Happiness in a bowl of lentil soup with a glass of Mencia

As you know I am doing a keto lifestyle, so I have to keep my carb count really in check. I am able to skip the bread and pasta to keep the wine. Once in a while, I may give myself a treat such as eating lentil soup. I love a steaming soup of lentil soup for a fall rainy lunch but got to be careful about the portion size. One portion of 100 ml has about 14 gr of net carbs so is not something that I have in my repertoire every day. However, my family likes the lentil soup so I make them for wife and daughter-they love it so much!!!. It would not be fair to prive them of some dishes just because I am doing keto.

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Me and abuela Flor, during my last trip to Venezuela in 2008

This recipe is really simple. As far I remember, it is one of the first dishes that I learnt cook. From a very early age, I used to watch my grandmother cook. She used to make the best dishes ever: chicken with rosemary, stuffed eggplant with meat, meatballs in tomato sauce and of course lentil soup. During my childhood in Venezuela, I used to have lentils twice or three times a week. Legume based dishes are a staple in Latin American diet.

 

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The recipe of my abuela Flor goes like this: You start off making a tipe of sofrito with a base of leeks, peppers, carrots and of course bacon. If you dont have bacon, you can add a piece of chopped chorizo or some prosciutto or jamon serrano. The addition of meat in the soup will add some complexity of flavours to the soup. The sofrito has to be fried in good quality olive oil in medium temperature. After you see the bacon start getting golden and crispy in colour, you know is ready. Then, I add my dried lentils directly. I fry them for two-minute. Then I finish assembling the soup by adding water or homemade chicken stock. The final touch will be the seasoning. I add up a bit of cilantro, cumin, oregano and parsley. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer until the lentils are al dente: soft but still a bit hard. Thats it…you got a nice bowl of happiness in a lentil soup.

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The wine

I choose to pair my lentil soup with the Raul Perez Ultreia St-Jacques 2016 ( SAQ # 13555945, $22.80). I love the wines that Raul Perez makes in Bierzo. This is such as gorgeous wine. In spanish I would say un grande!!!. I love the stuff that Raul makes in the Bierzo. This is a seductive wine. It has such as pretty nose bursting with aromas of wild blackberries with the perfect spice dose: aromas of dried cloves, black liquorice candy and confit violets. On the palate, the wine reminds me of a good Crozes Hermitage: polished in the midpalate with satiny tannins. A beautiful contrast with the grainy texture of the lentils. This is too much of a wine for the small price it commands.

Raul Perez is no stranger to this blog.  I have covered him before. Many consider Raul Perez to be one of Spain’s – if not the world’s – finest winemakers. Perez crafts wine in several regions in northwestern Spain, but he makes his home and many of his finest wines in Bierzo.

Pérez’s fame has been established in the world for several  years now; he originally gained international recognition working with his mentor, Alvaro Palacios, on diverse projects throughout northwest Spain (and beyond), but his home base is Bierzo, which is situated right where the Galicia region gives way to Castilla y Léon. From 1993-2004 he was the winemaker at Castro Ventosa, his family’s historic Bierzo winery, after which he founded his eponymous operation in the same village—Valtuille de Abajo. His family owns about 15 hectares of vineyards in and around Valtuille, which are broken up into incredibly tiny parcels farmed by many individual growers. Pérez’s “Ultreia” series follows a Burgundy model: There are a few “village-level” wines at the entry level—of which this “St. Jacques” is one—and then several more limited-production, single-vineyard bottlings.

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My abuela will be proud of the results of my soup. It was a success in my house especially with my wife. A glass of wine to you wherever you are!!!. You taught me some much about cooking and how to be a respectable man.

 

 

 

Gaba do Xil Mencia 2013

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As time passes, I am learning to appreciate more the flavors and nuances of Mencia. When Mencia is grown in granite and schist terraces from appellations like Valdeorras, it can develop pure black fruit notes verging towards a peppery and violet bouquet. It brings to mind a Syrah from the Northern Rhone such as Cornas or Cote Rotie.

Telmo Rodriguez is a well known Spanish winemaker. He is famous for making wine in some of Spain’s best terroirs.  They include: Pago la Jara in Toro,  Matallana in Ribera del Duero and Altos de Lanzaga in Rioja. These are some of the icons in the Spanish wine scene.

His latest  project is in  Valdeorras, even though it was the first region he visited in the early 1990s. After travelling  several local towns, he formed a strong impression, especially after the encounter with a grower who still pruned his vines using an tool from the Middle Ages. Telmo believes that the meeting with the grower motivated him to work in the region.

