Tag Archives: Rioja

Beat the Heat With high value Spanish Wines!

31 May

When summer begins to swelter, we find ourselves reaching for something to cool off with. Most people go for a light white wine, some people prefer a chilled rosé. But when I toured the Mediterranean and was impressed with how refreshing the wines of Spain can be in the heat!

Spain is covered with grape vines, most of which are quite old. Age means deep vines, which which equates to small grapes with a robust flavor profiles: rich, acidic reds, and delicate, herbaceous whites.


Start with Albariño. In several years of tastings, Paco & Lola from Rias Baixas have consistently been in the top picks. There run from under $20 to low $30’s for aged Albariño. The 2012 pictured below, right, is gorgeously concentrated and a stellar aged white for serious oenophiles.


The bright polka dots of Paco & Lola are easily distinguished in a wine store. Take a bottle home and tell me if you don’t adore it!





Garnacha Blanca (White Grenache) and Verdejo are two wines that are lesser-known in the USA, but extremely popular in Europe. Some of Spain’s finest wines are made from Verdejo, with delicate flavor and beautiful structure.



Viura-chardonnay blends like the one below from Faustino are easy to find, herbaceous with bright white fruit, tasty in the heat, and easy on the wallet – around $15/bottle.



Bright, delicious reds like these old vine ’15 Garnacha and 2016 Cariñena (below) are delicious by themselves slightly chilled, and pair with food easily. Believe it or not, they can often be found for under $10/bottle, but drink well compared to other bottles you might find for twice the price.



Last but not least, you can often find aged Rioja and Gran Reserva wines that are beautifully aged reds, in the $30-70 range. These offer rarity and great age at a tremendous value.



Try wines from Spain’s Rioja and Cariñena regions this summer- slightly chilled to beat the heat- and let me know how you like them, and what your favorite pairings are!



à votre santé!


Spice Is Nice, WOW at this price! Your BBQ Rioja is here!

23 May

Finca Valdeguinea Rioja, Spain; 2012. Ltd Edition (15,000 bottles), 14% ABV. Astor Wine & Spirits, $7/bottle.

Made from 100% tempranillo, the color is violet with ruby edging. The nose is of black plum and cherry, while in the mouth blackberry, sour cherry, and black plum flash the palate along with nice acidity. Additional notes of spice, vanilla bean, licorice, new leather, and tart vegetation on the back palate with a nice finish that was longer than I expected. Great for pairing with spicy food, held up beautifully to my spicy chicken fajitas, but will also work well with pizza, any tomato sauce, or red meat. Delightful on the palate and a good value at this cost.

Simply put, a great BBQ wine. I should buy more for the summer. And I love the tongue-in-cheek label, it looks like so many white tablecloths I’ve ruined. You, too?


à votre santé!


Historic Spain, in a Bottle

6 Oct

Herederos Del Marques de Riscal Reserva, 2007. Rioja, Spain.  Mayfair Wine and Sherry Lehman, $16/bottle. ABV 13.5%.

Color is deep ruby with garnet edging. Nose of pepper, dusty rose, and black plum. On the palate I found cassis,  spice box, black pepper with notes of burnt wood, saddle leather, granite and limestone.  A full-bodied wine with elegant structure and a mid-long palate, it drinks like a wine that has aged ten years and costs three times the price.  This reserva is primarily tempranillo with a small amount (under 10%) of graciano and mazuelo grapes. This well-made blend demonstrates both complexity and character and offers a flavorful glimpse into the sunny and historic spanish countryside.

The savory front palate, relaxed acidity and mature tannins join to make this wine shine. It pairs wonderfully with several types of food, but flavors such as spicy sauces, cured and roast meats or chocolate will truly shine with this wine. One of my current favorites at home with massive value for quality versus price, and a great gift wine. I have enjoyed the 2006, the ’06 and ’07 and expect to continue to see this wine find a greater market share, and the corresponding increased price.


à votre santé!

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