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Spanish Restaurant Review – Tapas Barcelona

Being that my trip to the States is coming to a rapid close, I decided that there was no better way to spend a beautiful fall evening than visiting one of a handful of Spanish Tapas Restaurants in the Northern suburb of Evanston, Illinois. Squeezed amongst the plethora of high quality international restaurants sits Tapas Barcelona. And although I was unfamiliar with both its menu and atmosphere, I was incredibly excited to not only get a small taste of home, but also experience how Americans choose to express Spanish cuisine.

Wine Retailer – Solo Vino

A few weeks ago, while I was in Minnesota, I made a quick dash into a wine store that I feel is a “must see” for those of you in the Twin Cities. Solo Vino, located in Saint Paul, Minnesota, has been rated one of the best wine stores in the Midwest by both the Minneapolis/Saint Paul Magazine and the City Pages. Founded in 2001 by Sam Haislet, the former sommelier at Zander Café, and Chuck Kanski, another sommelier at places like the Vintage and Pazzaluna, feels as if their intention was to create a liquor store that resembles an incredible restaurant’s wine list.

Bodega Valdamor

Bodega Valdamor produces exclusively from the Albarino grape that has grown on 20 to 50 year old vines from the Salnes area in Galicia. As a result of their desire to pick only the best grapes, they have chosen to not only harvest each plot of grapes by hand, but also vinify each one separately. Although this might sound like a painstaking process when you consider the hilly landscape, it actually isn’t because the vines are typically trained on pergolas (horizontal wires attached to poles allowing the vines to grow up onto them off the floor) to avoid rot that can easily occur in wet and hot environments such as this.

Adega Condes de Albarei

The Condes de Albarei winery is internationally recognized for elaborating their wines with an aromatic, long-standing Albarino grape native to the Salnes Valley in Galicia. Formed by more than 400 partners who own over 170 hectares of vineyards, the winery produces an average of 1.5 million bottles of wine annually.

Martin Codax

What you are looking at here is not your average little winery tucked inside the rolling green hills of Galicia. Martin Codex owns the largest vineyards in the entire DO Rias Baixas wine region, approximately 215 Hectares in total. With the help of the mid Atlantic climate bringing a wet humid climate and Rais Baixes unique soil type, the Albarino grape has thrived, potentially helping Martin Codex become the giant it has.