Tag Archives: Spanish Wines

THE EPICENTER OF WINE CULTURE IN MÀLAGA, SPAIN

I went to Los Patios de Beatas on Calle Beatas the other evening to check out the wine scene there. It was recommended by Kelly Kannisto of Tannin Trail Tours (LINK) (LINK TO PREVIOUS POST), when I contacted him about recommendations for wine experiences in Màlaga.

Although Màlaga is a wine region, the wines made here are generally sweet. The great dry wines of Spain are made elsewhere.

Los Patios de Beatas is a combination restaurant, tapas bar, wine tasting room, wine retailer, and event location. It is beautifully appointed, has indoor and outdoor seating, and a good selection of wines, almost all from Spain, on sale. Since being in Màlaga, we have had some difficulty finding a good wine shop.

I looked around the space a bit, and asked if I could do a tasting. Àngel, the head waiter told me to sit anywhere in the tasting room/tapas bar area. He and Christina made sure that I was well attended to, even though there were other customers – the exterior seating was full. The main restaurant is staffed separately.

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There is a Enoteca Machine that dispenses wines and keeps them at temperature. The wine list had over 15 tintos (reds) and half a dozen blancos (whites) available by the glass. Eight of the reds were in the Enoteca. I started with a 2005 Tilenos Pagos de Posada, 100% Mencia from D.O. Bierzo (LINK) in northwestern Spain. This wine has a great minerality with hints of dark fruit, chocolate, and leather. Very nice. It retails for 33€ or about $36. Another great value from Spain.

Next, I tried a 2009 Alma de Luzon, Monastrell blend of 70% Monastrell, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Syrah. This wine is from D.O. Jumilla (LINK), in southern Spain not far from Valencia, where the Monastrell Grape is very popular. This wine was rich and chewy, with medium tannins and a smooth finish. It retails for 36€ or about $39.

Next, Àngel brought four bottles to the table – all chilled. Three were Sherry, and one was a local Màlaga sweet wine. There were two sweet Sherries and one dry Sherry from D.O. Jerez (LINK) (LINK TO PREVIOUS POST), where Dorianne and I visited last year. I tasted these side by side while waiting for my tapas to arrive.

The Màlaga sweet wine, a Trajinero (LINK), made from 100% Pedro Ximénez grapes and fortified, was semi-sweet, with a nutty flavor and a nice smooth finish. The stand-out was the Fernando de Castilla Antique Oloroso Jerez Sherry (LINK), probably the best dry Sherry I have ever tasted. Over 20 years in the barrel (they rotate Sherries through a series of barrels so that each vintage is similar – taking some out, leaving some in, and adding the more recent vintage), this wine was smooth, with traces of coconut, vanilla and pear. Really special. This wine retails for 22€, or about $24 per 500ml bottle.

Then, my two tapa arrived. The first, a cod in a sauce that include coconut milk, was an amazing sensation of flavor. The second, pork belly, slow cooked and then the fat removed and a slice of pork chorizo inserted, accompanied by fennel and an apple puree. Amazing! The kitchen here is wonderfully creative and executes that creativity beautifully.

To accompany those, Àngel suggested a 2008 Mauro “Sin D.O.” from Castilla y Leon, made from 88% Tempranillo and 12% Syrah. The wine was a decent pairing with the cod (the coconut made it tricky), but perfect for the pork belly.

Then, to round of a great experience, Àngel brought out two local digestifs. They retail for about 7€ for a ½ bottle. Both were nice, if not exceptional.

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My tab for the whole thing was 50€. I know that a couple of things were comped. One of the more expensive evenings I’ve had in Màlaga, but a bargain anywhere outside of Spain.

So if you find yourself in Màlaga, find Los Patios de Beatas and have a great wine experience. I was solo on this trip, as Dorianne is out of town – so I will be taking her there when she returns.

As always, your comments on all things Spanish and/or wine are welcome.

 

Copyright 2016 – Jim Lockard

AMAZING RESTAURANT & WINE IN MADRID

Dorianne and I arrived in Madrid on Friday the 13th. We are staying near the Palacio Real and the Cathedral, adjacent to the old city. So far, we have explored a few Tapas places, including the wonderful Mercado de San Miguel (LINK) which is a moving conveyor of wine-drinking, tapas-eating revelers from vendor to vendor devouring a variety of tapas and wines or beers. The two photos below are of the Mercado.

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Last night (Saturday) we visited TripAdvisor.com to see what was the highest rated restaurant near us. We were pointed to La Mi Venta (LINK), a nondescript little place near the Palacio. It was rated #32 out of over 7,000 Madrid restaurants.

Here is my TripAdvisor.com review: Thank you TripAdvisor.com! While in Madrid, we looked for the highest rated restaurant near our hotel – and found this gem just a few blocks away.
La Mi Venta is very unassuming from the outside – it looks like a thousand other touristy street cafes in this area near the Palacio Real (LINK). But inside is another matter. The ground floor is a very nondescript tapas bar – but downstairs are two very intimate and lovely dining rooms. David, who presides over this area like a king, is assisted by a young man who’s name we did not get, but the two compliment each other beautifully.
After being served a delicious bread and an amazing olive oil for dipping, we opted for tapas – two of the combination plates that evening. The menu includes a number of Tapas selections, plus other small plates, salads, and larger meals at the back.
Our first Tapas Platter was a combination of Iberico Jamon (LINK) (reputed to be the best in Madrid – and I have no argument there), and other charcuterie with Manchengo cheese.
At David’s recommendation, we ordered a bottle of 2010 Pago de Carraovejas Riserva Tinto (LINK). A blend of 97% Temperanillo, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 1% Merlot – a truly superlative wine (Parker – 94 Points) for only 44 Euros (I saw the same bottle in a retail store the next day for 41 Euros). The wine was a perfect accompaniment to the Tapas.
For our second platter, we chose a seafood base – Pike, tuna, foie gras, and Pork back with fried potatoes and mild chilies. All amazing. The Spanish foie gras (which won the French competition last year) is very light and delicious and the geese are not force-fed to produce this amazing product.
We had digestives at the end of the meal, a version of limoncello and a chocolate cream liquor with wonderful confections.
The entire bill with tax was 84 Euros.
This restaurant is a don’t miss if you are visiting Madrid.

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This will serve as our introduction to fine Spanish Wine. The wine had a very appealing nose of dark fruit with a hint of savory minerality. David decanted the wine for about 20 minutes before serving. He noted that it is one of the hottest wines in Spain currently. The 2010 Pago de Carraovejas Riserva Tinto drank much like a California Cabernet – big and bold at 15% alcohol, a trait of many Ribera Wines.

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For a Digestive, we were served two liquors made on the premises, a Limoncello-like liquor and a Chocolate Cream Liquor, topping off a grand meal. Then, a quick tour of the wine cabinet with David.

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