Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Metrick Wines: Staying Out Of The Grapes' Way

From Spanish Sherry to California wine, Alex Russan is making his mark in the wine industry. He began with Alexander Jules, acting in some respects as a negociant, visiting Sherry producers and cellar owners and carefully selecting some of their barrels to create a special Sherry. Check my latest Sherry post, Thanksgiving & Amontillado, to find links to my reviews of Alex's Sherries as well as more information on his company. In short, I think he is bottling some of the most delicious and interesting Sherries available in the U.S. Alex has also expanded his operations, importing a select portfolio of Spanish wines.

Alex has also been an amateur wine maker for a number of years and finally decided to take it to the next level. He thus established Metrick Wines, naming the company after the maiden name of his maternal grandmother, who is currently 102 years old! His website states: "Metrick is my attempt to make the best possible wines I can, to get to know the grape as deeply as I have the capacity for, and to explore the different wine regions of California."

Alex, and his insatiable curiosity, is fascinated with all the questions that arise in wine making. Metrick is partially an attempt to answer these inquiries though Alex also realizes that even if he receives some answers, they will only lead to even further questions. However, like most passionate people, it is the journey that brings the pleasure, despite knowing you will never reach the destination, despite knowing you will never get all your questions answered.

It is his objective to produce "Wines made with the goal of staying out of the grapes' way, while encouraging elegance and aromatic complexity." The wines are also produced to be on the lighter style, which are "... as clean and transparent (flavor-wise) as possible, .." The grapes are harvested early as Alex feels that "...what is unique about great grapes from a particular site becomes blurred beyond a certain point of ripeness;..." He is trying to avoid wines which are dominated by ripe fruit and as such he also avoids oak.

Currently, Alex produces two wines, a Chardonnay and a Mourvedre, and they just entered the market in December. Alex sent me samples of these two wines, and I recently tasted them, to determine whether they replicate the quality I've found in his Sherries. In short, I was impressed with both wines and eagerly look forward to the future of Metrick Wines.

The 2015 Metrick Chardonnay ($36) is made with grapes from the Sierra Madre Vineyard in the Santa Maria AVA. This vineyard, planted in 1971, is considered one of the best cool climate vineyards in California and is also SIP certified, as it is sustainably farmed. The wine was fermented in stainless steel and aged on the lees, in stainless, for about 11 months. It underwent malolactic fermentation, allowing it to be bottled unfiltered, and has a 12% ABV.

I found this wine to be crisp and clean, with bright citrus notes and some minerality. There was some richness in the mouthfeel and it came across as elegant and delicious. I paired this wine with some stuffed clams and it was an excellent pairing. It was obvious that this Chardonnay would be perfect with seafood, from sushi to oysters. It would certainly go well with other dishes as well, from fried chicken to pasta carbonara.

The 2015 Metrick Mourvèdre ($31) is made with grapes from the Futernick Vineyard in the El Dorado AVA. This vineyard is well known for its Mourvedre grapes, grown in Aiken red volcanic soil at high altitudes. This wine is a blend of 85% Mourvedre, 5% Marsanne, 5% Counoise, and 5% Syrah. The Mouvedre grapes were harvested just after full veraison, "aiming for earthier, more herbal aromatics, rather than a fruit dominated profile." The wine was fermented in 50% stainless steel and 50% concrete. 95% of the juice was free run, and it was then aged for about 11 months in concrete. It was bottled unfixed and unfiltered, and has a 12% ABV.

This wine was thoroughly impressive, a light bodied and savory elixir. A complex blend of herbs, olives and earthiness dominated the taste, with subtle hints of berry. It was so ethereal on the palate, with a compelling taste, including a lingering finish, which made me crave a second and third glass. Before we knew it, the bottle was empty and everyone wished there was a second bottle. And with its low alcohol content, having a second bottle wouldn't be a major issue. I would pair this with an herbed, roast chicken or a mushroom risotto, or maybe a venison steak. Highly recommended!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Rant: Where's My Broth?

Mussels. They are delicious, inexpensive, healthy & sustainable. Unfortunately, despite these compelling reasons, only about 1.1% of Americans purchase mussels. That needs to change and I've written about this matter before. Check out my prior articles: Want Cheap, Tasty, Healthy & Sustainable Seafood? Choose Mussels; Eating More Mussels; and Master Class--Canada’s Organic Blue Mussels.

