Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Pairing Sherry with Food

Happy International Sherry Week!  And what a better way to pay homage to Sherry than by exploring how to pair the different styles with food. 

If you are a new reader visiting the blog for the first time, and you don’t know what Sherry is, I recommend you to brush up by reading my previous posts on Sherry

 

1) Manzanilla and Fino Sherries (biological aged Sherries) and 

2) Amontillado, Palo Cortado, Oloroso and PX (oxidative aged Sherries). These two posts will help you understand, discover and enjoy these delicious fortified wines.


But first and the most important thing when matching Sherry is to be aware that Sherry is a very complex wine that has 307 molecular aromatic compounds (more than any other wine) and these aromatics are going to be key when choosing what foods to match with them.  In Spain, in Jerez, to be more precise, there’s a saying: 

“If it swims (fish/ seafood), match it with a Manzanilla or Fino”. Manzanilla and Fino are the lightest, more delicate styles of Sherry and are always dry. 

“If it flies (chicken/poultry), match it with an Amontillado”. Amontillados have aromatic notes of both aging processes: biological and oxidative. They can be dry or medium. 

And finally,“If it walks (pigs, cows, sheep) match it with an Oloroso”. Olorosos are aged only oxidatively, have bigger textures and are more flavorful. They are mostly dry, since when they are sweet they are called Cream Sherries. 

Traditionally, in Spain, Sherry is normally served with Tapas (appetizers at no extra cost). I still remember when I was there, when $1 Euro would buy me a serving of Manzanilla or Fino with potato chips and olives. Other Tapas also cost $1 Euro per serving; what a feast it was to try all these delicious appetizers (pinchos), cheeses, Potato tortilla matched with a different copita of Sherry! If you live in the tri-state area, I recommend you to visit Mercado Little Spain, the place to taste and buy some of the best tapas (as well as cheese, ham and olives) in the US.  

That said, Sherry can be served with so much more than Marcona almonds or Manchego cheese, the lightest styles for example; the Manzanilla and Fino sherries that naturally have notes of iodine, seaweed, saltiness, almonds and yeast extract in their aromatic profiles are a great match with all types of umami foods such as sushi (my favorite), poke, prawns, fried shrimps, calamari, fish and chips, cold soups like gazpacho, oysters and green salads. Match your Fino, either regular, en rama (which means with minimum fining or filtering) or Pasado, (which is slightly oxidized), with cured hams or other cured meats like Chorizo, all types of croquettes and turnovers (empanadillas), vinegary appetizers, especially olives, white anchovies and mini onions, grilled sardines, mojama (which is salted cured tuna), stuffed piquillo peppers, Mahi Mahi or flounder in garlic or butter sauce, grilled octopus and seafood Paella.  

 

Match your Amontillado and Palo Cortado that have notes of caramel, bruised apple, nuts and soy aromas with teriyaki dishes, including tuna, duck or pork, caramelized dishes such as onion or leek tarts, roasted pork, braised artichokes, sauteed or grilled mushrooms and onions, grilled fish such as tuna, barbecue ribs and matured hard cheeses. Amontillado Sherry can also be used to dress up sauces or soups, adding an extra wow to your recipe; I confess to often adding a touch of Amontillado to my pumpkin or carrot soups.  

 

Oloroso Sherries that show roasted walnuts, cinnamon, vanilla, maple syrup and toffee notes can match with bigger and more flavorful dishes such as pulled pork sandwiches, steaks (lamb, beef and duck) morcilla (black pudding), hearty stews like oxtails in tomato sauce, even roasted game like Thanksgiving Turkey! Amontillado or Oloroso Sherry will be a great pairing to your Thanksgiving feast, since its spiciness will match with all your sweet and savory side dishes. 

Always keep in mind that in the case of the Olorosos, that go through oxidative aging, the flavors of the wines will concentrate even further, during aging, making these wines even more intense, and it's their intensity that will allow a match with hearty/ big dishes.  

 

Now, if you are like me, (someone who drinks sweet Sherries in the winter) whether these are Cream, Medium Cream or Pale cream, besides drinking them on its own, you can pair them with foie gras or blue cheese for a classic sweet/ salty combination, and of course with all types of desserts including chocolate based cakes and cookies, cinnamon buns, pecan pies, walnut cakes, baklava (my favorite), sweet potato pie, etc.   

