Get ready to rock a Rioja wine this Summer! We are suggesting two Spanish wines from Rioja that are really reasonably priced and are ready to drink now. They’ll be the hit of your next party, virtual or not!
What Is Rioja?
Rioja is one of, if not the most popular Spanish wine in the United States. This red blend comes from the Rioja region of Spain, which is located on the southern slopes of the Pyrenees Mountains, in northern Spain.
The wine a blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano grapes, but the dominant varietal is Tempranillo. This grape is indigenous to Spain and is the country’s most planted varietal.
Unlike many strong red wine grapes, Tempranillo has a relatively neutral profile and can take on the character of the blending varietals, and particularly of the oak that it is matured in.
How to Age Rioja
The bodegas (wineries) in Spain tend to age Rioja in both American and French Barrels. They can often hold their wine for a very long time.
Traditionally, bodegas aged the reds for 15-20 years, however, more recently top wines typically age for 4 to 6 years. This helps give Rioja its vanilla and spicy flavors which mix well with the plum and strawberry notes from the Tempranillo.
We recently sampled a Rioja from The Viña Real winery, part of Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España (CVNE), a family winery which was founded in 1879 in Haro, Spain.
The wine, Vina Real Crianza (2016: $17.00) was dark purple (almost black) in color, with a fruity nose of black and blueberries, cherry, and a bit of tobacco.
Tasting this wine, we thought it was almost tangy on the front part of the palate, with a mid-palate featuring fruits including plum and berries. But the wine was fast on the finish with a bit of licorice at the end.
As with most wines, it is a good bet that Rioja will pair well with foods from the region. In this case, look to grilled meats like lamb and pork.
In fact, most lamb and pork dishes will pair well with Rioja. This is also a great wine for bar-b-que meats, chili, and even Mexican foods.
With summer upon us, many people look to Rose wines as a way to beat the heat. The Spanish version of Rose is called Rosado. Rosados from the Rioja wine region are well-regarded and are a good value on the market.
They are typically made from Garnacha. However, the CVNE Rosado that we sampled next to the fire pit with friends was 100 percent Tempranillo.
Cune Rosado (2019: $13.00) was cherry red in color, with a sweet floral nose featuring violets and white flowers. The palate had a solid degree of minerality, with notes of plum, apricot and stonefruits. As with the Rioja, there was a bit of sweet licorice on the finish.
Like its darker red brother, this wine will pair well with lamb, pork and bar-b-que, including chicken bar-b-ques. But strong Mediterranean fish, like anchovies, or even a salade Niçoise would also pair extremely well,
Ready to Rock a Rioja?
When shopping, you will discover that these two wines are incredibly reasonably priced and are ready to drink now. For more information, contact Arano USA at: www.aranousa.com, and for more about the Rioja region contact link to rioja wine