One of the most popular ways to serve mussels is in a broth or sauce, sometimes adding chorizo, tomatoes, or other ingredients to it. The broth/sauce should be tasty in of itself, an alluring liquid which you might even want to devour as you would a soup. With your mussels, you commonly receive some bread, maybe toasted or grilled, which is intended to be dipped into the broth/sauce. That adds a second level to the dish, and if the broth/sauce is especially compelling, it helps to elevate the quality of the dish.

However, the dish can fail if the broth/sauce lacks flavor, even if the mussels are cooked perfectly. The same would apply if the broth/sauce is excellent and the mussels failed. Both elements need to be excellent, with a failure in one leading to a failure for the entire dish. There is a caveat though, as even if both elements are excellent, the dish could ultimately fail, or at least be ultimately disappointing. How is that possible?

Recently, I checked out a new restaurant, ordering their Mussels, which came with a white wine broth and chorizo, as well as some slices of grilled bread. The mussels were cooked well, tender and tasty, and the chorizo added a nice spicy kick to the dish. The broth was tasty too, and it made you want to sop up the broth with your bread. However, the dish still disappointed me.

Where's my broth?

The problem was that the dish contained only a small amount of broth, not enough for dipping all the bread. Not enough for your spoon if you wanted to eat the broth as a soup. The broth is an important element of such a mussels dish, and a sufficient quantity of that broth should be present. With only a tiny amount of broth in the dish, you also have to move aside lots of the mussels to be able to reach the broth at the bottom. You shouldn't have to work that hard for a tiny amount of broth.

Yes, it might seem like a little thing, but it can make or break a dish. It would be easy for the restaurant to remedy and it would make their customers much happier. Give us sufficient broth to enjoy, for dipping our bread and for simply enjoying on its own.

And Eat More Mussels!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Thursday Sips & Nibbles

I am back again with a new edition of Thursday Sips & Nibbles, my regular column where I highlight some interesting, upcoming food & drink events.
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1) Bistro Duet is now open and offers guests a modern French dining experience in one of Arlington's most iconic buildings--the former Arlington Five Cent Savings Bank. Bistro Duet reunites InterContinental Hotel, Boston alumnae Cyrille Couet and Wayne Duprey.

"Bistro Duet will celebrate the uniqueness of the iconic bank space while offering contemporary French food and drink in an casually elegant neighborhood environment," says Co-Owner and General Manager Wayne Duprey.

Executive Chef and Co-Owner Cyrille Couet is from Frances's Loire Valley, where he began cooking in his uncle’s restaurant at the age of thirteen. Chef Couet's international career has taken him across Europe, the West Indies and the United States. Chef Cyrille was the inaugural chef of Miel Brasserie at the InterContinental, Boston where he worked alongside with Bistro Duet co-owner Wayne Duprey. Chef Couet, most recently, was the executive chef at the Questrom School of Business at Boston University.

A native of Dracut, Massachusetts, Bistro Duet co-owner Wayne Duprey will act as general manager. Wayne has managed restaurant and bar operations in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Most recently, he was the assistant director of food and beverage at the Four Seasons Resort, Hualalai in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Previously, he was Director of Bars at the InterContinental, Boston.

Bistro Duet is a 110-seat restaurant with private dining options. Adjacent to the dining room, the Bistro Duet bar will feature hard-to-find French herbal liqueurs and a selection of locally distilled spirits and regional craft beers. Beverage Operations will be supervised by Wember Castillo, most recently from Oak Long Bar + Kitchen and also formerly of Rumba at the InterContinental, Boston.

Messieurs Couet and Duprey have assembled a menu designed to appeal to all palates and pocketbooks. Whether you want to dine casually in the bar lounge side of the restaurant or with more formality in the gorgeous dining room, Bistro Duet will serve you the finest modern French cuisine, seasonally and regionally sourced.

2) On Wednesday, January 25, from 6:30pm-9pm, Civic Kitchen & Drink is hosting its first annual Robert Burns Scotch Dinner to pay tribute to one of Scotland's finest on his birthday, Robert Burns! Widely known as the national poet laureate of Scotland, Burns dinners are held on this day all around the world with whisky, poetry, haggis...and kilts.

Civic Kitchen & Drink just opened in 2016. Chef Rick Araujo and GM/Beverage Director Sarah Lee create memorable food and beverage pairings that are worth the drive. This dinner may be the most memorable yet as they celebrate their love for Robert Burns & Scotch.

