In a previous post I mentioned The Fox & The Crow in Fort Collins. They not only have great food, but also quite the extensive cheese selection. That means they also have non-cow cheese!

Went in these to see what I could find to have as just a fun appetizer for a dinner. After some discussion, I was offered a sample of the Idiazabal, a sheep’s milk cheese from Spain. It was amazing! Just semi-hard and had a unique smokiness to it. Far too good. Had to be careful not to buy too much of it. Would also be perfect paired with some Pinotage!

Had to do some quick research on it, as well. Did not know there is a site… it confirmed my taste of smoke and gave me more info. Great stuff. Can’t wait to grab more.




Sangria…en France

France doesn’t have to mean just (straight) wine.  When you’re in SW France you can mix some stuff in it.  When in Dax, since it’s so close to Spain, I saw a good amount of sangria on menus.  So, of course had to give it a try.  Stopped by Cafe de Bordeaux.


IMG_3143What was even better?  The price!  Think a very healthy half bottle of wine.

IMG_3145While sipping the sangria, enjoyed looking at this great fountain.  Later touched the water…naturally very warm.  Pretty interesting.


Dax Farmer’s Market

I have been off the blogging scene recently because of an oh-so-rough trip to Ireland and France.  I am now starting to recap said vacation…

One of the best parts of the trip was why I went — for a friend’s wedding in SW France, in a small town named Dax.  It’s about a 90 minute drive from Bordeaux.

franceMy friend’s fiance had told me about the must-do the morning of the wedding, the local farmer’s market.  It ended up being about 2 blocks from the hotel.  WOW.  The place was making Pike Place look weak on some levels.  Some 3+ hours later we returned to the hotel with lunch to enjoy outside.  I grabbed Paella, as this town is close to Spain so they get some of their influence.  Others grabbed cheese and sausage, bread, veggies, some had nice flatbread-like pizza.  And, of course, wine!

Almost too good to be true.

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South Africa or Spain?

I think I’ll have them both, if you don’t mind.  While enjoying a couple of the recipes I’ve posted recently, my friends were so kind as to bring over some great wine to pair with the food!  So, of course we had to open them.

One was simply masked in a nice Williams Sonoma bag.  I pulled it out and could not have opened that bottle fast enough.  It was my favorite varietal — Pinotage, from South Africa, of course!  Oh Pinotage, how I love thee.  I was so happy it was a  screw top to quickly open it.  My only problem was that I did not have a (wine) glass at my fingertips.  It was the Spier (Signature) Pinotage.  It had very nice fruit to it, though it did not hold the traditional smokiness of Pinotage.  It was light and had great character.

Then we decided to open the second bottle to do some comparison.  This was from Spain, the El Burro Kickass Garnacha.  Love the name.  And let me tell you, it lives up to it.  The first thing I tasted was chocolate!  There were also some berries in there.  Nowhere did they mention chocolate on the label, but even having some the next day…chocolate, chocolate, chocolate.  Amazing.

It was a great evening of friends, wine and food.  Can never go wrong with that.


Spanish Food, Good Taste, Nice Price

There always seem to be new places opening in this area and it’s fun to actually check them out.  There is this new one in Bethesda, MD (part of a franchise) who’s name is tough to figure out based on the font but after discussion, wine, food, more wine and deep thoughts, we find out the official name is 100 Montaditos.  And what is this place?  Deep research tells you “100 Montaditos was founded in 2000, near the Spanish southern city of Huelva. Recreating the atmosphere of a traditional 19th century Spanish tavern, the restaurant specialized in montaditos, crunchy Spanish rolls baked to order and jam-packed with traditional ingredients as Serrano ham, Spanish tortilla, chorizo sausage and Manchego cheese.”

They have a huge menu of bite size food (basically little sandwiches) with great meats and cheeses.  They are all about $1-$3!  They also have some options for salad and meat plates.  My friend and I split a Spanish Gourmet platter of Serrano, Chorizo, Salami, Manchego, arugula and great bread.  It was $9 for more than enough goods.


For wines, she had some nice white for $4/glass.  I started with sangria — there are several options of basically wine and soda.  They are $3!  After that I opted for (straight) red wine for a whopping $4/glass.  Very nice house selections.

IMG_2533We sat at the bar so had service right there.  Otherwise you walk in, order at the counter, get a number, then they deliver your food to your table.  But a waiter continues to come to your table to see if you need anything.  Nice casual place.  Affordable, tasty, can be quick, or you can stay awhile.

Wine Class #3

And I go back a class.  In the third week we bounced around a little on what we learned about, but some of the main points I took home were:

-the ‘parents’ of Cabernet are Sauvignon Blanc and Cab Franc

-high tannins and acidity are the base for Bordeaux

-Cabernets and Chardonnays adapt to climate

-Syrah=crowd pleaser

We tasted quite the range of wines that night, darn!

2011 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand, about $13


2011 Willm Geurztraminer, Alsace, France, about $16


2009 Chateau les Grands Marechaux (Merlot), Blaye Cote de Bordeaux, France, about $24



2012 Milton Park Shiraz, South Australia, Australia, $9 — definitely lived up to the price


2012 Punto Final Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, about $13 — almost ‘raisin-ed’


2012 Clos Le Vouvray (Chenin Blanc), Loire Valley, France, about $20


2011 Chateau de Chasseloir Muscadet, Loire Valley, France, about $12 — pair with salt


2011 Tres Picos Garnacha (Grenache), Borsao, Spain, about $18 — love this one!


2011 Karl Erbes Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Kabinett, Mosel, Germany, about $18


Wine Class #4

I posted about my first couple wine classes and got lost in a shuffle and wasn’t able to share the next couple.  I am indeed posting about #4 here (will backtrack to 3 eventually).  In class 4, we learned about ‘other’ varietals, spending a lot of time in Italy.  Some good, fun stuff to take home:

-DOC — great wine, DOCG — AWESOME wine, in layman’s terms

-Trebbiano is almost all bulk and per our instructor is boring2

-Barbera is just a fun wine

-Zinfandel producers are renagades

Our tastings for the night:

1) 2012 Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio, Dolomiti, Italy, about $20


2) 2008 Serra “Paitin” Barbaresco, Piemonte, Italy, about $40


3) 2010 Vietti Barbera D’Asti, Piemonto, Italy, about $22


4) 2008 Carpineto Chianti Classico Riserva, Tuscant, Italy, about $27


5) 2012 Verdicchio di Castelli di Jesi, Marches, Italy, about $13


6) 2010 Masciarelli Montepulciano D’Abruzzo, Abruzzo, Italy, about $14 (this was one of my favorites of the night)


7) 2010 Terredora Dipaolo Aglianico, Campania, Italy, about $18


8) 2005 Lan Rioja Gran Reserva, Rioja Spain, about $25


Great Wine Find

Was looking for a bottle to open last night and checked out a couple labels in my wine rack and finally decided on one that I’d seen a few times and had no idea about it.  WOW!  I don’t have a clue where or when I bought this.  It’s the Tarima Hill 2010 Red (from Spain).   On the label it said it received 93 points and I am in complete agreement with that!  Amazing.  Dark fruit, spicy, a bit of smoke and leather, a bit chewy.

One quick review:

“The opaque purple-colored 2010 Tarima Hill exhibits notes of chocolate fudge, pen ink, graphite, blueberries and blackberries. This full-bodied, 100% Monastrell should drink well for a decade or more.” 93 Points – The Wine Advocate

I have no idea what I paid for this (though I’m guessing mid teens).  Many of the reviews say this should NOT cost this little, but more like $30-$50.  I can’t agree more!  Need something to do this weekend?  Go on a wine hunt…