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Miami Wine Columnist Fred Tasker’s Wine Tour of Spain

 

 

IF YOU EVER WANT TO TAKE A GOOD, LONG, DRIVING WINE TOUR, A PERFECT PLACE TO DO IT IS SPAIN. THE COUNTRYSIDE IS BEAUTIFUL, THE WINEMAKERS ARE FRIENDLY AND THE VARIETY OF WINES IS HUGE.

YOU COULD FLY INTO BARCELONA AND, WITHIN AN HOUR’S DRIVE, BE IN THE PENEDES REGION. HERE IS THE FAMOUS, 200-YEAR-OLD TORRES WINERY – HOME OF SANGRE DE TORO WINE AND MAYBE THE FANCIEST PUBLIC WINE TOUR IN THE WORLD. THE PENEDES IS ALSO THE HOME OF CAVA, THE SPANISH SPARKLING WINE YOU FIND IN GROCERY STORES WITH THE BIG, STURDY BUBBLES AND THE FRIENDLY PRICES.

A FEW HOURS SOUTHEAST AND YOU’RE IN SPAN’S BEST-KNOWN WINE REGION, RIOJA, WHERE THEY MAKE WONDERFUL RED WINES FROM THE TEMPRANILLO GRAPE.

TURN WEST AND YOU’RE IN RIBERA DEL DUERO, HOME TO THE ICON OF SPANISH WINE, VEGA SICILIA. A BLEND OF TEMPRANILLO, CABERNET SAUVIGNON, MERLOT AND MALBEC FAMOUS FOR ITS LONG-AGING POTENTIAL – AND ITS PRICE, OFTEN $300 A BOTTLE OR MORE. GIVE IT 10 YEARS MORE OF AGING AND IT’S A TRULY FABULOUS WINE.

IN THE FAR SOUTHWESTERN CORNER OF SPAIN IS THE REGION OF JEREZ, HOME TO SPAIN’S FAMOUS SHERRY WINES.  THE GRAPES ARE GROWN IN SCORCHING HEAT AND AGED IN BARRELS PURPOSELY LEFT OUT IN THE SUN SO THE WITH AGES INTO TAWNY PERFECTION, RANGING FROM LIGHT, SUPERDRY FINO SHERRIES TO ULTRASWEET CREAM SHERRIES.

BACK ON THE MEDITERRANEAN COAST YOU COME TO VALENCIA, HOME TO VALENCIA ORANGES AND BIRTHPLACE TO PAELLA. AND THE PERFECT WINE FOR PAELLA IS SANGRIA, IN WHICH THOSE JUICY ORANGES ARE USED TO CUT THE POWER OF HUGE RED WINES MADE POWERFUL FROM THE HOT SPANISH SUN.

A HUNDRED MORE GREAT WINES COME FROM SPAIN – TOO MANY TO MENTION. YOU’LL JUST HAVE TO SET ASIDE ABOUT A MONTH, RENT A CAR AND GET STARTED.

Join me on twitter by going to @fredtaskermiami.

Italian flavors enliven lean meatloaf


 

 

 

Meatloaf, well-seasoned and served with a tomato-mushroom sauce,
makes a delicious entree. Complete the meal with a side dish of Spicy
Lentils plus a lettuce or spinach salad.

When buying the meat,
make sure the package says ground white-meat turkey, not just ground
turkey, which has more fat. Baking the loaves on a sheet pan instead of a
loaf pan allows the hot air to circulate around them, and they cook
faster.

Lentils are rich in minerals, and contain more protein
than other dried beans. I like them because they don’t need soaking and
cook in about 30 minutes.

Flavors of the Florida Keys at Conchtoberfest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We all had lots of fun.  The weather was perfect and the palm trees were swaying for this year’s Conchtoberfest at Hawks Cay Marina on duck Key. I assisted Hawks Cay Chef Gerald in a cooking demo, signed books and judged the conch-cook off.

 



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