We are excited to put our own spin on traditional Scottish foods, because, well, haggis!!” shares Araujo. The team at Civic Kitchen & Drink is working closely with Special Guest and Whiskey Expert Charles Tower, of Lost Distilleries and Julio's Liquors. The dinner will feature classic and New World scotches paired with dishes created by Araujo and his team.

We are excited to host this amazing tradition and we anticipate a sold-out night” says Lee. “What more could you want? A night of Scotch, Poetry, Amazing Food, and yes, I’ve heard there may be kilts!”

Cost: $69 per person
For Reservations, please call 508-329-5142

3) Posto will be celebrating this Valentine’s Day with a prix fixe, three-course menu for $50 per person. In addition to the prix fixe menu, guests may also choose to order from a selection of favorite items from Posto’s regular menu.

The prix fixe menu will include:
Primi Piatti
--Cotuit Oysters with preserved kumquat, arbol chilies, and thyme
--Lobster Bisque with sweet potato, crème fraiche, and chives
--Black Truffle Mac ‘n Cheese with gruyere fondutta, elbow macaroni, and parmesan bread crumbs
Secondi Piatti
--Duck Tortellini with braised duck leg, goat cheese, cherries, and thyme
--Fig Risotto with thyme, black mission figs, and parmesan
--Cauciucco with saffron, clams, mussels, shrimp, cod, and monkfish
Dolci
--L’ Opera Cake: almond sponge cake with amaretto cream and chocolate ganache
--Vanilla Panna Cotta with fresh berries and blood orange sciroppo

For Reservations, please call 617-625-0600

4) Alas, Chocolee Chocolates shuttered its acclaimed retail shop on Dartmouth Street in 2014, but chocolatier Lee Napoli -- whose expertise in all things sweet is legendary in this city -- continues her legacy by sharing her chocolate-making knowledge in a spacious South End classroom on Saturday afternoons at 2:00 p.m.

Classes size is limited, and instruction includes:
- tempering high quality chocolate
- making toasted chocolate almond bark
- mixing the perfect ganache
- learning to scoop, roll, dip and decorate truffles
- the secret of chocolate beignets (hot fried dough filled with chocolate)

At the end of the 2 ½ hour class, each student goes home with a 1 lb. box of assorted candies they’ve made themselves.

Cost: Chocolate classes are usually $150 per person but from now until the end of March, Ms. Napoli is offering a $50.00 discount, bringing the cost of this unique weekend activity to only $100.

Class registration is available by emailing: chocoleechocolates@gmail.com

5) Owners Filipo and Phil Frattaroli, Guest Chef Antonella Santacroce, and the rest of the Lucia Ristorante team invite guest to join them for a special, prix fixe “From Abruzzo with Love” dinner, on Monday, February 6, from 6pm-9pm,  to benefit the Central Italy Earthquake Relief Fund. To better accomodate a larger number of guests, this dinner will be held at Filippo Ristorante.

The North End's Lucia Ristorante will be celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and to kick off the festivities, it will host this prix fixe dinner with special guest chef Antonella Santacroce. Hailing from Sulmona, Italy in the Abruzzo region, Chef Santacroce will delight guests with a multi-course menu showcasing Abruzzese cuisine. The seated dinner will include menu items such as: polenta Ovidiana with sausage; buccatini all’ Amatriciana with Pecorino cheese and guanciale; and porchetta. Lucia’s house red and white wines will be served alongside the meal.

Tickets cost $100, not including tax and gratuity, and can be purchased by calling (617) 742-4142.

6) The Beehive, located in Boston’s South End, will indulge lovers with “Spread The Love”- a 10 day-long celebration featuring Valentine’s Day inspired dishes from Executive Chef Gregory Torrech, drink specials, and live jazz and soul performances.

On Tuesday, February 14, guests can enjoy a special prix fixe dinner menu for just $69 per person, but why limit the love to one day? Guests can enjoy the luxe Valentine’s Day menu as a la carte specials that will be served in addition to the regular menu on Friday, February 10 through Sunday, February 19. The Beehive will also be serving a lover’s weekend brunch on Saturday, February 11 and 18 and Sunday February 12 and 19 from 10AM-3PM.

All week long guests can get in the mood with romantic live music and one of The Beehive’s Valentine’s Day drink specials. Wine enthusiasts will appreciate The Beehive’s extensive wine list featuring exceptional sparkling and reserve wines.

