Day 2 Ordoñez Trip: Aquilon, the Holy Grail of Garnacha, Hallelujah!

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Alto Moncayo Aquilon 2006

96 points Wine Advocate

Sale price $83.99 regular price $105

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April 17: This is arguably the best wine made from the best Garnacha in the world. Alto Moncayo is in the Spanish state of Aragon, which at one time encompassed Rousillon and Sardinia. Garnacha was planted in the vicinity of Alto Moncayo as early as the 12th century and this “Rhone” variety didn’t  appear in the Rhone until the 19th century. These Aquilon vines are over 100 years old from the Tablon vineyard (see the divine light shining down on the vine) and 4 other sites and produces a pretty amazing wine, check the  reviews and treat yourself. I definitely recommend decanting, also great for the cellar.

the divine Aquilon vines the three peaks of Alto Moncayo

Day 1 Jorge Ordoñez Trip:”Food Without Wine is Bull”

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-attributed to Jorge Ordoñez

Did we go to the


Did we



We Ate!

April 16, 2011

After the tasting we headed back to the beaches and docks of the village of Cambrils to eat at one of Jorge’s favorite seafood restaurants, Joan Gatell.


  1. Fried Calamari
  2. Fried “Pescadillos” tiny tiny fish fried whole
  3. Fried Sea Cucumber
  4. Sea dates, like razor clams but they bore into solid rock
  5. steamed Langostinos
  6. Catalan Fidelau. Noodles cooked in rockfish stock with cockles and fresh aioli
  7. dessert pastries and coffee
  8. Siesta

Of course all served with the cavas. This was a light meal, just a warm up for the trip to come

Day 1 Jorge Trip: Time to Pop Some Corks! Cava notes, Pricing & Availability

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April 16,2011

We spent the late morning building a forest of empty bottles while looking out over the vines. Maite and Ana (the brand new winemaker) held fourth on varieties, technique and vineyard sites. Maite gave us a cute little children’s nemonic for the characteristics of the three native cava grapes. They are like a little family: Xarel-lo is the daddy or male, it has a strong body and is stronger in alcohol, it gives the wine structure. Macabeo is the mommy, it has a softer body, lower in alcohol and great aromas. Parellada represents the children and helps harmonize the wine.



New Wine Alert: Steel fermented still wine 100% Xarel-lo
Things get a little fuzzy but fun The adorable pixie like  winemaker Ana presented her first new wine, a non-sparkling  Xarel-lo from 70 year old vines, not very expensive and due in the states in time for summer. Definitely stay tuned. Sorry guys I dropped the ball, she’s cute but I missed the photo-op, did take lots of notes though on this and three of the sparklers

2010 Marques de GelidaXarel-lo

Price TBD

coming soon

Kila Brut


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Brut Ecologico


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Brut Rosé


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Tasting notes: 2010 Marques de Gelida Xarel-lo release about June 2011, price $10-$15
Non sparkling from 70 year old vines, steel fermented 2 months sur lie.
Nose: unripe pineapple, green apple, white pepper, peach stones and guava
Taste: bone dry, zingy  with a creamy texture from the sur lie probably and hints of citrus along with the tropical and tree fruit tastes, excellent to quaff or for seafood

Tasting notes: Kila Cava Brut   in stock $8.99
from younger vines, tasted 2009 at cava, have 2008 in store
Nose: Fruity and fresh with green apple and lime aromas
Taste: Fresh clean green apple and citrus flavors up front with a touch of toast or cookie in the middle and a crisp clean finish, good as a starter or for apps

Tasting notes Marques de Gelida Brut Reserva Ecologico $18.99
tasted 2008 at cava, 2007 currently available in US, made with organic grapes from higher vineyard sites
Nose: Tauter mineral notes than the Kila, more like Champagne with floral, lime and green apple aromas
Taste: Delicate and dry with crisp apple and citrus notes up front and hints of cookie and mineral on the finish, very good

Tasting notes Marques de Gelida Brut Rose $16.99
100% Pinot Noir. tasted 2008 in cava, have 2007 in store. I think the addition of Pinot in rose cavas is a great move, it really changes it from those flavors of Spanish rose to the delicate flavors of a real rose Champagne.
Nose: Strawberry and cherry aromas and some mineral notes with a slight cherry pie quality quality
Taste:  Crisp acidity, good berry and citrus flavors, was excellent with the yellowfin toro sashimi appetizer at lunch