Sweet and floral Moscatel Sherries that have a delicious orange peel, honey and quince aromas will match very well with any orange/ citrus flavored cakes, pies, creamy fruit tarts, flan or crème brûlée. And finally PX, which is the most luscious sherry of all styles and thick as a syrup, showing prune, dates and chocolate notes, will be a good match to ice cream or on vanilla ice cream as they have it in Spain, dark bitter chocolate, tiramisu, sticky toffee pudding or churros (Spanish fritters). 


To better enjoy these wines serve them as follows:

Serve Manzanilla and Finos at the same temperature you would serve any white wine, or at 41º- 45º F. Pale cream (sweetened Fino) should be served at 44º- 48º F. Amontillado, Palo Cortado and Oloroso, can be served warmer, at 53º- 58º F. Consume Manzanilla and Fino within 3 to 4 days after opening. The oxidative sherries can last a bit longer, actually the more exposed to oxygen they are, the longer they can last, but no more than 2 weeks, keep them in the fridge or use a Repour stopper to keep it for longer.


My recommendations include 3 of my favorite sherries of all time, that you can find anywhere in the US!

 

Tio Pepe Fino Sherry, $16.99

Made from 100 % Palomino Fino grapes grown on Albariza soils, sourced from the Carrascal and Macharnudo vineyards. The wine undergoes its aging under flor in the Solera system for an average of 4 years. 

Elegant and dry Fino, showing blanched almonds and green olive notes. Nice bracing finish!


Williams & Humbert, Dry Sack Medium Sherry, $18.99

A blend of Palomino Fino and PX grapes, this wine was aged in the 

Solera system for 6 years. Seductive off-dry sherry, showing exotic roasted walnuts, cinnamon, golden raisin and toffee notes. Delish!


Lustau East India Solera Cream Sherry $27.99

A blend of Palomino Fino and PX grapes, this wine was aged in a Solera system for a minimum of 15 years. Sweet sherry showing molasses, rum raisin and chocolate notes, WOW! outstanding.

 


So, isn't it time you explore the world of Sherry? Cheers! Silvina

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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Tips to help you identify your favorite Wine Styles!

One of the reasons I started blogging about wine almost three years ago was to help you, my dear reader, not only to learn a bit more about wine, but also to help you identify what wines you like and what you don’t like and should avoid!

We have to agree there’s nothing more frustrating than to buy a bottle of wine and after tasting it, realizing it was not what you hoped for! I always say thank God for tastings! they happen, so that we can get a sip before we decide and in a way start filling our mental wine library/ bank. So, next time you see a person with a few bottles opened at your favorite wine store, go ahead and stop for 5 minutes and try whatever they are offering, maybe there’s a jewel there waiting to be discovered.

But the truth is, there’s so much wine on the shelves, even if you have the money and time, it’s going to be extremely difficult to taste all of it. And even if you do taste a lot, the next step is identifying the different wine styles you like. I suppose in life it is the same, you need to know what you want first, in order to pursue it!

Hopefully, this classification below will help shed some light into the sea of wine labels you encounter in stores and online. Some of which have been smart enough to classify their bottles by style, instead of by grape or country, like most retailers do. 

Now, the elements in wine play an important role here when talking about styles, since they vary and connect differently. Fruitiness can vary from nonexistent to mild, from balanced or too intense or concentrated, acidity can go from low, medium or high, body can be light, medium or full (alcohol plays an important role here) and oakiness might be present or not. In the case of the reds, we need to add one more element which is tannin. Tannins can go from non-existent to mild and smooth, or super tannic (harsh). Of course each variety has their own character/aroma profile and depending on climate the same grape could smell/ taste differently, a Chardonnay could be very tropical in warm/ hot locations:  and will show pineapple, guava, passion fruit notes or in a cool climate it could show citrus, lemon, green apple notes. 

To make things easier I created this classification below. I also took the time to explain some of the terms too. 
Once upon a time when I used to coordinate and pour at in-store tastings, the two questions I always asked to all customers that walked through the door were: Do you want to taste my wines? Followed by which wines do you like or normally drink? This helped me identify whether the person in front of me would like or wouldn't like what I was serving.

So, are you ready? Let’s play the game, If you like...? You should fill out with one of the categories below, to obtain your answer.

First, Whites: 
*Bone-dry, mineral and neutral whites: You like whites that are usually light in body with high acidity, no oak and kind of neutral with light aromatic character, some notes they may show: almond, hazelnut, lemon and pear flavors. Then go for: Muscadet, Pinot Grigio, Soave, Orvieto, Airén, Aligoté, Pinot Blanc, Gavi,Verdicchio.

