09 November 2010

josé peña sardine tasting: spring boutique, 75001

One of the many reasons I dig Spring Boutique is they are totally unabashed about their enthusiasm for obscure delicacies, no matter how unmarketable.

Last Wednesday Josh and co. hosted the tinned sardines, mussels, tuna and squid of the José Peña brand, founded in 1920, family run for three generations. Stocked at Harrod's, Galeries Lafayette, Fauchon, etc., it's the only luxury tinned seafood company I know of, at this point, but I should really research this more... 

I have a major weakness for sardines, mackerel, anchovies - any of the oily, reeking, omega-3 intensive fish. During the summertime, along with some beurre au gros sel and a baguette from Comptoir Gana, they constitute my go-to solo bachelor meal. And the José Peña products were indeed pretty extraordinary, particularly the two-year-old sardines* and the little stuffed squids in olive oil. 

But, as I said, I'm easy to please in this regard. In fact just about only thing that charms me about the Monoprix supermarket chain here is their kind of hilariously broad selection of canned sardines, which I feel implies certain salutory things about French society as a whole, that it has not been seized by modern squeamishness and continues to reserve major shelf-space for pungent soft-boned little fish from way low on the food chain. America, by comparison, is stuck in The 'Burbs:  

On the Peña company's recommendation, Josh paired the sardine samples that night with a 2009 Rias Baixas called "O Rosal," the Albariño-based flagship wine of Bodegas Terres Gauda, an estate located near Peña in Galicia. 

This was about as good an Albariño as I've had recently; where most versions are pleasant and springy with light orchard aromas, this had a grander sort of sweep to its lean effervescence, and a sturdy mineral base, above which alternated nice briney / peachy tones. What's more, not being cheap, it isn't really a sideshow wine. So props to Spring or Peña, whoever sprung for the samples.  

My friend T digging the "O Rosal."
*I was actually unaware that sardines could carry vintage labels until I moved to France, and met my landlady's husband, who is something of an afficionado, and who keeps net-bundled caches of vintage-dated sardines from producers he likes stored in various closets and cabinets all around their house. He inverts the bundles every two years (seriously), because apparently when you do this they become confit in their own oil after about a decade. I'm slowly warming to the idea of eating ancient preserved fish, although I've yet to have the pleasure. 

Spring Boutique
52, rue de l'Arbre Sec
75001 PARIS
Metro: Louvre-Rivoli
Tel: 01 58 62 44 30

Related Links: 

Fall Wine Preview Tasting at Spring Boutique
Tasting some Chandon de Briailles samples at Spring Boutique

1 comment:

  1. Ha good call. the exaggerated sound effects of Tom Hanks eating sardines are pretty mind blowing. it literally sounds like someone fisting a bucket full of merde. on a more appetizing note, the spanish are another culture obsessed with luxury canned seafood as seen at the beginning of this episode: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sy4Iq9ekUY