and almond compote. To my surprise, it was a blue cheese (my favorite!)

This is the Garrotxa plate that the BF ordered. It has 1 oz. goat’s milk cheese from the Catalonia region with red wine tempranillo reduction and grapes and crostini.

Meet our server, Chris. His service was exceptional at Andaluca. Since I had a gift card, he did not know he was going to be written about until I told him at the end of the meal and asked for his picture. He was very knowledgable about the menu and the wine list. Great job!

The head chef at Andaluca is Wayne Johnson. He has been at the helm since 1999. Some of you might have seen his appearance on Iron Chef America this year when he competed against Michael Symon. The secret ingredient was cucumbers! You can see video of the competition here.

If you’re in Seattle or planning a trip there, Andaluca is not to be missed. You can find Andaluca on Facebook here follow them on twitter here, and visit their website here.