In celebration of Spain’s victory in the Euro 2012 last Sunday, I have invited Carla Soriano of 125s Tapas Bar, a hip place for delicious Spanish tapas, wines and more in Houston, to share her selection for 5 Wines to Enjoy.
As the Spanish victory was being cemented over Italy, I tweeted
“Looks like its going to be a day for Cava not Prosecco. #Euro2012”
and Carla, who tweets for 1252, tweeted right back
“@vinesleuth we had a grand time, yes – with plenty of cava involved .
I knew then that she needed to share 5 Spanish wines with you.
Before we get to the wines, a bit about 1252:
1252 Tapas Bar is in the northern suburbs of Houston in The Woodlands at Market Street and also at Vintage Park, off of 249 and Louetta. An in-town location is set to be opened in Uptown Park near the Galleria soon.
My husband and I love to visit both locations for a casual date night and fill our table with bites of jamón serrano and manchego, the gambas a la diabla and Paella 1252, a combination of saffron rice, shrimp, clams, chorizo and garlic. I also like to have a shot of gazpacho… which is just enough cool, creamy deliciousness.
About a year ago I met Carla, who manages the marketing, communications and events there, and have bumped into her at wine events around town. She is a gracious hostess, embraces social media and seems to really enjoy throwing herself into the world of wine.
“People look to me for guidance when trying to decide which food and wine is the most appropriate for their event or celebration. I am by no means a wine expert; but can tell you that since I began this job, I have learned quite a bit about it. Through learning has come a deep appreciation.
In my spare time, there’s nothing I like to do more than have exceptional food paired with equally good drinks. That’s why you’ll notice that with every wine recommendation I give, I always suggest food to go with it!
Hopefully I’ll get to meet you one day at 1252 Tapas Bar. My second favorite hobby is having great conversation with those around me. Cheers!”
If you are in the area, I can’t recommend enough that you stop by one of the 1252 Tapas Bar locations. And yes, for those of you in town, it is worth the drive to visit one of the Northern Houston locations before the Uptown Park restaurant opens.
So, in celebration of Spanish football (or soccer, if you prefer to call it that) here are Carla’s Top 5 wines to enjoy, based on each of the following categories…
Carla’s 5 Spanish Wines to Enjoy:
One white wine under $20 and widely available in the US:
- Martin Codax Albariño – Rias Baixas, Spain (Retails for $15, available at Spec’s & HEB)
This fresh, lightly carbonated white wine is a fantastic one for those that love their white wines bold. It has a bright acidity to it, with flavors of apple and pear. Make your sweetheart a zesty pasta, roasted asparagus, or baked fish topped with a citrus cream sauce, pair it with this wine and be ready to receive some loving, approving glances.
One red wine under $20 and widely available in the US:
- Martin Codax “Ergo” Tempranillo – Rioja, Spain (Retails for $15, available at Spec’s & HEB)
I love this simple, earthy tempranillo to accompany a nice home cooked meal. While I’ve had it during the wintertime alongside a beef stew, it is fresh and versatile enough to drink in the summer with some grilled veggies. This bottle is also great for taking to dinner parties, as its very easy to drink; its balance of fruit flavors and hints of spice covers the likes of most people.
One splurge (whatever splurge might mean to you):
- Terra de Verema Corelium – Priorat, Spain (available on Captain’s List at 1252 Tapas Bar – $180/bottle)
When people ask me for a superb Spanish wine, I immediately point them to Corelium on the Captain’s List – a wine list available by request only. The wines on this list are like little gems that we keep in our back pockets and take them out only when the occasion is fit for it. What I love most about that wine is that — while it has a strong personality to it – it’s not too incredibly overpowering. With its aromatic nose and concentrated nature, it simply exudes an elegance that is unique and unfailingly pleasant – whether it’s in the company of food, or just as a treat to sip on with friends. Should you choose to pair it with tapas, try it with the Tabla Alfonso X – 1252 Tapas Bar’s premium imported meat & cheese board, which includes jamon iberico – the world’s best and most famous aged ham.
…and two others of her own choosing (these may be either easy or hard to find):
- Bodegas Atteca “Old Vine” Garnacha – Calatayud, Spain (available by the glass at 1252 Tapas Bar – $10/glass)
If you’re looking for a well-balanced red at a great value, Atteca is the way to go. This 100% garnacha is deep, succulent, and has a beautiful lengthy finish to it. It’s wonderful with 1252 Tapas Bar’s morcilla – a Spanish blood sausage accompanied with apple sauce. The deepness of the sausage, along with the tartness of the apple sauce mesh well the fruit-forward qualities of Atteca.
- Marques de Caceres “Reserva” – Rioja, Spain (available by the bottle at 1252 Tapas Bar – $60/bottle)
Marques de Caceres “Reserva” is my go-to bottle of wine at 1252 Tapas Bar. It is has a pleasant fullness to it, along with well-integrated tannins – all working together to give the wine a nice complexity. Best of all, it’s a great bottle of wine that isn’t too pretentious – it’s just perfect. I strongly recommend it with 1252’s best-selling filet dish – The Filete en Salsa de Setas, which is a juicy petite filet accompanied by dijon mustard mashed potatoes and creamed mushrooms.