Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Are You A Last Minute Santa? Try These Wines From Spain’s Rioja Region

Wines from the Spain’s Rioja region have been aged by the winemaker before release, so every bottle can be opened and enjoyed immediately. They make a great Christmas gift or a good choice for holiday entertaining.

BLANCO RIOJAS – for white wine lovers and the eclectic neighbor next door.

  • Stain-less steel fermented white Riojas: super-quaffable pre-meal aperitif. These wines are light, crisp and modern-style
  • Barrel-fermented white Riojas: Great with mushrooms and asparagus. Aged whites of Rioja are exceptionally food-compatible. These wines have a tropical, fruity richness and Champagne-like yeasty complexity
  • WALLET-FRIENDLY: The oaked Muga blanco ($14) and stain-less steel white is the El Coto blanco($10)
  • SPLURGE: Oaked Palacios Herencia Remondo "Placet" Valtomelloso ($31)

TINTOS RIOJAS -- Jovens – for meat lovers

  • Pair with roasted or gamey meats.
  • Joven wines are typically sourced from old vineyard sites aged in French oak, and hit the market as early as 3 years after harvest.
  • WALLET-FRIENDLY: Rioja Vega($9)
  • SPLURGE: Valdemar Inspiracion 2010($28)

Crianzas – hostess gift for holiday parties

  • The fruity freshness makes for a great greeting wine that pairs well with sheep’s milk cheese and hors d’oeuvres.
  • Crianzas are easy-drinking style wines, aged a minimum of two years, one of which must be oak. A nice welcome drink for holiday guests.
  • WALLET-FRIENDLY: Bodegas LAN Crianza ($10)
  • SPLURGE: Dinastia Vivanco Crianza 2008($17)

Reservas – for parents, in-laws and your boss

  • Great pick for the heart of the meal. Particularly great with a roasted leg of lamb, wild mushroom risotto, barbecued beef brisket.
  • Aged for at least 12 months in oak, and 24 months in bottle, Reservas can be a classic or modern style.Classic Riojas are aged longer in American oak, whereas modern Reservas offer more sweet spices like fennel, anise and licorice.
  • WALLET-FRIENDLY: Paternina Banda Rioja Reserva($13)
  • SPLURGE: Bodegas Riojanas Monte Real Reserva($24)

Gran Reservas – for the special person in your life

  • Excellent crowd-pleaser for sautéed mushrooms, duck confit, roasted squab or pheasant or chestnut soup.
  • Gran Reservas are bottled with the best grapes of harvest and aged for at least 5 years. They are known for their elegant texture and a lingering orchestra of flavors from soft fruits to rich earthiness.
  • WALLET-FRIENDLY: Campo Viejo Gran Reserva($20)
  • SPLURGE: Marques de Murrieta Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva($63)
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