Les Crestes 2013 – Priorat, Spain

IMG_3335Roses, cherries, and cotton candy on the nose, right after the cork pops. This one attacks the palate with powerful Catalan characteristics of leather, barely ripe plum, faint cocoa, some herbal grass notes. A musty, dank autumn forest feel marries well with the characteristic Catalan “fuerte” tannin. As it opens up the nose shifts to toasted marshmallows, cedar, and very faint mulling spice in a nice blended harmony. Dark cherries, milk chocolate, and leather meld with roses, all shorn up with a hit of hard, Catalan tannin. This is a fine wine, as Hemingway would say. I picked this one up in Spain, either San Sebastian or Barcelona (can’t recall), but bumped into it again at a tasting in TriBeCA. No idea what price, but below $40.

  • Rating: Impressive
  • Name: Les Crestes 2013 
  • Winery: Mas Doix
  • Region: Priorat
  • Country: Spain
  • Varietals: 80% Grenache, 10% Carignan, 10% Syrah
  • Price: N/A
  • Where to Buy: N/A
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Virgola, New York, NY

Blink and you might miss it. I’m very hesitant to review this little gem because, well, it’s so tiny I’m afraid I won’t get a seat next time I go. They don’t take reservations – they don’t have to. Their menu consists of charcuterie, cheese, vegetables, and a few seafood small-plates to go with the featured oysters. Usually, I order a few rounds of the oysters of the day – $1-1.50 for the chef’s choice of whatever they got a good deal on. The oysters are properly shucked, fresh, and accompanied with fresh grated horseradish, as well as the usual cocktail and mignonette. The place is a no-brainer and one of my favorite little spots for now and I can’t wait until they open up a location in the East Village.

Address: Virgola, 28 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY

Tertulia, New York, NY

Tertulia is what happens when a celebrity chef feels hemmed in by his creation (Boqueria) and longs for a place of his own. Seamus Mullen went for it with Tertulia, which claims to focus on cuisine from the Asturias region of Spain. I’ve never been to that part of Spain, but the menu is full of dishes I do recognize. And love. This is also the only place outside of San Sebastian that I’ve found proper Spanish sidra, poured correctly, no less. They do a fine pulpo, albóndigas, and the best arroz negro I’ve had . . . other than mine, of course. The tapas and tablas are well chosen and executed. I’ve always wanted to get the chuletón – beef rib steak – but have never been able to muster the appetite for its girth. If you have a real love of Spanish food and drink, you can’t go wrong here. Make your reservation today.

Address: Tertulia, 359 6th Ave, New York, NY

Bar El Vallado, Pamplona, Spain

When you are in Pamplona and it is San Fermines and you are dancing, running, singing at the top of your lungs with a bottle in one hand and a stranger’s hand in the other, you will need jamon. You will need jamon worse than you ever thought anyone could ever need jamon and you will need it now. There’s no other place to consider.

Address: Bar El Vallado, Plaza Consistorial, 2, 31001, Pamplona, Spain