Our 2010 trip to Barcelona was nothing short of exhilarating. Staying at a small inn off of the Plaza Catalunya, we devoured tapas and wine to our hearts' content. The best way to experience food culture in a foreign country is to explore the local market. In Barcelona, that's the Mercat La Boqueria. An epicurean's dream, I still salivate while reminiscing about the melt-in-your-mouth Jamon Iberico hanging above the crowded counters, the endless rows of olives and cheeses, and the fresh catch of the day hawked by fishmongers at their stalls.
Of course, we couldn't walk two feet without the urge to sample the offerings of local wines. We love Tempranillo, the leading red grape in Rioja. At Teller Wines, our customers' favorite is the Venta Morales, grown with organic grapes. The label has a ladybug on it — apropos since the ladybug is the official Delaware state insect. The exact origin of the Tempranillo grape is murky, though it is thought to be indigenous to the Spanish countryside. Theories suggest that it's a clonal offshoot of the Pinot Noir, sharing similar characteristics, but it has been proven the two are not related. It is often blended with Garnacha and Graciano for body and structure. Many 100% Tempranillo wines are also produced with great results in many styles and age designations (Joven or “young,” to Gran Reserva) throughout the country. Tempranillo or “the early little one” refers to the grape's penchant for early ripening, giving it its distinctly low acid characteristics.
Styles of Venta Morales also have wonderful cherry, plum, leather, nutmeg, allspice, and coffee notes which make it a natural partner with paella, those marvelous little paquillo peppers, and grilled rabbit or lamb chops. Find the organic Venta Morales in the Smooth & Structured profile at Teller Wines. Prices range $12.99-$24.99. Salud!