I am happily writing about Rioja samples that were sent to me and have reviewed them in my own words and thoughts!
Just in time for the upcoming holidays, the most famous red wine from Spain has its own day set aside to showcase and celebrate some of the best wines from the Rioja regions of Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Alta.
During this time of the year we seek out wines that are food- friendly and will be enjoyed by family and friends from small gatherings with small bites to large sit-down feasts!
There isn’t a party that goes by that I haven’t included Spanish wines for my gatherings because they are so approachable, food-friendly, elegant yet earthy and please even the pickiest of wine-drinkers. I happen to be a paella chef and specialize in cooking Spanish and Mediterranean cuisine and have known for years that these gorgeous red wines are a perfect match with whatever culinary masterpiece that I am serving. Riojas will hold their own up against all the spices, big and savory flavors and cooking techniques I use.
Tempranillo, the main Rioja grape, produces wines that are reminiscent of red cherries, black fruit, ripe plums, considerably big tannins and refreshing acidity especially noticeable in the younger or Crianza wines. Layers of flavors and spices become front and center as the wines are aged longer in American and French oak which are called Reserva wines. Notable flavors such as vanilla, dried dill, dried figs, leather, tobacco and clove fill your nose and palate while the tannins become smoother and rounder.
Bodegas LAN is steeped in history, tradition and quality. LAN is an acronym referring to the prestigious North Central wine growing regions of the three provinces in the DOCa Rioja: Logroño, Álava and Navarra. A blend of old world tradition and new world winemaking comes together to produce the best wines from this region since 1972. The best quality oak barrels and wine making techniques is what has created these classic wines for many years.
Pairings: Italian, Spanish, Mexican, BBQ
LAN D-12 2014 Rioja Crianza and LAN Rioja Reserva 2011 can be paired with your traditional American holiday dinner table or if your celebrating your family’s heritage pair with tomato-laden Italian dishes such as spaghetti and meatballs, rigatoni and sausage, pizza or just about any spicy Italian dish you can think of.
Now that I live in Texas, I get to enjoy the best smoky brisket and grilled meats ever and LAN Rioja wines, especially the Reserva, is the perfect go-to wine. Tacos rule in Austin and so will these Rioja pairings, especially the Crianza!
And, don’t forget about paella! Rioja IS the wine for my paellas!
***Be sure to open a few hours before serving and let the wine breath!