Daniel Santos,  Contributor

Daniel Santos, Contributor

One of the great joys in life is traveling and discovering the great cultures that exist all over the world. Those discoveries are even better when the cultures have such a rich history in wine and food like the Spanish do.  Bringing back or discovering that rich history is now easier than ever to do especially when you find a true culinary treasure like The Spanish Table nearby.  With four stores located in Seattle, Berkeley, Santa Fe, and Mill Valley you can easily be transported away to Spain as you enjoy shopping for Spanish food and wines in one of their wonderful locations. To those who are not nearby one of the physical storefronts, never fear, you can get your Iberian fix by shopping online.

The Spanish have been making wines since Roman days and they enjoy a rich history in viticulture.  With over 600 varietals planted throughout their wine regions, many of those grapes are native Spanish varieties that can only be found in Spain.  We visited the Berkeley location, which opened in 2001.  They have a great wine selection from all over Spain and their staff are very knowledgeable and willing to help you choose and select the right wine for any occasion.   For those who might be new to Spanish wines you will be happy to know that the wines span many different varieties and styles, from bubbles in Cava, to Tempranillo in Rioja, as well as other more familiar varieties such as Granacha (Grenache), Cabernet, and Sauvignon Blanc.  The Spanish Table in Berkeley has a wonderful selection of all these different styles and varieties.   

An interesting thing to note is that in 2013 Spain became the world’s top producer of wine beating their historic rivals France and Italy.   This was in large part to a perfect growing season in Spain that meant a bumper crop for many of its wine producing regions.   This surplus of fine wine will be a definite plus for those who are in the know.  If you’re looking for great new wines to discover in 2015, at an affordable price, you should become familiar with Spanish wines.  

On the day we visited the Spanish Table in Berkeley we were there to pick up some Spanish Chorizo sausage, and Spanish Paella for a dinner we were prepring that evening. The Spanish Table is Paella supply heaven, not only do they carry all the cookware, spices, and special Spanish bomba rice, but they also carry a variety of Spanish groceries, Olive oils, and Spanish ham known as Jamón Ibérico.

2007 LAN Rioja Reserva.jpg

We asked for some help with a bold red wine that would pair well with the Paella, something with rich fruit and a nice amount of smoke and spice.  The wine steward recommended a 2007 LAN Rioja Reserva, a 91 Point TWA (Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate) wine that is about 90% Tempranillo and spends up to 15 months in both French and American Oak barrels, at about $17.99 it was a definite winner.  We plan to return to the Spanish Table and pick up some more LAN Reserva, we recommend you do the same.

Don't forget to capture your wine and paella experiences using the VAULT29 app.