Thanksgiving Wine Guide

By Eric Harris, Wine Steward Barcelona Wine Bar and Restaurant

PicMonkey Collage

It’s that time of year again. It’s time to stuff ourselves full of homemade cooking, relax with our friends and family, watch football, and of course, drink wine. Now, we just have to figure out what to drink with dinner. Your first thought might be Beaujolais Nouveau, but haven’t you done that already? I’d like to put a Spanish twist on things.

If your family is anything like mine, not everybody is going to wait for dinner to crack open the first bottle of wine. You might want something to go with the hors d’oeuvres. My choice for starting the day off is the 2010 Marques de Gelida Rose Brut Reserva.  This is a biodynamic rose cava made from 100% Pinot Noir, showing beautiful bright cherry, cranberry, and strawberry flavors, with a very clean refreshing finish. This wine will work well with many cheeses, cured meats, olives, salads, and other light fare. It is also quiet delicious as an aperitif on its own.

 marques de gelida

When dinner is served I know I’ll be reaching for a bottle of Mencia. The specific wine I have in mind is the 2010 Dominio del Bibei Lalama. This is yet another biodynamic wine, a trend in my selections that is by no means accidental. It is a beautiful wine with bright red fruits and strong acidity upfront with a lovely complex finish with prominent flavors of dark cherry, dried rose petal, slate, and subtle spice. If you cook anything like I do, almost everything is sure to be full of butter. This wine, with its strong fruit structure and complexity, will make a great pairing for the variety of rich flavors across your dinner table. This wine’s acid will go a long way to refresh your palate during the meal.



Finally comes the important part, pie. Those last few blissful bites will surely send you into a much needed, food-induced nap on the couch. It would be a shame for them to go unaccompanied. With our final course, I would suggest a nice glass of sherry. The Alvear Asuncion Oloroso stands out in my mind. With its soft notes of maple, cinnamon, and toasted nuts it is sure to pair well with a wide array of pies, cookies, and other delicious holiday treats.



Now, you don’t have to stick to my suggestions. The wide array of flavors that can find their way to your dinner table during the holidays leaves you with plenty of options. Other notable mentions are: Traditional Rioja Reserva, Priorat’s Garnacha Blanca, Rioja’s aged Viura, and Moscatel Dulce.


When choosing your wine for the holidays, it can be hard to make sure what you pick up at your local wine shop is the quality you desire. Always remember you can ask your local neighborhood sommelier or the owner and clerks at a wine shop you trust. If you’re in Brookline for the holidays I suggest taking a look in The Wine Press on Beacon St.


Whatever you chose for your holiday festivities, myself and the Barcelona family wish you all the best. May your dinner be delicious, your wine be plentiful, your company be great, and your day be restful.


Happy Holidays!



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An Autumn Bounty: A Look at How We Celebrate the Season

At Barcelona, we love the unique and earthy flavors of the fall season. Here’s a recap of our October autumn-themed events. 

Greenwich Autumn Harvest Beer Dinner

Tuesday, October 28th


Featured breweries: Downeast Cider House, Smuttynose, J.W. Lees, and Black Hog.


Chef Lucente preparing the second course, Manilla Clams with roasted squash, and chorizo. Paired with Rosemary Dunkelwiezen from local Connecticut brewery, the Black Hog.


Third course: Harissa-briased short ribs, kale, potato purée paired with the Pumpkin Ale from Smuttynose Brewery in New Hampshire.


Chef Lucente and General Manager Ennio sampling the brews.




Harissa Short Ribs

2 short ribs

2 tbsp canola oil

1 carrot

1 stalk celery

1 onion

1 head garlic

1 sprig rosemary

1 bay leaf

1 cup port

2 cup red wine

5 cup veal stock

1 tbsp harrisa

Salt and pepper


1) Season the ribs with salt and pepper the night before and keep in fridge uncovered.

2) Sear ribs in a hot pan with canola oil on all sides and remove from pan.

3) Lower heat and roast vegetables in the same pan on low to medium heat.

4) Add herbs and roast for a few more minutes.

5) Deglaze the pan with the wine, and reduce until syrupy. Finally add the veal stock and harissa and bring to a boil.

6) Add the hot stock and vegetables to a pan that will completely submerge the ribs. Cover with foil and roast at 325° for 4 1/2 hours.

7) Remove from oven and cool over night.

8) Remove ribs from liquid and reduce sauce by about 1/4 in a sauce pot.

9) When sauce has reduced, add portions of ribs and slowly heat up in oven set at 325 degree covered for about 10-15 minutes, or until hot.

Sunchokes Purée

2 sunchokes

2 cups milk

2 cups heavy cream

¼ stick butter

Salt and pepper


1) Clean sunchokes of any sand and thick skin.

