When people ask me what I enjoy doing in my spare time, I always feel like I can sum it up in one statement: I want to live like the Europeans.
I want to dine al fresco, drink wine on the reg, truly enjoy time with the ones I love, take deep breaths, focus on what’s important. This idea of living the European lifestyle has slowly replaced the hustle and bustle of what so many people deem as important. This idea that if you’re someone who’s anyone, you’re always busy, always doing more, sleeping less, working longer hours. I know it’s a millennial thing to say, but I want to enjoy the NOW. I want to live life to its fullest in this moment, not in 40 years when I retire.
So on a random Monday, I invited one of my best babes out for a happy hour to taste some new wine flights and tapas at Jaleo!
If you haven’t been to Jaleo yet, I’d just go ahead and stop reading this and go there now because it’s so SO good. It’s an authentic tapas-style eatery with food from Spain that won a Bib Gourmand from the 2017 DC Michelin Guide. As a Greek whos entire life essentially centers around food, gathering with friends, and eating, it’s everything I could want in a restaurant.
We started off our friend date with their Rueda and Ribera del Duero wine flight. It might sound cheesy, but drinking them sort of brought me to another place… I felt European, like I was sitting seaside with a glass of wine, the hot sun shining on my face.
The Spanish wines served in the flight are from the wine regions of Rueda and Ribera del Duero. Verdejo wines from Rueda are vibrant and complex, yet effortlessly drinkable. This was my favorite wine of the flight! They’re a bit like a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, so if those are your go-to’s, you’ll love the Rueda Verdejo varietal. And, if that doesn’t convince you that you must try this wine, Verdejo from Rueda is the top selling white wine from Spain.
If you’re into the chemistry and climate of the wine (which I always am), the region of Rueda is home to 69 wineries clustered on the plateau of Castilla y Leon at a high altitude of about 2,300-2,600 feet above sea level. The difficult growing environment, mineral-filled gravel soils, and abundance of sunshine help create a crisp, full body and high acidity in the region’s white wines.
As for the Ribera del Duero Tempranillo, it reminds me of a cabernet sauvignon or pinot noir (two of my favorites!). It pairs well with heartier meals like steak (for all you meat eaters) or lentil soup (for me!). This medium-bodied wine has the yummiest explosion of blueberry and black fruit, licorice, graphite and subtle oak.
Lastly, the rose (named Rosa after the vintner’s mother) is definitely something I want to drink all summer long. It has notes of cherry and raspberry, and after drinking it, I already knew I’d need to make another trip back to Jaleo for another tasting!
As for the food at Jaleo, they served us the most interesting dishes from Spain. The bread they served was literally shipped fresh from Spain -it’s incredible! We also enjoyed the Tortilla de Patatas (a Spanish omelette with potatoes and onions), the Pan de cristal con tomate y queso Manchego Pasamontes (which is toasted slices of uniquely crispy and ethereal bread brushed with fresh tomato and Manchego cheese), the Endibias con queso de cabra y naranja (endives, goat cheese, oranges, and almond - one of my favorite tapas we tried!), and the brussel sprout salad, which was outrageously delicious.
I need to learn to make it so I can eat it every day for the rest of my life - it was SO good. But my most surprising dish came in the form of a liquid olive. If you find yourself at Jaleo, you must try it. It’s served in a spoon, and looks like a solid…however, upon eating it, you find it bursting in your mouth. I don’t even LOVE olives, but this tapa took the cake for me. It was amazing. And in classic Spanish style, we finished off the meal with their incredible flan (one of the best I’ve ever tasted!)
Have you visited Jaleo before? If you haven’t yet (or if you’re visiting again soon), be sure to show them my blog post. Because if you do, you’ll get a complimentary treat from the chef when you order the Rueda and Ribera del Duero wine flight! If you’re not local and want to try one of the wines in our flight, you can find Rueda Verdejo on wine.com - and even better:
This post was sponsored by Rueda Wine and all opinions are my own!