A super evening with Maria Jose López de Heredia. The wine lineup was certainly not the highlight, being mostly new releases, for a wine that takes decades, even generations to shine. The food was good, very good sometimes, but not amazing. However, the company more than made up for it, with my friend B. having flown in from Phoenix just for the dinner, Maria Jose being extremely convivial and charming, and Monica, the importer, rounding things out nicely. The important takeaways? Maria Jose has a slight distaste for engineers, likes sake, and the winemaker first mentioned as amongst her favorites? Why, Chateau Musar of course!
- Boquerones en Escabeche - house cured anchovy, marinated peppers, pine nuts - these were maybe the most delicious anchovies I've eaten, ever. Really creamy and delicious.
- Sobrasada - house made soft chorizo
- ...and a mystery cheese... I don't remember, it was a late change.
2000 Viña Gravonia Blanco - smells like an overblown California butterball chardonnay, and tastes like anything but. Pretty and tasty, and a certain "in-your-head" quality, largely, I think, due to the difference between the nose and the palate.
2000 Viña Tondonia Rosado - honestly, my favorite wine of the evening, that full on savoury experience. M.J. was very impressed that we've been drinking the '93s in Kyoto, saying she doesn't have any left herself, and if she could find some, she'd buy it back. Of course, she then told us about how much she'd recently enjoyed a '64 rosado. So, not exactly time to drink up then!
- Ravioli de Hongo - duck consommé, alba white truffle, shaved foie gras - this was very nice too!
- Trucha con Jamón - trout, serrano ham, white asparagus, glacier lettuce, black olive
- Menestra en Pintxo - a menestra is supposed to be a sort of vegetable casserole, so I guess this was a "deconstructed" version: artichoke, potato, asparagus, and parsley
2004 Cubillo - Really didn't make an impression, at all.
- Chuleta - prime dry aged rib eye, with veal jus
- Patatas a la Riojana - piquillo peppers, smoked hot paprika, and chorizo
- Alcachofas - artichokes, béchamel, idiazabal, black truffle escabèche
1987 Viña Tondonia Blanco Reserva - the first Musarian comparison was made by Monica, the U.S. importer. Not so much that she agreed, but noting that it was not an uncommon comparison. The aromatics are certainly familiar, not convinced that the similarities continue - this seems to be a bit rounder and herbal.
1999 Viña Bosconia Reserva - Lovely balance, but predictably not offering very much at the moment.
- Crema de Pera - vanilla pear custard, almond cookie, orange gastrique
- petit four - marzipans
Solera 1948 Gran Reserva Fondillon - a 100% Monastrell from Alicante - familiar style but a very dry version. Not from Heredia, but neat!