2 Days in Barcelona! Day 1…

Day 1

We had simple breakfast with a croissant and a coffee that we need to have good appetite for lunch at La Boqueria. We had a long walk from our Hotel to El Gotic in refreshing weather which is surprising in August. And Than we came to La Boqueria, the most lively open air food market of Barcelona is not only feast for stomachs but also for eyes;

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Variety of foods can be seen and tasted in Tapas Bars in it, so we tried seafood Bar that the foods are prepared in front of your bar;

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No reservation but you need to make your name written by bar staff than in five minutes they call or shout your name and you get your place at the bar. We ordered “Copa de Cavas” which were in invigorating quality.

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Mix vegetable plate

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Clams with garlic and parsley

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Mix seafood plate

Foods were perfectly prepared from the freshest ingredients. The bill was fair for quite big plates, total 35€ for three people including Cavas.

Than we had another walk to El Born and we stopped at Bubó for dessert;

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Our choises

Time to buy some Spanish wines:))), Vila Viniteca .

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They have good selection of Spanish and international wines. But we were only interested in Spanish ones. Exciting wines can be found there, such as;

Emilio Moro, Malleolus de Valderramiro 2006 from Ribera del Duero,
Artadi Pagos Viejos 2004 from Rioja

And Of Course Sherries;

Hidalgo Manzanilla Pasada Pastrana,
La Bota Fino 27, Manzanilla 32 …

After shopping we deserved to have some rest at our hotel up to the late Dinner at Bar Mut.

Bar Mut is located on Calle Pau Claris, 192 ( corner of Avinguda Diagonal ), far from crowded areas. It has cozy decoration with wooden rustical bar, relaxing with high ceeling and wide windows, they have also table to “compartir” where we seated.

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They have tapas menu that changes every day according to available fresh ingredients and wine menu has by the glass option. And our first glasses were from Rioja;

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A robust style of Rioja is complex and deep with Black cherry, blackberry, tobacco, bacon, leather, licorice and spice, high alcohol is balanced with intense fruit and medium acidity.

And we ordered from daily tapas menu;

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Clams

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Local Mushroom

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Steak Tartare

Food were delicious, but Steak Tartare was one of the best I have ever had that French can jealous!

Our second glass was Artadi;

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Was relatively simple than the fist glass, probably It should be the first glass.
Dessert was very creative and surprising;

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Yogurt icecream with tomato and basil sauce. It has very little sugar and creamy texture lifting with soft lactic acid of yogurt. Wine pairing for the wonderful dessert was;

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If it’s possible I could go there everyday for Yogurt icecream!

To be continue with Day 2 !!!

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Kalecik Karasi, 2009 Vinkara Mahsen

Kalecik Karasi is a native Turkish grape and its origin is Kalecik Village near to Ankara. It’s an aromatic grape variety that can produce wines in delicate red fruit character with good acidity and light tannin. Especially In cooler climate it produces fruity, subtle and more balanced wines. These characteristics are mostly shaded by using a vinification technique called ” Carbonic Maceration ” in order to get more colour and the resulted wines have dominant bubblegum aromas.

Anyway now we have increasing number of opportunities to appreciate its capacity with tasting some premium examples such as 2009 Vinkara Mahsen Kalecik Karasi…

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Tasting Note – 2009 Vinkara Mahsen Kalecik Karasi

Appearance: Pale ruby, pink rim.

Nose: Intense fresh red fruit flavours (raspberry, cherry and plum), touch of vanilla, cream, nutty, smokey and leather aromas. Also some dried herbs (sage) and white pepper are detectable.

Palate: Confirms the aromas perceived at the nose but more intense flavours and the fruit is sweeter. Medium (+) Body, refreshing and lifting acidity with long dry peppery finish.

Creamy and round texture, ample oaking, very lively.

It has ability to evolve in the glass and offers surprises one in every sip that the flavours are getting more focused in ten minutes to a parfum-like deep fresh tomato aromas.

Given Alcohol level on the label is quite high, 14,3 % vol. but not detectable.

Vinkara vineyards are located on high altitude, 650m that probably helps to produce well-balanced wines with big temperature differences between day and night. Their vines are still young so I may expect to enjoy more intense vintages as they aged,

Curious!

Ô Chateau, My Birthday…

Last April we were going to Bordeaux via Paris and we chose Ô Chateau; a new wine bar in Paris for my birthday dinner. I learned the bar from a tweet of Jeannie Cho Lee, MW;

” 2 new wonderful wine discoveries in Paris: Frenchies wine bar on Rue du Nil & Ô Chateau on JJ Rouseau, casual, gd wine prices…”

Its location is central but far enough from very crowded and touristic regions of Paris, so feeling the city in more relaxing way is possible.

In order to spend sometime at the bar before dinner, we arrived earlier than our booking to the cozy wine bar is decorated with warm colors and lighting, comfortable feeling with high ceelings and wide windows.

We took our place at the bar by helping welcoming staff. The wine menu – by the glass – is quite extensive that consists almost all of the important wine regions of France and has also some of the iconic wines of France such as; Chateau d’Yquem and Dom Perignon. There are 3 options of cl’s; 3cl, 10cl, 15cl and 3cl is quite enough to taste and enjoy the wines.

