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Medium purple in colour, the wine has a expressive nose of forest floor, truffles, spice box, black pepper, lilac and wild blueberries. On the palate the wine is full bodied, rich and dense with layers of fruit and terrific integration of oak, tannin, and acidity. Intense, concentrated, and very long yet still an infant in terms of its development, just coming round and drinking superbly well and will continue to do so for another15 years.
Priorat forms the epicentre of rich and powerful wines made throughout Spain, it has often been described as the best hidden diamond of any wine region. What distinguishes Priorat from other regions in the World is the soil type, thick slate, shale or quartz rock and tiny bands of reddish-brown earth. The region is mountainous with steep slopes, arid with very little rainfall and irrigation is very rarely used as water is so scarce, vines planted between 300 and 700 metres above sea level, rocky soil and little water, the annual production in Priorat is extremely low, perhaps the lowest of any wine growing region of the world. Wine production in this area dates back to at least the 12th century and old vines of the region normally produce less than half a bottle of very concentrated wine. Given the extremely harsh growing conditions coupled with ultra low yields helps explain the higher cost of Priorat wines.
Spain’s most expensive wines come from Priorat, in fact many of the finest winemakers of the world are found in the tiny region of Priorat and one group of talented individuals is known as the Magnificent Seven, this is one of those winemakers estates. Of recent vintages, 2004 is regarded as the finest of the past couple of decades throughout the whole of Spain.
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A few delicious dishes to compliment your drink.
Venison with wild mushrooms, chestnuts and cranberries
This is based on a delicious styrian dish. the original is braised, but this is quicker and really convenient since you can make the sauce in advance and cook the steaks at the last minute.
- 30g dried wild mushrooms
- 40g dried cranberries
- 800ml game or well-flavoured chicken stock
- 125g fresh wild mushrooms, or well-flavoured cultivated mushrooms
- 300g cooked chestnuts
- 120g unsalted butter
- 50ml port
- 6 venison steaks, 2-2½cm thick
- 50g fresh cranberries
- 150g sour cream
Pour enough boiling water just to cover the dried wild mushrooms and dried cranberries and leave them to soak for about 45 minutes. drain these, cutting the dried, reconstituted mushrooms, and add the juices to the game or chicken stock. Bring the stock to the boil in a saucepan and continue to bubble until the liquid is reduced to 300ml.
Slice the fresh mushrooms, leaving the pieces quite large and some of their lovely shape intact. Setting aside 18 neat halves, quarter the rest of the chestnuts (about 125g). Melt 50g butter and add the fresh mushrooms. Sauté briskly for about 4 minutes, then add the chestnuts and cook for another 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the port and let the alcohol bubble away. Add the soaked, dried mushrooms and cranberries and stock. Bring to the boil and bubble for a few minutes until the mixture is slightly syrupy. Season and, if you are making it in advance, cool and refrigerate until needed.
Just before you want to serve the main course, season the steaks and melt 40g of butter. sear on each side over a high heat, then turn the heat down and cook until they are rare – this should take around 3 minutes on each side.
To serve, heat the remaining butter in another frying pan and sauté the reserved chestnut halves until warm and glossy, then add the fresh cranberries and heat those through, without allowing them to become mushy.
Cut each steak into four slices, just to reveal the lovely pinkness inside, spoon the sauce onto the plate alongside it, and top with a good dollop of sour cream and the sautéed chestnuts and cranberries.
- 600g pork ribs
For the marinade
- 2tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
- 1tsp salt
- 1tbsp sugar
- 1tbsp vegetable oil
- 2tbsp cornflour
For the sauce
- 4tbsp tomato ketchup
- 2tbsp sugar
- 1tbsp brown sauce
- 1tbsp chilli sauce
- 1tbsp water
- 1tbsp sesame paste (optional)
- 1tsp sesame oil
- 1tsp peanut butter
- 1tsp salt
Wash the pork ribs. Combine all of the marinade ingredients and add the ribs. Marinate the ribs for 30 minutes. For best results, deep fry the ribs for 3-5 minutes, at a medium level until cooked and browned. Alternatively, bake the ribs in the oven at 200°C/400°F/Gas 6 for 30-40 minutes until cooked and browned. Prepare the sauce by combining all the ingredients and simmer in a pan on a medium heat until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick and sticky. Toss the cooked ribs into the sauce and serve immediately.
Lamb kofta with sweet potato and mint
- 250g Greek yoghurt
- 3tbsp chopped mint
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 4 small sweet potatoes
- vegetable oil
- 500g lamb, minced
- 1 small onion, grated
- 1 egg
- 1tsp ground allspice
- ½tsp cumin
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 50g chopped pecans
Mix the yoghurt with 2tbsp mint and the garlic and season. Slice the sweet potatoes lengthways, brush with oil and griddle for 5-6 minutes on each side. Keep warm. Work together the lamb, onion, egg, allspice, cumin, cayenne, pecans and the remaining mint. Divide the lamb mixture into 20-24 small balls and fry for 5-6 minutes in vegetable oil. Arrange on plates with the sweet potatoes, scatter with rocket leaves and dress with the minted yoghurt. For canapés, cut the sweet potatoes into discs for griddling, then skewer with the koftas and mint leaves on cocktail sticks and serve the yoghurt as a dip.
This article was published on 1st February 2012 so certain details may not be up to date.