Reservations are highly recommended by calling 617-423-0069

7) On Thursday, February 9, at 6pm, Davio's Lynnfield will host a culinary wine tour of Merriam Vineyards in Sonoma County. Taste along with winemaker Peter Merriam, from one the most respected vineyards in the country. Designed for oenophiles of all levels, the four-course dinner with wine pairings will feature regionally inspired foods prepared by Executive Chef Danny Levesque
.

WINE DINNER MENU
Benvenuto
Mini Kobe Beef Meatballs
Warm Brie, Figs, Crostini
Tuna Tartare, Sesame, Cucumber
Philly Cheese Steak Spring Rolls®, Spicy Ketchup, Spicy Mayo
2014 Davio’s Reserve Chardonnay
2013 Davio’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Antipasto
Chilled Oysters, Shrimp, Lobster, Mussels, Cocktail Sauce, Mustard Sauce
2015 Merriam Vineyards, Sauvignon Blanc
Farinaceo
Duck Confit Ravioli, Cipollini, Bacon, Pink Peppercorns
2011 Merriam Vineyards, Cabernet Franc
Piatto Del Giorno
Slow Roasted Brandt Beef Ribeye, Skillet Potatoes, Baby Carrots, Cabernet Au Jus
2007 Merriam Vineyards, Miktos, Cabernet Sauvignon
Dolce
Seven Layer Lemon Cake, Fresh Berries, Raspberry Coulis
2013 Merriam Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc

COST: $95 per person (excluding tax and gratuity).
Tickets are required. Please visit http://davios.com/lynnfield/events/merriam-wine-dinner-0 or call 781-944-4810

8) On Thursday, February 9, at 6:30pm, Legal Sea Foods in Park Square will host a wine dinner with selections from Tulip Winery. Established in 2003 by the Itzhaki family, Tulip is the largest boutique winery in Israel that produces approximately 220,000 bottles annually. The Winery, which integrates the production of quality wines with social responsibility, is located on a mountainside in Kfar Tikva (Village of Hope), a small pastoral settlement whose population consists of people with special needs. The Winery aspires to enable members of the community to develop and realize their potential. The noteworthy fusion of the community’s vision and the Itzhaki's desire to produce wine gave rise to an exciting model of a wine industry that employs the community members and offers them a business platform to integrate into the workforce just like in mainstream society.

I have tasted several of the wines from the Tulip Winery and were impressed with their quality. In addition, Tulip has a great story and is very socially responsible. This should be a delicious and informative dinner.

Legal Sea Foods will team up with winemaker, David Bar-Ilan, to host a four-plus-course dinner featuring signature cuisine paired with his selections from the Tulip Winery vine. The menu will be presented as follows:

HORS D’OEUVRES
Bluefish Pâté, Grilled Toast Points
Grey Sole Tiradito, Yuzu & Aji Sea Salt
Smoked Salmon*, Brioche, Caper Relish
Tulip Winery “White Tulip,” Galilee, 2014
FIRST COURSE
Cedar Plank Haddock (cilantro rice, salsa Veracruzana)
Tulip Winery “Tulip Espero,” Galilee, 2013
SECOND COURSE
Blackened Faroe Island Salmon (spaghetti squash caponata)
Tulip Winery Syrah “Reserve,” Galilee, 2013
MAIN COURSE
Grilled Spiced Beef Tenderloin (wild rice, tomato romesco)
Tulip Winery Cabernet Sauvignon “Reserve,” Galilee, 2013
DESSERT
Poached Red Pear & Brillat-Savarin Cheese (honeyed walnuts, lemon zest, cinnamon)
Tulip Winery “White Franc,” Judean Hills, 2014

COST: $85 per person (excludes tax & gratuity)
Reservation required by calling 617-530-9397

9) Chef/Owner Michael Schlow, Chef de Cuisine Brendan Pelley, and the Doretta Taverna team invite guests to join them to experience for exciting events and menu changes taking place at Doretta under the leadership of Doretta’s newly appointed Chef de Cuisine Brendan Pelley. Starting the year off on a delicious note, 2017’s must notable happenings include:

Dollar Oyster Opa Hours:
Happy hour has taken on a whole new meaning at Doretta’s “Opa Hour!” Monday through Friday, from 4 to 6 p.m. and from 9 to close, Doretta is offering $1 oysters at the bar. The oyster offerings will include a variety of three, different oysters that will rotate daily. Past featured oysters have included Hama Hamas, Aunt Dotty’s, Moonshoal’s, Chatham’s, Pemaquid’s, Howland’s Landing, Crowes Pasture, and Johns River.