Whites

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Reds

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So I asked something special to taste on my birthday. Honestly I was looking for a glass of 1999 Dom Perignon but what we had was,

” Cuvée Edmond Vielles Vignes 1996 – Sancerre ( Alphonse Mellot Edmond ) “

And we met an unusual, maybe a hidden style of white Loire; an aged Sauvignon Blanc, like a Bordeaux Blanc without its Sémillon. It was impressively rich, complex and deep with delicate fruit and gentle mineralty.

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After surprising and informative experience, we chose daily menu with two options;

Starters

– Baked truffle brie, apricot sauce,
– Mozzarella, tomato salad

2 glass of Pouilly-Fumé were a good matching with cheese-based dishes.

Main

– Beef fillet, gratin dauphinois, braised asparagus, 3 cheese truffle sauce,
– Risotto aux Saint Jacques poêlées, sauce balsamique

were brilliant with aromatic J.C. Rateau – Les Bressandes 2008 – Beaune 1er Cru,

Dessert

– Orange Tart,
– Cheese cake and fraise coulis

with a thoughtful birthday present from Ô Chateau; 2 glass of 1999 Dom Perignon were excellent.

Another souvenir came soon;

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– No need to make reservation unless selecting one of their wine tastings or having a dinner at limited tables.

– Interesting wine tastings such as;

Grands Crus,
Le Tour de France of Wines,
Paris Pass,
Paris Champagne Cruise,
Champagne Madness…

– friendly, kind and knowledgeable staff.

– Relaxing atmosphere and lively crowd.

– Good selection of French Wines and accompanying food.

– Good pricing, we only paid for the wonderful evening 85€.

Sometimes being a winelover can really be rewarding!!!

Cape Town Notes 4, Le Quartier Français…

The food and the wine in South Africa are almost always value and good quality.In our journey we had chance to taste some of the famous chef’s cuisine, such as Margot Janse’s.

Le Quartier Français is in beautiful Franschhoek Valley.The Valley is famous for its good restaurants as well as some notable wine estates.Executive Chef Margot Janse prepares her African Inspired Menu to be served in Tasting Room.

The menu changes regularly and our menu was;

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The Menu takes at least 3,5 hours.We were early so we enjoyed a glass of 2009 Silverton Brut at the their colorful bar;

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They have a very good and extensive wine list but It wouldn’t be proper to chose a bottle of wine for eight course menu, so we took wine pairing option which was very good for tasting new wines and pairings with foods.The staff are friendly and they explain ingredients, cooking style and story of each plates.But I should admit that sometimes explanations were so intense and long.

The dinner began with refreshing amuse bouche;

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Biltong and Chicken liver sandwich, avocado rolls (crispy cover and juicy inside) and tomato lolipops.

Than we hooked with caramelized butter, warm bread and sea salt;

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All the other dishes were like an explosion of tastes in our palate;

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Service and wine matching were very good.My favorite wine pairings are;

Chenin Blanc (daisy, melon, mineral, creamy texture, off-dry) with beetroot,

Unoaked Chardonnay (apple tart, off-dry, med+ body) with curry dusted monkfish.

Dining in Tasting Room is obviously not for everyday dinner so It’s worth a visit If you go to Cape Town to justify their saying that ‘Surprise; an emotion that occurs when something breaks our habitual pattern’

Cape Town Notes 3

In order to taste famous sweet muscat of SA, the wine that Napoleon begged for while in exile, first we visited to Klein Constantia Estate .

After tasting the wines we had Winery tour and we have seen;

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Winery,

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Old Cellar

Than we coincided desteming of harvested Sauvignon Blanc;

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Than we drove to most beautiful wine estate of Constatia; Buitenverwachting !

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Estate has gardens with ancient trees and houses like wedding cakes;

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And we had wonderful picnic under trees,

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With Husseys Vlei Sauvignon Blanc 2011 which was our favorite in the tasting.

After that we visited Steenberg Vineyards which has probably most Modern buildings in Constantia.

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The Bar

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The Restaurant

And we did our wine tasting, bought our favorite; Magna Carta 2009 (60% SB – 40% Semillon) for pairing to our self-catering at the evening.

The day after in early morning we leaving Constantia and we took a flight to George.

To be continue…

Cape Town Notes 2

Today we came to Constantia and check-in to our self-catering cottage;
Ikhaya Safari Lodfe

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We drop off our luggages and we immediately visited to Monumental Wine estate of Cape, Groot Constantia;

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Manor House at Groot Constantia

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Wine tasting at Groot Constantia

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Vineyards

Than we drove to The Cape Point Vineyards to taste one of the most terroirist white wines of Cape;

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Than we drove to southern edge of the Continent, The Cape of Good Hope;

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While returning to Constantia, we gave a stop at Boulders to see the Penguins;

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And finally we turned back to Constantia, did some shopping for our own self-catering at the cottage.

Cape Town Notes 1

After we ve seen city centre we went to Water Front at the evening and It was spectacular modern part of the city near to harbor area.There are canal view residences as much as restaurants, bars and clubs.

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After looking around we had our dinner at Belthazar .
It was one of the best steak houses and also they have impressive ‘by the glass’ wine menu that we enjoyed a lot.Of course we went some filthy bars before going to Hotel that I won’t tell in this post!

Today was quite busy; in the morning spectacular Table Mountain experience,

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Than we begin to check Cape Riviera ; Camps Bay,

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Llandudno Beach which was my favorite with its white sands,

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And the last stop was sunset concert at wonderful Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden (every saturday they have in this season).It was relaxing and energizing as well.

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Now probably we will go to Water Front for dinner.

Tomorrow Constantia!!!