*Green, tangy whites: You are like me! We have the same wine taste. You like crisp and refreshing whites, with herbaceous, vegetal notes: green pepper, peas, asparagus, fresh grass, minerality and citrus (lemon, lime) notes, good acidity here too. Then go for: Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Verdejo, Gruner Veltliner, dry Riesling.

*Aromatic whites with intense fruit or floral notes: I also love this style, especially as an aperitif or with spicy foods. You like wines with intense fruit or floral notes (lychees, roses, apricot, peach). They could be light to medium bodied, usually without oak. Then go for: Viognier, Riesling, Albariño,Muscat, Torrontés, Moschofilero, Gewurztraminer.

*Bold whites with nutty notes: nutty notes come from oak, it could be a touch like in Burgundian Chardonnay or a lot like in CA Chardonnay. But also, these are the biggest whites of the spectrum so expect: plenty of body and fruit here. If you close your eyes, it will be almost as if you are tasting a red. Then go for: good quality Burgundy Chardonnay, and Chardonnay from warm climates: California, Australia, Spain, these will have more oaky flavors.

Now Reds:
*Delicate and velvety reds: then you like wines that are light to medium bodied with strawberry, raspberry, cranberry or other red fruit flavors. Light on tannin and mellow. Then go for my favorite red grape: Pinot Noir! from anywhere in the world, but Burgundy if you have $$$$, if not Oregon, California or Chile.

*Juicy fruity reds: here I include two categories, fruit forward and fun like Beaujolais (banana, bubble gum notes) and young Garnacha/Grenache (strawberry, raspberry) or mouthwatering, with light to medium bodies, high acidity and refreshing, featuring red or black fruits and some herbaceous notes.  Then go for light Italian reds, with solid acidity: Chianti, Barbera, Dolcetto, Valpolicella.

*Spicy warm reds: I like these because they have plenty of fruit aromatics and spice, but also a bit of structure from tannin from grapes or oak. These are usually medium to full bodied, some featuring black pepper, chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla, clove or other spicy notes. Then go for: Syrah, Malbec, Carmenere, Pinotage, Zinfandel, Tempranillo (Rioja, Ribera del Duero, reserva and gran reserva).

*Bold and Intense reds: these are big big big! Tannic, with concentrated black fruitiness (blackberry, plum, black cherry), full bodied and with oak. I like to call them A Powerbomb! These are the biggest reds of the spectrum! these you age for a long time. Go for: Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, Barolo, Barbaresco, Douro, Priorat, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Uruguayan Tannat.

Now Rosé: they can be fruit forward or dry.
*Fruity Rosé: with some rs (residual sugar) go to White Zinfandel or any rosé from the New World, where there’s plenty of sun and the grapes get riper, for example Portuguese,Argentinean, Chilean, Australian. They will feature aromas of watermelon, strawberry, ginger.

*Dry Rosé: is on the other hand more serious, crisp and refreshing sometimes mineral. Tons of complexity here! Then, go for Provence, Languedoc, Navarra and Rioja rosés.

Finally Dessert Styles:
*Golden and sweet wines:these are rich, full of honey, dry apricot and quince flavors. Most of them made from botrytis affected grapes. These are sweet and delicious to have as dessert or with dessert. Go for Sauternes, Quarts de Chaume, Alsace SGN or VT, German Riesling BA or TBA,Hungarian Tokaji or Canadian Ice Wines.
 
*Warm, fortified wines: if you like these, you like high alcohol, full bodied dessert wines that can taste of molasses, chocolate, raisins, prunes, dates,brown sugar, caramel, toffee, some have been oxidized. Then, go for Port, Madeira and sweet Sherries (Oloroso, PX).
  
I probably omitted a style or two, but this post should be the beginning for you my Dear Winos and a sample of everything that is out there. Now, what are you waiting for? go discover more! Cheers! Silvina.
 

 

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Tuesday, October 12, 2021

More Top Spanish Wine Regions: Ribera del Duero!

Located in the province of Castilla León in Spain, Ribera del Duero is about 100 miles drive north of Madrid. It's much smaller than Rioja and has about 21,000 hectares dedicated to vineyards, all of which are located in the valleys surrounding the Duero river. This river, the second most important of Spain, runs from the province of Soria and moves west across the meseta (high plateau of central Spain) ending its trajectory in Portugal (where it is known as Douro, producing ports and very good dry reds there). 



