Flavors of Spain and India Match in California

There are so many good wines coming out of Spain these days that it is like the Discovery Channel for wine buffs.  The Chef and The Wine Guy recently went to a tasting of wines from Galicia, the region of northwestern Spain, often called ‘green Spain.’ Galicia is home to cool climate grapes, especially the Albriño, which is the principal grape of Rias Baixas, a denomination of origin (DO) in Galicia.

The tasting was at Dosa, the Indian restaurant on Fillmore Street in San Francisco. There is another Dosa on Valencia in La Mission. Both have outstanding wine lists as well as marvelous South Indian dishes.   The tasting of a dozen wines from Rias Baixas was led by Yoon Ha, a Master Sommelier who is the wine director at Benu restaurant in San Francisco, and Todd Smith, a sommelier and wine director at both Dosa restaurants.

Ann Walker Catering has often featured Indian cuisine at events (see our website for a sample Indian menu and below for a recipe). It was a real breakthrough for the Wine Guy to see how well the Albariño paired with the flavors of a sampling of Indian tapas served with the wines  The Chef was not so surprised, but even she admitted that the tasting opened up new possibilities for future event menus.  At this time, when there is talk about limiting or banning immigration in the US, it was also interesting to experience the flavors of Spain and India coming together in a California setting.

There may be a message there.  There is an old wine adage: water separates people, wine brings them together.  We all come together at the table, with food and wine.

The Wines

Outstanding wines tasted included Martin Codax, Pazo de Señorans, Mar de Frades, Bodegas Viona, Valmiñor, Pazo San Mauro, Veiga Naum, Condes de Albsarei, Lasgar da Condesa, Paco & Lola, Quinta Couselo Bodegas As Laxas.  The Wine Guy liked them all, especially the Martin Codax and the Paco & Lolo. The Chef thought the Mar de Frades and Bodegas Vionta were especially good matches with the food.

In general, the wines showed aromas of citrus, peach, pear and green apple with an occasional whiff of apricot. The wines were dry, with good acidity to carry the flavors and racy minerality on the finish. They showed very little to no oak.  Also very reasonably priced, mostly under $20.

Mini Medu Vada

(Recipe by Jeff Block, chef de cuisine at Ann Walker Catering.)

Makes 30 servings


1 Cup Urad Dal (soaked overnight)

1 Serrano Chili (minced)

½ Tsp. Black Peppercorns (lightly crushed)

½ Tsp. Cumin Seeds (lightly crushed)

2 T. Curry Leaves and/or Cilantro (Chopped)

1 “  Ginger Root (peeled and minced)

Salt to taste

Oil for Frying

1. Drain and rinse Dal and place in Food Processor

2. Grind to a smooth, thick paste.   Work a couple of minutes to make fluffy.

3. Add remaining Ingredients and pulse just to combine.

4. To form small doughnuts taking a walnut size lump of the batter and make a hole in center with a finger.

5. Fry at 350 F degree oil until crisp and golden brown





Leave a Reply