Gran Cerdo is all about the purest expression of fruit, with whole bunch fermentation, no filtration, no stabilization and minimal sulphur. The wine has real character, with all the juicy elements of Tempranillo, and no unnecessary oak to mask its charm. It has a natural, earthy way about it, but with no funkiness. With its cherry-red, purplish, brilliant colour Gran Cerdo reveals primary notes of fresh fruit, strawberries, raspberries, cherries and violets with clean mineral tones from the granite. This little natural wine is phenomenal value.
Gonzalo has revived natural treatments and biodynamic practices used in the past to maintain healthy vineyards. Vigilance and creative solutions were to overcome mildew, mould and other pests, rather than chemicals. Gradually the soil increased in vitality and biodiversity and wild flowers, insects, earth worms, snails and the various organisms of the vineyard ecosystem began to return. The Tempranillo vines themselves were planted 35 years ago in the town of Fuenmayor in the La Tejera region, which is an area between groves of trees along the Ebro River and Mount San Llorente in the heart of the Rioja Alta sub-zone.
More wines from this retailer
- Madeleine Angevine, Knightor Winery →
- Terras Gauda ‘O Rosal’, Bodegas Terras Gauda →
- Sauvignon de Touraine, ‘Le Haut Perron Thésée’, Domaine Guy Allion (Organic Practices) →
- Pinot Noir, Burn Cottage (Biodynamic/Natural) →
A few delicious dishes to compliment your drink.
Fig, serrano ham, manchego and membrillo skewers
You can, of course, leave off the rather cute finishing cube of membrillo (Spanish quince paste), but it is delicious stuff, worth seeking out to serve with cheese, particularly its compatriot manchego. Assemble the skewers up to six hours ahead, cover the dish carefully with cling film and store in the fridge.
- 20 thin slices of serrano ham
- 200g manchego
- 10 very ripe figs, quartered
- 40x1cm cubes of membrillo (optional)
Spread the slices of ham on a work surface and halve lengthways with scissors or a sharp knife. Shave the cheese with a vegetable peeler to make 40 thin shavings. Position each shaving of cheese in the centre of a strip of ham, put a fig quarter on top and carefully wrap the ham round, securing the join by spearing each assembly with a wooden or bamboo skewer. Finish each skewer with a cube of membrillo, grind black pepper over and serve chilled or at room temperature.
Cavolo nero ravioli with roasted squash and crispy pancetta
Cutting the pasta dough into rough rectangles avoids wastage and they can be neatened up with a pasta wheel.
- 150g cavolo nero
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 250g good-quality fresh Italian ricotta
- 10g flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
- 85g parmesan, freshly grated
- 110g pancetta or streaky bacon, all but 6 rashers cut into small pieces
For the pasta:
- 150g cavolo nero
- 200g ‘tipo 00’ durum wheat flour, plus extra for dusting when rolling out
- ¼tsp sea salt
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 egg white
- 4tbsp coarse polenta
- 4tbsp olive oil
- 400g peeled and cubed butternut squash
- 2tbsp olive oil
- cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
First, make the pasta. Remove and discard the tough spine from the leaves of cavolo nero by starting at the base and tearing away the green fleshy part right to the tip. Repeat from the base of the other side of the spine so you have no tough pieces on the tender dark leaves.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the cavolo nero. Cook for 4 minutes until tender. Drain, refresh under cold running water and leave to drain.
When you’re ready to make the pasta, squeeze every drop of moisture from the leaves (this is very important) and roughly chop. Put in a food processor and pulse until very fine. Add the flour, salt and eggs and pulse to mix well. Tip onto some floured cling film, wrap and flatten a little, then chill for at least 1½ hours, or overnight.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Prepare, cook and drain the cavolo nero in the same way as for the pasta, only this time cook with the cloves of garlic. When done, remove the garlic and crush to a paste. Put the cooked cavolo nero and garlic in a bowl with the ricotta, parsley and parmesan. Fry the chopped pancetta until crispy, lift out of the pan onto a paperlined plate with a slotted spoon and leave to cool. Fold into the ricotta, then chill the mixture for about 1½ hours or overnight.
Cut the pasta into 4 portions and keep them wrapped. Roll out one piece at a time using a pasta machine (or take smaller pieces and use a rolling pin to get it as thin as possible). Pass the dough through the widest setting, then fold into 3. Do this 3 times, then gradually narrow the setting roll by roll, until you have a thin, pliable sheet of pasta (dust in between rolls with flour if too sticky).
Working with one sheet at a time, cut each sheet into two, then roughly into around 10 pieces about 8cm x 6cm and put a heaped tsp of ricotta filling on half of them. Brush their edges with a little egg white and put the other piece of dough on the top and press to seal. Cut with a pasta wheel dipped in flour and put on a tray lightly dusted with polenta. Repeat with the other 3 portions of pasta.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add 2tbsp of the olive oil. Cook 5 ravioli at a time for 3 minutes, basting with the hot water if they rise above the surface (keep the heat at a gentle boil or they may burst). Drain, refresh in cold water, drain again and spoon over the other 2tbsp oil. You can either eat these straight away, or save them for the next day – just brush them in a little oil so they don’t stick and lay them to chill in the fridge, then gently reheat for a few minutes in a pan of simmering water when you are ready to serve.
To serve, fry the slices of pancetta until crisp in a dry frying pan and put on a plate lined with kitchen paper. Toss the squash in the olive oil and fry over a low heat for about 6 minutes until golden. Serve the pasta topped with the slices of pancetta and the squash, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and grind over some pepper.
Lamb Provençal with Jerusalem artichokes, tomatoes, pepper and garlic
- 4tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 x 6-bone racks of lamb, French-trimmed, all skin and sinew removed
- 500g Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cut into 1.5cm chunks
- 1 small red Romano pepper, deseeded and chopped into small cubes
- 4 tomatoes, skinned, roughly deseeded and chopped
- 12 large basil leaves, roughly chopped
- parsley leaves
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Rub 1tbsp oil and a quarter of the crushed garlic over the lamb, season well and set aside. Heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan, add the artichokes and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes until lightly coloured. Add the pepper and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Add the rest of the garlic, a pinch of salt and 90ml water, cover and cook until the artichokes are just beginning to soften and most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the tomatoes and basil and check the seasoning. Cover and cook for 10 minutes until softened. Remove the cover and cook for another 5 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the mixture has thickened.
While the vegetables are cooking, brown the lamb on all sides in a frying pan (one suitable for the oven, or you could cover the handle with a thick layer of tinfoil) over a high heat, then transfer to the preheated oven. Roast for 15 minutes for rare. Remove and allow to rest for 20 minutes in a warm place. Cut the racks into bone chops and divide among serving plates, bone-ends facing up. To serve, spoon around some of the Provençal mixture and scatter with parsley leaves.
This article was published on 1st July 2012 so certain details may not be up to date.