Ribera del Duero
is known mostly for its delicious and robust reds and like Riojas, these are made from the same grape variety:Tempranillo, known here as Tinto Fino.  Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec are also allowed, but only in small quantities; since each wine must have, by law, a minimum of 75% Tempranillo/Tinto Fino in the blend. 

The climate of Ribera del Duero is continental with very hot summers, easily reaching up to 100º Fahrenheit during the day. Temperatures however, go down at night due to altitude, that plays a very important role here. Most vineyards are planted higher than in Rioja too, between 2,500- 3,000 feet. Ribera del Duero is also much warmer, producing reds that are usually more extracted, luscious, and ripe, I normally describe them as “Tempranillo on Vitamins”, their power and concentration come mostly from very old vines, some of which are between 50 to 80+ years old.  

There are two types of soils in Ribera del Duero, near the river, we find marl, riverbed stones and sediments and on the slopes, limestone, and clay. The river has an enormous impact in the whole area, especially during the Spring, when it moderates temperatures, keeping the area warm and preventing frosts that otherwise will seriously affect yields. 


Like Riojas, Ribera del Duero wines are aged in oak and bottle before release and are classified in the following categories:

* Joven: without any oak aging.

* Crianza: one year in oak and one in a bottle.

* Reservas: 3 years minimum, with 1 year in oak, the rest in a bottle.

* Gran Reservas 5 years minimum with 2 years in oak and the rest in a bottle. Keep in mind that most producers can/will choose to age for much longer times. Aging used to happen in American oak, but nowadays more and more wineries are choosing French oak or a mix of both.


Stylistically, Ribera del Duero wines are super elegant and long lived, they have full bodies, with nice acidity and structure. Their typical aromas are blackberry, black cherry, plum and dried fig. With aging, they show tobacco, dill, coffee, game and leather notes. 

Over 300 wineries make wines in this region. Some of which are very expensive; a clear example is the Vega Sicilia Unico, whose current vintage costs $500 + per bottle; it is by far one of the best reds of Spain, a collectible item and a treat we all should taste in our lifetimes. Other top producers are Alejandro Fernández (Pesquera) and Peter Sisseck (Pingus & Hacienda Monasterio), whose wines impress wine lovers at all price levels. In general, this region produces incredible quality wines, and it’s so much more than "the other Tempranillo appellation", it has a well deserved reputation of its own, which has translated into more and more brands becoming widely available in the US. 


My recommendations: 

I had the pleasure of receiving a bountiful of Ribera del Duero samples, and many from wineries I didn’t know. Though, I must warn you, in general, Riberas are a bit more expensive than Riojas, but so worthwhile! Here are some of my favorites that I have tasted recently: 

 

Barco de Piedra 2019, $18.99

Bodegas Aster Crianza 2015, $20.99

Dominio Fournier Crianza 2016, $29.99 

Finca La Capilla Crianza 2016, $32.99

Torre d' Goblan Crianza 2016, $34.99

Dominio de Ateuta 2015, $34.99

JC Vizcarra 2014, $34.99

Protos Reserva 2014, $34.99

Dominio Fournier Reserva 2014, $49.99

Protos Gran Reserva 2014, $54.99

 



Once again thanks to all producers and importers for the samples and to the CRDO Ribera del Duero/ Riberaruedawine.com for the map. 

Cheers! Silvina

#thoughtsoflawina #spanishwines #winesfromspain #tempranillo #tintofino #riberadelduero. 

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Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Aromas of our favorite grapes!

Hello Wine Nerds! Oh you know who you are! I’m writing to you, to those that like to impress people,  every time you taste a wine. You like swirling your wine in your glass and start talking about aromatics, while the rest of us stay there wondering… is my nose working correctly? All I smell is wine... Of course, there is no problem with your nose! All you need to do is to train it, and this is done by smelling, and not only wine, but by smelling fruits, flowers, soils, foods, etc. 

But to help you with this task, I decided to create this cheat sheet by grape, so you too can impress your friends. Though, I always mention the flavor profile of each grape that I write about, this info is also ideal if you are learning about wine or writing tasting notes. 