Date Night Prix Fixe:
Join Doretta every Sunday through Tuesday night for its new Date Night Menu! For just $50 for two people, guests can enjoy a feast of spreads, choice of several mezze plates, and a Greek dessert platter to end the evening. A special wine list will also be available exclusively just for date night.

Winter Cocktails:
Doretta has just rolled out its new, winter cocktail list featuring libations such as Adriatico with ouzo, lavender, and cassis, as well as a Greek spin on the classic hot toddy made with brandy, lemon, Tentura, and honey. Whimsical, creative cocktails with name like Grey Eyes, Socratic Method, and Achilles’ Heel will have guests savoring every last drop.

Lunch on the Fly:
Need to get back to the office in time for that 1 o’clock meeting? Doretta has got you covered! For just $25 guests can enjoy Doretta’s infamous village salad, choose from one of Doretta’s three open-faced pitas (lamb, chicken souvlaki and falafel) and a beverage (Have you ever had a Greek Frappe before?) with speedy, expedited service. Doretta serves lunch Monday to Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m

Local Sourcing:
Chef Brendan Pelley has established and nurtured his relationships with several foragers and mushroom growers, as well as herbs from his friends at Eva’s Garden to ensure Doretta’s food is only source from the very best purveyors. Among others. Doretta continues to work closely with oyster farmer Jeremey Scheffer from Spearpoint Oysters out of Martha’s Vineyard and Sky 8 Shrimp Farm.

Chef’s Table:
Doretta’s unique Chef's Table is the heart and soul of the restaurant’s bustling kitchen. Situated right in the kitchen on the lower floor, the long wooden farm table can accommodate up to 12 guests for a completely private dining experience. Doretta’s chefs will interact with guests to create a special menu while the party’s dedicated server will curate optional wine pairings. The Chef's Table is the perfect place for a whimsical Greek feast!

New Dishes:
Doretta is excited to have recently unveiled a variety of creative new dishes to the menu! Favorites include Saganaki “Fondue” with Kefalograviera, pickled cranberries, Szechuan peppercorn, and metaxa; Housemade “Hilopites” Pasta with stewed rabbit, cinnamon, chili, and kefalotiri; Vegetable Crudité with pistachio skordalia; and Ouzo-Cured Arctic Char with pickled caper leaf, dill, and pepperoncini.

10) The Light Foundation is “moving the chains” by raffling off a chance for two lucky fans and their guests to sit VIP style for the AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium on January 22.

Former New England Patriots Offensive Lineman and three-time Super Bowl Champion Matt Light is raffling off the second installment of the Playoff Series Raffle, with the “O-Line Edition” playoff package to support his longtime nonprofit, the Light Foundation. A portion of the proceeds will also go to the “Taste of the NFL,” to benefit the Greater Boston Food Bank.

Two winners will each bring a guest to sit in a luxury suite at Gillette Stadium for the Patriots vs. Steelers game on January 22nd, following a Dinner at Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse at Patriot Place, with Light and a few special guests – former O-linemen Joe Andruzzi, Russ Hochstein and Dan Koppen. Then they’ll head to the stadium where they will sit in the Energi suite to watch the Patriots take on the Steelers in the AFC Championship game. The prize package also comes with an overnight at the Courtyard Marriott in nearby Norwood, a stipend (up to $200 for each group) for transportation to and from the game and a couple of signed helmets from your special O-line dinner guests, and current Patriots players.

Raffle tickets are $1 each at www.playoffraffle.org. Raffle proceeds will benefit the Light Foundation, to assist at-risk kids from all over the country in staying on track and becoming leaders in their own communities.

The O-Line Edition Raffle Package includes:
 · (2) tickets to the Energi suite for the January 22nd Patriots vs. Steelers AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium to watch the game with Matt Light
 · Hotel accommodations for (2) at The Courtyard Marriott in nearby Norwood, for night of Saturday, January 22nd
 · Pre-game dinner at Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse at Patriot Place with Matt Light, Joe ANdruzzi, Russ Hochstein and Dan Koppen on January 22nd
 · Travel stipend for transportation from hotel to Patriot Place and back before and after game
 *2 packages are available – 2 winners will be drawn when the raffle closes*

WHERE: Raffle tickets are $1 each available at: www.playoffraffle.org
WHEN: Raffle Entry Deadline: Friday, January 20, at 2:00p.m. EST (Winners are picked soon after the deadline)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

All About Greek Wine & Spirits

"Nothing more excellent or valuable than wine was every granted by the gods to man."
--Plato

For over 4000 years, wine has been a significant element of Greek culture, something few other wine regions can say. The Greek word for wine, which can be traced back over 3000 years, is oenos. The ancient Greeks loved wine and it figured into much of their life with even their philosophers waxing poetically about wine. During the last twenty-five years, the Greek wine industry has undergone much renovation and change, bringing their production processes into the modern world. However, despite its lengthy history, Greek wine seems to lack the recognition it deserves.