The vineyard where he started is called La Falcoeira, in the town of Santa Cruz. It is an ancient vineyard, coplanted with a mixture of varieties, but Telmo Rodriguez has focused its on two native varieties, Godello and Mencia.  Dotted with chestnut trees mixed with rockrose, the old granitic terraces barely have minimum space to squeeze in the odd row of vines, following the waves of the mountain that lead into the River Sil.

Gaba do Xil Mencia 2013. SAQ # 11861771. $19.00

Aromas of dark fruits with olives, herbs and confit violets. Brings to mind a cote rotie rather than a mencia. On the mouth, full body, with a good fruit extraction. Fresh and velvety in the mouth. Love its cured meat and barnyard aromas. Long with a caressing finish. Food Idea: Bison hamburgers with swiss cheese and mushrooms-onions.  93/10

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Gaba do Xil Godello 2014. SAQ # 11896113. $19.55

Aromas of Japanese pear with green apple and citric fruits. On the mouth, medium body. Refreshing and round, almost a creamy texture. Flavors bring to mind nuances of white balsamic condiment and ground fennel seeds. Nice mineral moutfeel.  Harmonious finale. Food idea: Linguine with clams. 95\100

 

 

 

 

 

 

Party on with Viernes Mencia

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Viernes Mencia  is a red wine from the trendy D.O.P made by Bodegas Godelia. The bodega can be found in the district of Pieros, an historical setting which was witness to the passage of countless pilgrims making their way to Santiago de Compostela. Godelia has reinvented itself to stand along with their peers in the region as a fine representative of the special character of the Mencia grape and El Bierzo.

This wine is made 100% with Mencía grapes from one of the winery’s single vineyards, with vines between 12 and 21 years of age, situated at 500-700 metres above sea level.

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Tasting Notes from the 2014. SAQ Code: 12751451. Price: $16.45

The beaujolais of Spain but with a darker profile. Perfumed nose of black berries with fresh cracked pepper lying on a bed of violets. On the mouth,  Full body with a cashmere texture alike and silky tannins. Very perfumed retronasal flavors as well.

Exceptional wine for the price. For $16.45, buying a case is imperative.

Have it alone in a party with your friends or with grilled chicken with pesto, or grilled sausages.  Or do, like i do by listening David Bowie.

Hasta Luego!!!

Wine of the month: Silice Viticultores

Source: Silice Viticultores

Ribeira Sacra is becoming one of the hottest areas in Spain. The Mencia grape is creating a storm in the area. One of the most exciting wine projects is Silice Viticultores. This is a new winemaking project of brothers Juan and Carlos Rodríguez with Fredi ‘Fresquito’ Torres. The idea of this venture was to go back to their roots. They are 3 passionate people of Ribeira Sacra that in 2013 realized their dream of making the finest and elegant wines of Ribeira Sacra. Their vineyards are located in the extreme part of the subzone Amandi. Their winemaking and viticultural philosophy is artisanal in nature with the most respect of their environment. From the beginning of the project, they did decide not to adhere to the d.o.

Source: Silice Viticultores

Silice makes 3 wines  under the  name Sílice. One is  Sílice,  a wine that is born from old mencia grapes with an average age of un vino  60-80 years old. The grapes are manually selected, and  made only in the inox cuvee.  On the other hand, there is the Selección Especial, which comes from the same parcel but from different subzones ,  Both of the wines are made with the stems and aged for 12 months in barriques of 300 litres of different ages. They are both called 302 and 301. They are mostly mencia monovaretials.

The group draw their inspiration of making wine from the Burgundian model of winemaking, that consist of letting each parcel express their own personality. The basic Silice 2013 was made only with the Inox Cuvee but in the future they plan to use wood foudres. This is due since the Mencia grape presents a lot of reduction problems and just the inox do not help the situation. And to conclude Silice is biological tending towards biodynamic viticulture.

Ribeira Sacra Silice 2013 Inox ( Around $26. Private import. Caise of 6. Vini-Vins).

An incredible exquisite and crispy wine born from granite soils in Ribeira Sacra. This wine has a prodigal red fruit character. If i have to compare, it reminds me of the Morgons of Marcel Lapierre. On the mouth, the wine has a sensual and subtle fruit expression verging toward a Pinot Noir profile. Very easy an incredible to resist now but could age easy for the next 5-years. 93\100. Perfect for the warm summer nights.