Reds: 

Cabernet Sauvignon: black currant, cassis, violets, black cherry, cigar box, cedar wood, green bell pepper (when unripe), tobacco, mint (especially Cabs from Australia)

Merlot: plums, fruit cake, black cherry, blueberry damson, cloves, bay leaf, chocolate

Gamay: cherries, bubble gum, banana, pomegranate, peony

Shiraz/ Syrah: black pepper, blueberry, black licorice, leather, smoke, mulberry, milk chocolate, tobacco

Cabernet Franc: red currants, cherries, strawberries,  grass and green leaves, green pepper, pencil shavings

Pinot Noir:  strawberries, cherries, earth compost/forest floor, gamey meat, truffles, mushroom

Nebbiolo: tar, roses, violets, leather, truffles

Grenache: raspberries,  strawberries jam, leather, dried herbs

Zinfandel: blackberries, prunes, raisins, tobacco, cinnamon, dried figs

Sangiovese: red cherries, oregano, tomato jam, vanilla, balsamic

Tempranillo: strawberries, red cherries,  plum jam, tobacco, dill

Mourvèdre: blackberries, tobacco, licorice, cocoa

Malbec: blackberry, damson, violet, tobacco, cocoa

Petit Verdot: plum, black cherry,  pepper, licorice, violet 

Pinotage: mulberry, blackberry, black cherry, menthol

 

Whites:

Chardonnay: butter, apple (green and yellow), peach,  pineapple, vanilla, lemon, lime 

Sauvignon Blanc: gooseberries, grass, green pepper, passion fruit, grapefruit

Semillon: lanolin, honey, egg custard, peach 

Chenin Blanc: yellow apple, grapefruit, honey, orange, quince

Riesling: petrol, lime, green apples, jasmine, honey

Gewurztraminer: lychees, roses, ginger

Viognier: apricots, peach, rose, tangerine

Pinot Gris/Grigio: honey, pear, yellow apple

 


 

Well, isn't it time to open a few bottles and put our skills to the test? Let me know how it went.


Here are two Chilean recommendations from Global Vineyards.

Escarlata Pinot Noir 2020, expressive red features black cherry, wild herbs and strawberry notes, with smooth tannins. This is ideal for the current fall weather, that is not too hot or too cold.

Escarlata Chardonnay 2020, full bodied and creamy white shows pineapple, peach and almond notes. Both are a great value @ only $12 each.


Until next time. Cheers! Silvina


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Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Rioja: Land of Great Reds!

Rioja is to Spain what Napa is to the US, it's by far the most important wine appellation, and though many great wines are produced in other D.Os, for centuries great quality Spanish wines came from only two places: Rioja and Jerez/Sherry

Rioja is located to the north east of Madrid, and south of the Basque country. This wine appellation or as we say in Spanish” Denominación de Origen Calificada”, covers three provinces, part of Navarra in the South, part of the Basque Country (Alava) in the north and the province of Rioja itself. All the vineyards are located along both sides of the Ebro River, plus you also have the influence of the Cantabrian Mountains (Sierras) in the north creating special conditions ideal to grow vines.

Rioja is divided into 3 subzones, Rioja Alavesa and Alta to the north and Rioja Baja or Oriental to the south. Soils are different in each subzone, they are mostly clay, and limestone in the north and clay and alluvial in the south. The climate varies too, being much cooler in the north where the influence of the Atlantic Ocean is felt, while in the south (Rioja Baja) is warmer, almost Mediterranean and with less rain. Altitude plays a very important role here, with most of the vineyards planted between 300-600 m or up to almost 2,000 feet. I strongly believe that this special combination of limestone soils, altitude and the Atlantic influence is what gives Rioja wines their unbelievable elegance.

Something very particular of Rioja is that it was inspired and founded by the Bordelais that flew from France after oidium and phylloxera devastated the French vineyards. The Bordeaux influence is easy to see, since most Rioja wines are blends like in Bordeaux. In the case of reds, these are mostly made from Tempranillo (the most important grape of Spain) with small percentages of Mazuelo, Graciano, Maturana and Garnacha (Grenache). Some wineries are also allowed the addition of Cabernet Sauvignon to their blends, resulting in more structured reds, such as the Marqués de Riscal Baron de Chirel.
The whites are mostly blends of Viura with Malvasía, but other white varieties are also allowed: Tempranillo Blanco, Sauvignon Blanc, Verdejo, Garnacha Blanca, Chardonnay and Torrontes. Rioja also produces very affordable and juicy Rosados (rosés), which are made mostly of Garnacha or Tempranillo.