A significant number of wine stores carry few, if any Greek wines, and I've been told by some shop owners that Greek wines don't sell. Too many consumers haven't tasted Greek wines and even a significant portion of wine lovers seem to have little experience with Greek wines. For years, I've been promoting Greek wines, as each time I attend a Greek wine tasting, I find more reasons to love their wines. And it's long overdue that Greek wines receive more attention.

Let's bring about that change.

"Where there is no wine there is no love."
--Euripides

To help bring more visibility to Greek wines and spirits, I compiled the links to my Greek wine & spirit-related posts into this single article. This post will be a repository of those articles and I will update it when I write another article about Greek wines. To start, let me provide you some reasons why you should be drinking more Greek wines.

Greek Wines: Why Aren't You Drinking Them?
Ten Reasons To Drink Greek Wine

"The best kind of wine is that which is most pleasant to him who drinks it."
--Pliny the Elder

And now onto some reviews of specific Greek wines and spirits.

Two Compelling Greek Wines At Committee
2015 Kir Yianni Akakies Rosé: A Summery Greek Wine
Committee: New Greek Spirits To Explore
BISq: Parparoussis Winery & Greek Delights
Wines of Crete: A Taste of History & Terroir
Greek Wines: Specific Recommendations
T.W. Food: A Taste of Greece
Greek Wines: Athenee Importers-Part 2
Greek Wines: Athenee Importers-Part 1
Greek Wines: Katogi-Strofilia
Greek Wines: Tsantali
Greek Wines: Oinotheque Emery 
Greek Wines: Ktima Pavlidis winery
Greek Wines: Gai'a Wines
Boston Wine Expo: Greek Wines
2000 Lidakis Archanes

Monday, January 16, 2017

Rant: A Brave New Restaurant In Melrose

I wish more restaurants could be brave, willing to take risks to stay true to a concept or cuisine.

However, I understand the market factors which make that difficult for some restaurants, which feel they must cater to their customers, diluting their concept, just so they can stay in business. For example, I know an Italian restaurant, which originally desired to stay true to their concept of Italian regional cuisine, but felt compelled to eventually add a burger to their menu. It was sad to see that addition, yet if they had not made such changes, maybe the restaurant would have had to close by now. And that would have been a tragedy.

No matter how great your concept, if you don't have enough customers, you will fail.

That is why I want to bring your attention to T'ahpas 529, a new Spanish restaurant on Franklin Street in Melrose. They serve primarily traditional tapas, as well as some non-traditional dishes, and also serve a few larger dishes too, such as paella. I haven't visited it enough to write a more formal review, but I want to highlight one feature which I feel is especially brave.

Their wine list concentrates on Spanish wines, with a smattering of wines from other countries including Argentina, Chile, Portugal and Italy. There are 15 wines offered by the glass, from Cava to Rosado (priced $8-$14), but they also have an additional 9 Sherries offered by the glass (priced $9-$14). And offering that many Sherries, especially for a restaurant in Melrose, is brave. Unfortunately, Sherry remains a niche wine, and far too few people have experienced good Sherry. And most Americans that drink Sherry, drink sweet Sherry though dry Sherry is far more popular in Spain.

Sherry is delicious and fascinating, with a lengthy and interesting history, and it is one of my favorites types of wine. You can read my more than 30 articles about the various aspects of Sherry, from History to Food Pairing. It certainly pairs very well with Spanish cuisine, though also pairs very well with many other cuisines too. I have often recommended that my readers drink more Sherry and I'm here again to repeat myself.

I want to encourage anyone who dines at T'ahpas 529 to be brave and try one of their 9 Sherries. Ask the staff what tapas they suggest you eat with your Sherry. If the restaurant is brave enough to place that many Sherries on their list, you should be brave enough to order one of those Sherries. You might very well be surprised how much you like the Sherry. And if you dislike one of the Sherries, try a different style of Sherry as it could be more fitting to your preferences.

Support brave restaurants!