Tapas and sherry at Barrafina

Jan 21, 12 Tapas and sherry at Barrafina

Posted by in Food and Wine, Spain, wine bars

There’s nothing better then a tasty snack while having a drink with friends. Wandering around Soho after a wine tasting the other day we stopped in at  Barrafina for a couple of tapas and a glass or two of sherry. Barrafina is a typical tapas bar, no tables just a long L-shaped bar lined with barstools and a thin counter that runs along the one wall of the bar where you stand and nosh/drink. One more thing, it’s as bright as any tapas bar in Spain, lit up like the middle of the day in summertime Spain. We ordered a bottle of La Gitana manzanilla (£20) while standing at the counter. If you don’t know sherry, start with a manzanilla. Dry and nutty, with a salty tinge to it, I love manzanilla, you’re not going to find fruit in a manzanilla but it’s a great with olives and almonds, among other things. We had a plate of pimientos de padron as well. All the food is the best quality they can find and you can taste it. Pan con tomate followed,  a juicy, very light tomato puree covering the bread and utterly delicious. We followed that with little chorizo sausages wrapped in thin potato slices, divine, if a little bit greasy, so beware when eating. If you sit at the bar, you have to order something a bit more substantial and there are plenty of specials, including a raw seafood bar. The night we were there we had the special of  fresh pollack in a tomato salsa, the pollack was delicate and fresh, the chunky tomato sauce full of garlic slivers. The wine list is not very long but there are plenty of good choices and John, our bartender/waiter let us try a couple of different red wines before we settled on Grand Recosind Crianza 2005 (£28). A blend of garnacha, cabernet and carinena from the Costa Brava, savoury but still having red fruit on the finish, supple tannins rolling over my tongue. We...

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Some finds from the 2011 London International Wine Fair

May 25, 11 Some finds from the 2011 London International Wine Fair

Posted by in England, London

Last week was the London International Wine Fair which meant that there were producers from all parts of the world in town to show off their wines as well as numerous launches of new lines and blends to show off to the trade. To say there was a variety of wine on show would be an understatement. White wine, red wine, even one of my favourites, sherry had a stand or two for tastings. Every night after the fair there was an event or 3 going on. The first night, I headed over to Camino in Canary Wharf to check out the launch of Tio Pepe’s Fino Rama sherry. A delicate,dry sherry that is only good for 3 months! It’s the only wine I know of that has a shelf life. The reason it has a shelf life is because the sherry is unfined, unfiltered and drawn from the middle of the cask. The only thing they do to it before bottling is allow it to settle before going into the bottle. This was their second offering of the Fino En Rama and this year’s vintage was much clearer then last year’s. It was a very cold Spring and the wine had two weeks to settle  because it was 2 weeks before they could bottle due to the Easter holidays. A rather delicate wine with yeatsy, bready notes on the nose, citrus and nutty flavours with a dry finish, drinking that with almonds was almost impossible to put down! I was in Croatia recently and so had to stop by the Croatian wine stand at the LIWF. I had to chance to speak with Mladan Rozanic about his red wines as well as try a couple. Besides the 2007 SuperIstrian which I had tried in Croatia, I also sampled his 2007 100% cabernet sauvignon and 2007 100% teran ( a native grape of Istria), both were monsters of rich dark fruit, the cab having  pronounced mineral notes on the nose. The teran was a...

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Sherry, baby….

“Sheeeeerrrrrrrryyyyyyy,baby. Sherry baby, Sherrrrry, can you come out tonite….” That old song by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons always pops into my head whenever I hear the word sherry. Most people unfortunately, usually associate sherry with grandmothers, rocking away the afternoon with a knit shawl on their lap and a small glass of sherry close by. Tio Pepe is trying to shed that image of fustiness and have come up with the Sherry and Tapas trail. A trip round some of the best tapas bars London has to offer. Between 12th – 18th July 2010 you can enjoy a free glass of Tio Pepe when you order a tapa (worth £4.50 or more) at any of the 9 restaurants on the tapas trail route. Participating restaurants are: Barrafina, Pinchitos, Fino and Barrica on the Central leg of the trail and on the Northern leg: Camino, Bar Pepito, Moro and Pinchitos (Old St.). I joined Eatlikeagirl for part of the Central leg. We visited Fino on Charlotte St. and Pinchitos on Bayley St. Our drink of choice was the Tio Pepe en rama Fino dry sherry. A special edition, unfiltered, dry sherry. If you think sherry is sticky and sweet, drink again! The en rama was dry and crisp, minerally and full bodied with a slight salty, nutty tang to it. The sherry has been taken from the middle of the cask where all the flor (the yeast that grows on the surface of the wine and gives it it’s distinct yeasty overtones) congregates. We tried it with a variety of tapas at Fino, starting off with the most tomatoey pan con tomate I’ve ever had, an explosion of tomato flavours thinly covering the bread, working our way through the morcilla with quail egg, braised pig cheeks and chorizo and potato chips, which were little chorizo sausages wrapped in thin slices of potato. Only the finest ingredients and mouthwateringly good. We had to stop ourselves ordering more as we were heading out to Pinchitos...

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