What's New in November
Every once in a while we stumble across a new wine that just shocks us, making us take a step back and rethink what we thought that we knew. Poma Áurea is one such wine, or, we should say, one such cider.
It all started a few years ago when someone asked us where the txakolina pouring ritual started and why they use those tumblers. We asked around and did some research and to our surprise found that it all started with cider. Getariako Txakolina originated as an attempt to make wine that would mimic the style of Basque cider, and so the same rituals involved with drinking cider carried over to txakolina. We instantly knew that we needed to try some of this cider, or sagardo as the Basque call it.
Eventually we found Isastegi. We instantly loved it and became convinced that we needed more cider. Through our quest for Basque cider we found that the cider from neighboring Asturias is very similar in style (some people even say that cider was introduced to the Basque Country from Asturias). So it was off to Asturias to discover what they had to offer.
Now while cider is a popular beverage within the Basque Country, it is the beverage of choice in Asturias. For the most part the people of Asturias don't drink wine, they drink cider. Vineyards are rare, every bar and restaurant pours cider, the food is designed with cider in mind, you could even go as far as to say that cider is the wine of Asturias. So when André traveled to Asturias looking cider there was an abundance of options. But one cider house stood out from the rest: Trabanco.
Started in 1924 by Emilio Trabanco, the Trabanco cider house quickly rose to prominence through a combination of traditional methods and modern technology. Today Emilio's grandchildren are running the show and they're still making cider the traditional way, with the same wooden presses and the same giant chestnut barrels that their grandfather used. But they've added some new things to the line including the Poma Áurea.
Poma Áurea is a great departure from the regional standard natural cider, first and foremost because it's bubbly. Not bubbly like those sugary sweet ciders you'll find in the beer section of your local grocery store, but bubbly like a glass of Cava, and that's because it's produced in the méthode champenoise. The apples for the Poma Áurea are hand selected from the harvest of the region’s best orchards and pressed in the old wooden presses. The juice is then fermented with indigenous yeast in 50 year old chestnut barrels. During bottling a bit of their apple must, with the indigenous yeast, is added to trigger secondary fermentation. Once secondary fermentation is complete the bottles are disgorged and a bit of Trabanco's own apple juice is added as the dosage.
The resulting cider is something amazingly its own. Exuberant aromas of apples mingle with an earthy component reminiscent of the natural fungi of the cider house. It is bone dry on the finish with similar flavors replicated on the palate. We could not believe what we were tasting. It was so different than any other cider we've tried, it tasted more like Cava yet it was still clearly cider. We didn't know what to think other than that we had to have more. And so we had a few pallets loaded onto a container bound for America.
Our first shipment of Trabanco's Poma Áurea is landing this month, just in time for holiday celebrations. But there's more from Trabanco on the way. This spring we will be releasing the Trabanco cider, a crisp and refreshing dry natural cider, and then next fall will see the release of the Trabanco Gran Reserva, a more traditional natural cider slowly fermented in the chestnut barrels. We'll have more information on those two when we get closer to their release, but for now sit back, enjoy a glass of Poma Áurea and discover how wonderful you never knew cider could be.
Our 2009 Cocktail Contest is almost over. We want your original Sherry Cocktail recipes, please email them to us. The winner will receive a hand painted porron from this year's guest artist: Mike Jakob of the Elliot Street Deli & Pub in Atlanta, Georgia. We will be tasting through this year's recipes next month so be sure to get your submission in by the end of November to be eligible for the 2009 Sherry Cocktail Contest. Here is the latest submission:
By Fernando A. from New Jersey
1/2 oz El Maestro Sierra Fino
1/2 oz Woodford Rerserve Bourbon
2 frozen orange wedges
Splash of Triple Sec
Combine ingredients and shake very hard. Strain into a whisky glass and garnish with a flamed orange peel.
The Basque Connection
By Bill N. of FINO Restaurant, Pation and Bar in Austin, TX
1.5 oz Citadelle Reserve Gin
1 oz Pimm's No. 1
1/2 oz El Maestro Sierra Oloroso
2 dashes of Persimmon Bitters (or Angostura Orange Bitters)
Combine all ingredients with ice in a mixing glass and stir to thoroughly chill. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with flamed orange coin.
By David C. from San Francisco, CA
1.5 oz El Maestro Sierra Amontillado
3/4 oz Averna
1/2 oz Amaretto di Serrano
1/2 oz fresh squezed Meyer Lemon juice
Combine the El Maestro Sierra Amontillado, Averna, Amaretto, and fresh squezed Meyer Lemon juice in a mixing glass with ice and stir until chilled. Pour a splash of Pernod into a chilled martini glass and swirl to coat glass, discard excess Pernod. Strain mixture into the glass and garnish with an orange twist.
In the Press
From Wine News
Gerry Dawes visits Ribeira Sacra and explains how it "is exhibiting potential more exciting than any emerging region I have encountered over four decades of traveling Spain's wine roads". He also shares his tasting notes on some of his favorite wines from the region including those of D. Ventura.
Viña do Burato, 2008 Summum
$20: (80-year-old mencía vines; 12% alcohol)
Pleasant nose of pomegranate, red currant and mineral. Flavors of pomegranate and red currant fruit with a core of bracing minerality. An exemplary, delicious and eminently drinkable young Ribeira Sacra with loads of flavor, no oak and low alcohol. Score: 92
Pena do Lobo, 2007 Summum
$23: (mencía; 13% alcohol)
Enticing nose of ripe red currant and pomegranate tinged with graphite. Superbly balanced, perfectly ripe red currant and pomegranate flavors with a compelling minerality reminiscent of Graves or Chinon. Score: 94
Viña Caneiro, 2007 Summum
$26: (mencía; 13% alcohol)
Lovely nose of red fruit and mineral. Rich, complex flavors of red fruit, including pie cherry, red currant and pomegranate. Long, lingering, mineral finish. A stunning, steal-of-a-wine. Score: 96
Visit the Wine News for the full article.
From Bon Appetit
The November issue of Bon Appetit magazine attempts to answer "The Question" that hits us every fall: what to drink on Thanksgiving. Their response is Spanish wine, tempranillos from Rioja and albariños from Galicia, including their recommended pick of Do Ferriero Albariño. Pick up a copy from your local newstand for the full article.
From Wine & Spirits
The 23rd Annual Buying Guide from Wine & Spirits has been released. Included in their 100 Best Buys for 2009 you'll find the Fino Elcano from Gutierrez Colosia:
Gutierrez Colosia Fino Elcano
This subtle, delicate Fino has aromas and flavors of salty almonds and limestone. The texture is ethereal while the flavors project over the palate, taking on briny, mineral depths. Ideal with pickled sardines. (Wine & Spirits Buying Guide, Winter 2009)
Secret Sherry Society is a website dedicated to sharing the wine world's greatest secret: sherry. The site features a wide variety of information about sherry perfect for anyone interested in learning more about this unique wine. Visit www.secretsherrysociety.com to learn more.
Receive A Drink From The Porron in your inbox by subscribing to our monthly newsletter.