Yet, the core of Rioja is their great quality reds. The other important Bordelais influence is the aging that each wine undergoes by law. Riojas have been traditionally aged, since the very beginning, when Manuel Quintano in 1780 began maturing all wines in oak. On those days, the aging happened in large oak casks but later producers switched to small bordelais barriques (225L). The difference is that in Rioja, wines are usually aged for longer periods of time, as we may see below, while in Bordeaux most wines are aged for an average of 2-3 years before release.

According to their aging, wines can be divided as follows:
Joven (without any oak aging), most of these are consumed domestically (in Spain) not much is imported to the U.S. These are juicy reds made with carbonic maceration.
Crianza: for reds the minimum aging is 2 years, 1 of which is spent in oak and 1 year in the bottle, while whites are aged for a year, with 6 months minimum in oak.
Reserva: the reds are aged for 3 years, 1 of which must be in oak. Whites are aged for 2 years, with 6 months in oak.
and Gran Reserva: the reds are aged for 2 years in oak and 3 years in a bottle, while whites are aged for a total of 4 years, with a minimum of 6 months in oak.  

These periods of aging are just the minimum by law, in fact most wineries age their wines for much longer, making Rioja wines, the longest aged wines before release produced in the world. I strongly recommend you to try old Gran Reservas and to compare the same wine with recent releases, to see the difference. You will see how the wine evolves, the longer it stays on the bottle, developing earthy, savory notes of dry tobacco, leather, ink and forest floor.
Once upon a time, Rioja producers' favorite oak was American, the typical coconut notes of this oak matched beautifully with the red fruits provided by Tempranillo and was a given clue when tasting these wines blind, but in the last 20 years or so more and more Rioja is aged in Slovakian and French oak. It's not unusual to see cooperies in the wineries, since many Rioja producers buy their own oak but make and toast the barrels themselves, another great example of their dedication and craft.

Stylistically, the Joven and Crianza wines are everyday reds, easy to drink, full of fruit (dark cherry, plum come to mind) and balanced tannins. Reservas are what I call “a happy medium”, made usually with fruit from better plots and with a longer aging, they will have more body than any Crianza, more complexity and a delicious spiciness (vanilla, cloves, cinnamon, etc). Finally you have the Gran Reservas, the bigger and better of all 3, made only in the best vintages, with fruit from the best plots, all the extra aging both in oak and bottle, will add layers of aromas and flavors that come for reductive aging.
In 2018, and following the example of Burgundy, Rioja started to classify their vineyards according to their location. The wines can be now divided into Vino de Zona, (zone wines produced in all Rioja), Vino de Municipio (wines produced in certain villages) and Viñedo Singular (or single vineyards, these wines are also produced from old vines: 35 years + old). In 1991, Rioja was the first appellation in Spain to receive the "calificada" denomination, meaning the quality of their wines are above any other produced in Spain. It is very similar to the Italian DOCG. In Spain, only two regions have received this honor: Rioja and Priorat.

As you may see, it's easy to find something for everyone in Rioja, plus Rioja wines are really affordable, most Riojas Reservas start at $20, Gran Reservas at $35 and up, if you do just Crianza, considered the entry level, you can find something at $14 and up. The quality of the wines is something out of this world! Mostly because Tempranillo is such a versatile grape, it can give lighter to medium body reds that are easy to drink and refreshing, but also beefy reds that will blow your mind. Plus, these wines can age and most of this aging happens at the winery, so when you buy a bottle, the wine is ready to be enjoyed, there’s no need for you to wait/ cellar your wine, like you do with Barolo or any Napa Cab. All this extra aging develops aromas and flavors that are so enticing! Magic indeed happens inside the bottles. So, are you ready to taste some Riojas?

My Recommended Wines: Thankfully, Riojas are very easy to find at your wine store, here are some samples that I received lately, many thanks to importers and wineries for these beauties!

Calma Crianza 2014, $20
La Antigua Clásico Crianza 2012, $21
Marqués de Cáceres Reserva 2015, $29.99
Beronia Reserva 2016, $19.99
La Rioja Alta  Viña Alberdi Reserva 2016, $22
La Rioja Alta Reserva Viña Ardanza 2012, $37
Torre de Oña Reserva Finca Martelo 2014, $35
Baron de Ley Reserva 2015, $19.99
Baron de Ley Gran Reserva 2013, $32.99
La Rioja Alta Viña Arana Gran Reserva 2013,$32.99
La Antigua Gran Reserva 2010, $55 
Macán Clásico 2016, $60



Cheers! Salud! Silvina.

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Maps, courtesy of DOCa Rioja.