Jaleo may be more well known for its sangria and its variety of gin and tonic cocktails than for its wine. However, the Spanish tapas mainstay of José Andrés has always offered a strong selection of Spanish wines as well.
Now, the restaurant must have figured that it’s time to honor that by showcasing an array of handpicked Spanish wines during the new Monday Night Flight series at its Bethesda location. With Monday Night Flights, diners will receive four unique Spanish wines from a particular Spanish region or of a particular Spanish variety.
The current offering is Txakoli wines made in the Basque Country, 85% of which is produced in the regions of Getariako, Bizkaiko and Alava. Txakoli wines prominently feature Hondarribi Zuri grapes (Zuri means “white” in Basque), while red wines from the region feature Hondarribi Beltza (“black”) grapes, and rose Txakoli consists of half of each.
The four Txakoli wines in the current Monday Night Flights included one rose, two whites and one red. The first three tended towards light, crisp and dry with a bit of sparkle, perfectly cutting into the rich flavors of paired dishes including Pan Con Tomate with Manchego cheese, a plate of Jamon Iberico, and luscious chicken croquets with a gooey, cheesy interior.
The red was light but with powerful flavor and a touch of spice, and paired well with heartier dishes such as their classic Tortilla de Patatas and their homemade chorizo with olive oil potato puree.
So it’s easy to mix and match with your wine flight and Jaleo’s go-to tapas. However, the restaurant is also featuring two unique paella plates specially made to pair with the wine flights as well.
Information sheets are provided for each of the wines, and for the variety and/or region being featured. So it’s a great opportunity to try several notable, high quality wines which may otherwise pass beneath your radar at once, while gaining an education about them and their characteristics as well. It’s also, perhaps coincidentally, reminiscent of Jaleo Bethesda’s new neighbor and competitor, Vino Volo, a wine bar known for its wine flights with attached descriptions.
Jaleo will also be holding its 11th Annual Paella Festival on July 29 through August 11 at all three D.C. area locations. The event will showcase a variety of unique paellas, including Arroz Iberico, a paella featuring acorn fed Iberico pork ribs and artichokes.
You probably don’t need much of an excuse to head down to Jaleo and enjoy some paella and a few tapas, but if you’re looking for some extra motivation and enjoy trying and learning about new wines, then Monday Night Flights will be a sure thing.