Day 1 Jorge Trip: Mi Cava es tu Cava Welcome to Vins El Cep

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Maite Esteve (Gerent) “Tim of the Cava”

Artisanal bubbles or “grower’s cava”
April 16
First stop is due west of Barcelona to visit  the winery, caves and of course tasting room of Vins El Cep. Champagne style sparkling wine from Spain is called “Cava” which refers to the “cava” or cave where sometimes several million bottles are aged. We’re met at the 15th century winery and cellar by the lovely Maite (pronounced “My-teh”) Esteve from one of the four families that make the bubbly of  Vins El Cep or “Wines of the Vine”. The name seems trite but very few bubbly producers actually make wine from the vine! Many buy grapes from growers as is common in Champagne as well and many actually buy finished still wine and only add bubbles and a label. These family’s  cavas usually seen under the Marques de Gelidas label are all estate grown, made and bottled  and have been for over 500 years. You’ve heard of grower’s Champagne, well this is grower’s cava. Third theme of the trip, real people make real wine.

Day 0 Jorge Ordoñez Trip: What am I doing here?

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I’m Rich Mora wine entrepreneur from Setauket and I’m learning to blog. I need to share this great wine odyssey I just came back from before the memories become a bacchanalian blur. so I”ll begin at the beginning

April 15, 2011
After some routine stuff at the store I headed by myself to JFK for a first class fun time eating and drinking my way through Spain at a blistering pace with Jorge Ordonez a crazy Spaniard who has created a wonderful business bringing and in some cases creating some of  the best Spanish wines on the market. I’d met him very briefly before but have been following his wines for about  15 years  and have been invited on this infamous “death march”. I was lucky to survive for 10 days, he does this for a living. If it has to do with food and wine in Spain ask Jorge.

On board something told me to ask the two  big fellows next to me, are you guys on the Ordonez trip? Turns out one was Robert of Galician parents and the other Ramon one of the two crazy Dominicans on the trip. We chatted and got to know each other on the long flight to Barcelona where we met up with the rest of the group, a mix of retailers from different stores, wine bars and restaurants in NY and NJ. Ended up being a great group of fun people and fortunately we were all experienced eaters and drinkers.
Saturday April 16 2011
We picked up our bags got on our tour bus and drove right out of Barcelona for an
hour pit stop at a hotel to change and shower. Then on to the first of  about 15 wineries. The first theme of the trip was established. We didn’t come to see museums or cathedrals. No Gaudy architecture, no Ramblas,  no bullfights we were there to eat and drink and to learn a lot about food and wine.

Ted’s Excellent Wine Adventure

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Well the dudes  in the store have put together a truly triumphant tasting, though a little weird. Sorry I’ll miss it being in Spain and all but don’t miss these great wines tomorrow starting at three. You must check out the Australian Nebbiolo from Alpha Box Dice


Alpha Box Dice "F is for Fog" Special $29.74 regular $34.99

Great Carneros Pinot and Napa Cab Discounted 25%!

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These are two favorite producers and leaders in their respective apellations.

From top to bottom La Crema makes first rate Pinot and Chardonnay largely from the Russian River and Anderson Valleys and Carneros

The Raymond family  has roots going back nearly a century in winemaking in Napa and produces great wines vintage after vintage. Either

wine would be great for the upcoming holidays

March 26 Store Tasting

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 This was a week of super values all the wines were between $10 & $20. What really impressed me was the level of the wine for the price. As our man from Martin-Scott (the guest supplier)  kept saying, the Klinker Brick Lodi Syrah is like drinking a Cote Rotie. That was not salesman hyberbole, it was that dense and rich! The Shiraz from Paringa was awesome for under $10 ($9.34 during the tasting) and not one boring chocolate and vanilla wine in the bunch.
My take on the week’s line up:

Feudi della Medusa:  Great package, gold embossed medusa head on the label. Heavy, fat dark green bottle. In the glass the juice is pale gold with fair viscosity. Strong contrast between the ripe nose of melon, tropical fruit and the tense and crisp flavors of citrus, mineral and spice. Good lengthy finish, great seafood wine.

Cortijo Rioja:  that 20% hit of Grenache really makes the wine lively with a nice not of raspberry, briar and spice, definitely a steal, most  $11 riojas are decent quaffs but a bit boring, but not this one.