2) Place in a sauce pot with milk and cream, cover the pan, and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook sunchokes until for tender.

3) Strain from liquid, place in a blender with butter and purée until smooth.

4) Season with salt and pepper.


New Haven Autumn Harvest Cooking Class

Tuesday, October 28th


Sitting at the Chef’s table, watching Chef Frank Proto prepare the night’s dishes!


Chef Frank demonstrating some helpful techniques.


Spaghetti Squash with Brown Butter and Aged Mahon

1 large spaghetti squash

2 tbs olive oil

1 clove garlic (chopped)

1/4 stick butter

1/2 cup aged Mahon (grated)

Salt and black pepper


1) Cut the spaghetti squash in half and remove all of the seeds.

2) Sprinkle the cut side with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

3) Roast in a 350 degree oven on a cookie sheet cut side down for 20-30 minutes remove from the oven and let cool.

4) When the squash is cool enough to handle scoop out the flesh with a fork and separate the strands.

5) Place the butter in a small sauce pan and cook on low heat stirring constantly until it starts to brown, remove from the heat and let cool.

6) Add 3 tbs of brown butter to a saute pan. Add the garlic and brown lightly.

7) Add the squash and toss in the butter mixture until warm. Top with the grated Mahon.


South Norwalk Autumn Harvest Cooking Class

Tuesday, October 21st


Mise en Place



Chef Wayne Homsi introducing the night’s seasonal ingredients.


Prep time!


Adding some finishing touches.


Enjoying the evening!


Apple Cobbler

4 tablespoons brown butter

13 granny smith apples, large dice

3 cups brown sugar

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 tbsp ground nutmeg

1/2 cup fruit crisp topping

1/2 cup brandy


1) Put butter into a large pan and heat until light brown on medium heat

2) Add apples and brown lightly.

3) Add sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook until sugar dissolves

4) Add apples and deglaze with brandy. Cook for 10 minutes.

5) Place 1 cup of apple mixture into each cazuela. Top with fruit crisp topping.

6) Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown.


Apple Cobbler Topping

4 cups flour

3 cups brown sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp salt

¾ butter, melted


1) Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl: flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

2) If grating fresh nutmeg, ½ nut yields approximately 1tsp grated nutmeg. 3) Mix with hands to combine.

4) Pour in melted butter and mix until just incorporated. Mixture should be clumpy. Chill for service.

Questions about recipes? Email Be sure to check out our calendar of events for upcoming cooking classes!


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Churros (Spanish Doughnuts)


In honor of National Doughnut Day we asked Barcelona’s Culinary Director Adam Halberg for his insights into the fried Spanish favorite.

Authentic churros are probably not what you expect. While most of our guests choose churros for a fun and shareable dessert, in Spain they are primarily eaten for breakfast. The star-shaped long strips are made of fried choux-paste, or dough. The dough is piped into circles in low, wide fryers and then snipped into “portions” to order using shears. Very rarely will you find any sugar on them. Churros are almost always served with a cup of barely-sweetened thick hot chocolate (which you drink after you are done dipping, of course).

Find a “churreria” street cart or cafe and enjoy. Can’t make it to Spain? Try Barcelona’s own churro recipe.


Churros with Chocolate Dipping Sauce



5 eggs

1/8 tsp granulated sugar

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1.5 cups water

1 stick butter, cubed

¼ tsp salt

2.5 cups all-purpose flour

1 TBSP olive oil


1. Whisk together the eggs, cinnamon and sugar. Set aside.

2. Combine the water, butter and salt in a medium sized sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking regularly. As soon as water/butter mixture boils, gradually add the flour, stirring constantly to incorporate.

3. Continue stirring the batter constantly, with a wooden or heat resistant plastic spoon, for 7 to 9 minutes, until it is stiff and paste-like.

4. Transfer the batter to a the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment.

5. With the mixer on low, slowly incorporate reserved eggs, and then oil, into the batter.

6. Increase mixer speed to medium and mix the batter for about 5 to 6 minutes, until smooth.

7. Transfer the batter into a plastic piping bag then chill for at least 1 hour, or up to 24, before using.

8. When ready to serve, fill a deep sauce pan with canola or vegetable oil and heat to 350-degrees.

9. Snip the tip off of the piping back to create a ¾” – 1” opening. Pipe the churro dough into 4-6” lengths and carefully drop into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown on the outside.

10. Remove churros from oil and drain on paper towels. Then roll in cinnamon sugar to coat (1 cup granulated sugar: 1 TBSP ground cinnamon). Serve with chocolate sauce.


