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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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This Old Wine

Spain's #1 Source for Old Wine

R. López de Heredia 2003 Viña Gravonia Blanco Rioja Crianza ($20) and 1998 Viña Tondonia Blanco Rioja Reserva ($38)

You don't have to be a hoarder or deep-pocketed auction-goer to drink well-aged wine. Here, we spotlight affordable old bottles to buy now.

R. López de Heredia 2003 Viña Gravonia Blanco Rioja Crianza ($20) and 1998 Viña Tondonia Blanco Rioja Reserva ($38): López de Heredia is no secret. It's long been a favorite of sommeliers and wine geeks, and with good reason. In the largely modernized Rioja region, this 136-year-old winery makes exceptionally good wines in a very traditional style and ages them longer than others do. López de Heredia's entire output—hundreds of thousands of bottles in most years—is sent to stores with significant age. (The 2003, from the Gravonia vineyard, is the producer's youngest white currently available.) As a source for reliable old wine that isn't so rare, López de Heredia should be on any wine drinker's radar.

The (Wonderful) Effects of Age: Because of slow exposure to small amounts of oxygen over years of aging in large oak barrels, López de Heredia's whites tend to have sherry-like qualities. Both the 2003 and 1998 bottlings are complex whites that smell a bit like almonds and dried fruit and taste slightly savory and olive-y. But they're otherwise very different. The Gravonia has a fresh, pineappley quality. The mellower Tondonia has scents of straw and honey, and its palate is loaded with flavors of hazelnuts and minerals.

Drink it With: These wines are at their best alongside salty Spanish snacks like Marcona almonds and Manchego cheese. The Tondonia would be an especially profound partner for Ibérico ham.

Where to Buy: Gravonia: Stirling Fine Wines. (Find more stores.)
Tondonia: Wine Library. (Find more stores.)

Related: Spanish Wine Country Travel Guide
Wine 101: Rioja & Tempranillo
A Lush, Lemony White That Spent 7 Years Underground

Supermarket Sleuth

Delicious Tzatziki in a Pouch

F&W food editors apply their incredible cooking knowledge to explaining what to do with a variety of interesting ingredients.

Tzatziki is one of the most delicious and refreshing Mediterranean sauces—a blend of sour cream or yogurt, grated cucumbers, parsley, dill, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. The tzatziki in a pouch from Le Grand is just as fresh-tasting and balanced as one you would make yourself. It’s a great secret weapon to have in the fridge at the ready—for serving as a sauce for shrimp, salmon, grilled chicken or lamb; for tossing with cubed avocados and tomatoes or chopped crunchy vegetables for an instant salad; or for serving alone as a dip, with crackers or potato chips and a side of olives.

Related: Fantastic Greek Recipes
Excellent Party Dips
Fast Hors d'Oeuvres

F&W Confessions

Have Cheese, Will Travel

We all have them. Closeted culinary skeletons. Until now we've kept them locked up, afraid to share these disturbing realities with the world. But F&W is a safe place. This is where we let go of some of our inner demons and hope that you'll do the same.

"I'm addicted to grated Pecorino Romano cheese. I'd be torn if there wasn't a container constantly in my fridge. I've even been known to travel with my own cheese."F&W Test Kitchen assistant Gina Mungiovi

Need to get something off of your chest? Head over to Twitter and share your tales of food snobbery and lowbrow culinary obsessions using #FWConfessions. We'll share our favorites and won't judge.

Have some Pecorino of your own at home? Check out these cheesy recipes:

Braised Peas with Prosciutto
Pepper and Pecorino Bucatini with Pancetta
Pecorino and Pepper Broccoli Rabe with Sausage

Related: Delicious Cheese Recipes
Amazing Grilled Cheese
Fantastic Mac and Cheese

Dr. Vino's Verdict

Wine and Spice Don't Have to Fight

Ever wondered where the experts stand on the best wine practices and controversies? In this series, wine blogger, teacher and author Tyler Colman (a. k. a. Dr. Vino) delivers a final judgement.

Don’t you think spicy foods taste best with sweet, low-alcohol wines? Because alcohol amplifies heat, a fiery dish with a high alcohol wine is the culinary equivalent of a shouting match. To tame the heat in spicy foods, try a white with low alcohol and a little sweetness, for instance a Spätlese Riesling or demi-sec Vouvray.

Related: Wine 101: Riesling
Spicy Recipes
America's Best Riesling

Food & Games

F&W's Fantasy Top Chef Draft

For most of America, this is football season. But for F&W, it’s Top Chef season—the 11th to be exact, and it premieres on Bravo tonight at 10/9c. Along with the usual array of nail-biting and craving-inducing challenges, this New Orleans-based run promises a slew of great celebrity cameos from fried chicken-fanatic Questlove to Cajun cooking master Paul Prudhomme.

Exciting as the show is going to be, we're raising the stakes for viewers this year with F&W's Fantasy Top Chef. This roster ranks contestants based on work experience, cooking style and wild card extras ranging from great hair to Shih Tzu ownership. Here’s more on our algorithm >>

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Join celebrity chefs, renowned winemakers and epicurean insiders at the culinary world’s most spectacular weekend, the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 20-22.