Marrietta Old Vine Red  Lot 54:   This wine always reminds me of Thomas Pynchon and the title “The Crying of Lot 49” oh well random association. This was the most straightforward of the bunch, basically a glass ful of blackberry jam sums it up. The workhorse of the Marietta stable of wines, OVR accounts for the bulk of Marietta’s production and pays a lot of their bills. It is a consistently good blend of about 60% Zin, 20%Petit Sirah 10% Cab Sauv and 10% whatever dad wants to use for that batch, they run about 3 lots a year so we passed Lot 49 about a year or two ago.

Klinker Brick Syrah:  This wine is nearly sold out and knocked my socks off. Dense rich and complex as a Cote Rotie. Drenched with dark berry flavor and laced with overtones of grilled nuts, bacon, smoke, spice, its all their. A delicious drinking wine from a seriously over achieving region known as Lodi California.

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Forget the Bunny, Think Lamb for Easter

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We’ve had this dish twice with serious red wines. It is a stuffed boned leg of lamb filled with a mix of dried fruit almonds, cassis, herbs and spice and coated with lots of fresh garlic, rosemary, thyme S+P, this is finished with a dark sauce made of reduced balsamic with figs, butter honey and fresh basil. This funky dish complements wine really well, recipe follows. The drinks on one occasion were 2003 and 2007 Williams Selyem Sonoma Coast Pinot. Age and Beauty. The ’03 had the dignity, and finesse of nicely aged Burgundy with meaty, eathy tones under the blanket of dark fruits. It was delicate and seamless and definitely echoed the gaminess of the lamb and the brooding darkness of the balsamic/honey /fig reduction, The 2007 version was (is) at a much earlier point in its life. It slowly uncoils with powerful and concentrated black cherry flavors and whiffs of herb, spice and toast. The nose and palate unfold with a bit of airing and the finish is quite lengthy promising great things if I can hang onto a couple more bottles for a few more years. What a great meal. The other time we had it was with the Ateca Armas and El Puntido Rioja. Two awesome wines that showed very well with this pairing.
Recipe Stuffed Leg of Lamb with Balsamic-Fig-Basil Sauce
from Allrecipes prep time 50 minutes, cooking time 1 hour, serves 6

Stuffing: 0.5 C coarse chopped prunes, 0.25 C currants, 1 shot creme de cassis

Rub: 1.5T fresh minced rosemary, 1.5T fresh minced thyme, 0.5t ground coriander, 1t each salt & pepper

1 (4lb) boneless leg of lamb, rolled and tied
0.5C chopped, roasted and salted almonds, I give them a little toast in a hot skillet
2T fresh chopped mint, 3cloves garlice each cut into 3 little garlic spears, 2T olive oil

Finishing sauce: 0.5 C good balsamic vinegar, 5T butter, 3T honey, 0.33 C thin sliced & stemmed Calimyrna figs
5t fresh chopped basil

Garnish: 6 mint leaves and 6 basil leaves

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Combine the chopped prunes and currants with the cassis in a small bowl and set aside. In another small bowl combine the rub ingredients also set aside.
  3. Untie and unroll the lamb, lay it out flat on the work surface. Trim off exess fat, and cut any thick parts open so that is is evenly thick and somewhat rectangular in shape. Sprinkle half of the herb mixture over the lamb. Mix the almonds and chopped mint into the prune mixture; spread evenly over the lamb. Roll up staring at one of the short sides, and tie with kitchen twine in 1 inch intervals. cut 9 slits about an inch deep into the top of the lamb and insert a slice of garlic in each. Rub with olive oil, and sprinkle with the remaining herb mixture.
  4. Place lamb seam side up on a rack set in a roasting pan. Roast in the preheated oven to desired done ness. For medium-rare, a thermometer inserted into the center will read about 140F remove lamb from the oven and tent with foil. allow to rest for 15 minutes while proceeding with the recipe.
  5. While the lamb is resting, bring the balsamic to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Boil and reduce by about half, should take about 5 minutes. Once reduced, stir in the honey, butter and sliced figs. Stir until the butter melts and take off the heat. Stir in the chopped basil and set aside.
  6. To plate, remove twine and carve lamb into 0.5 inch thick slices, arrange on a platter, drizzle with the fig sauce and garnish with remaining mint and basil leaves.

Mencia from Galicia 20% Off, Killer Gruner 15% Off

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Tegerensof (T 26) was $15.99 on sale $13.59

Avanthia Mencia new (old) red grape from Spain (Galicia) 90 points Parker was $16.99 now $13.59

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