Chocolate Dipping Sauce


2 cups whole milk

Pinch chili flakes

½ cup heavy cream

2 TBSP cornstarch

6 oz bittersweet chocolate pieces

2 TBSP cocoa powder

4 TBSP granulated sugar

2 TBSP dark rum


1. Pour the milk into a sauce pot and bring to a low simmer over medium heat. Then add the chili flakes.

2. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk the heavy cream and cornstarch together.

3. Add a small amount of hot milk to the cornstarch slurry to temper it. Then add the tempered slurry back to the pot of milk. Whisk well to combine. Bring the milk back to a low simmer for 7 minutes, stirring regularly.

4. Add the chocolate, cocoa powder and sugar to the milk and mix well until the chocolate has melted.

5. Remove the pot from the heat and let sit for 15 minutes. Then whisk in the rum. Hold warm.

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Recap: The History Makers Spanish Wine Tasting

Last Thursday, Barcelona’s Gretchen Thomas was joined by West Side Wines to present two of Spain’s most ground-breaking wine producers: La Rioja Alta (Rioja, Spain) and Raventos I Blanc (Penedes, Spain). Both wineries played pinnacle roles in the development of their respective wine regions and the standards of their D.O.’s. They are two of the most highly regarded names amongst Spanish wine connoisseurs and enthusiasts, and proudly sold in Barcelona Wine Bars and West Side Wine’s retail store. This walk-around tasting featured all of the available vintages of La Rioja Alta, including the 1998 Gran Reserva ‘890,’ and the outstanding cavas of Raventos.

Andrew Mulligan of Michael Skurnik Wines pouring La Rioja Alta wines

Andrew Mulligan of Michael Skurnik Wines pouring La Rioja Alta wines

Olive Oil Poached Tuna Montadito w/ Caviar

Olive Oil Poached Tuna Montadito w/ Caviar

Peter Slywka of Michael Skurnik Wines pouring Raventos I Blanc cavas

Peter Slywka of Michael Skurnik Wines pouring Raventos I Blanc cavas

The La Rioja Alta wines lineup: Vina Alberdi Reserva, 2007 / Vina Arana Reserva,  2006 / Vina Ardanza Reserva,  2005 / ‘904’ Gran Reserva, 2001 /  ‘904’ Gran Reserva, 2004 / ‘890’ Gran Reserva, 1998

Mariscos Paella

Mariscos Paella

The Raventos I Blanc cavas lineup: La Vida del Camp / Conca de Riu Anoia Brut L’Hereu / Conca de Riu Ania Brut Rose de Nit

The Raventos I Blanc cavas lineup: La Vida del Camp / Conca de Riu Anoia Brut L’Hereu / Conca de Riu Ania Brut Rose de Nit

A magnum of la Rioja Alta Gran Reserva ‘904’ 1998 from the personal collection of Greg Nemergut (Owner of West Side Wines in West Hartford, CT)

A magnum of la Rioja Alta Gran Reserva ‘904’ 1998 from the personal collection of Greg Nemergut (Owner of West Side Wines in West Hartford, CT)

Ertan Sener (Store Manager/Buyer for West Side Wines) pondering a glass of rose cava

Ertan Sener (Store Manager/Buyer for West Side Wines) pondering a glass of rose cava


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Recap: The BIG Steak and Wine Dinner

Barcelona Wine Bar & Restaurant in Fairfield just hosted our last patio wine dinner of the season! For the fourth year in a row, Mark Berlin, owner of Fairfield Foods, dry aged prime grade porterhouse steaks which we grilled on our outdoor BBQ. This event showcased some of the world’s more brooding wines, which naturally pairs with grilled meats. This year, we showcased the best of the T. Edwards Imports’ Spanish and South American wines. Jorge Perez, a Chilean native and world-known expert of Latin wines, joined us from T. Edwards Imports. Executive Chef Ian Kokkeler prepared the full menu, and each course, in conjunction with our friend William Miller of Harry’s Wine & Liquor Market, was paired with Jorge’s picks.


Gretchen preps the staff before dinner


Company Sommelier Francisco Sanchez chats with Mark and Rhonda Berlin of Fairfield Foods, our meat vendors


The wines stand ready…


This chilled grape and almond soup was paired with Jelu Malbec Rosé from Argentina


Francisco pours the Josep Foraster Blanc del Coster Macabeo 2013 from Spain


Executive Chef Ian Kokkeler grills up spice-rubbed steaks with aged sherry vinegar sauce


William Miller of Harry’s Wine & Liquor Market in Fairfield, CT talks wine with guests


The second course was cured salmon crudo with black olives and blood orange aioli


Matt Davies shows off his knife skills


Antiyal Kuyen Syrah Blend 2011 from Chile


Jorge Perez of T. Edward wines in New York City and Chef Ian


Cheers to a great wine dinner!

 Photos by Mike Lauterborn

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