Falling in Love with Rioja: Wine & Local Food Pairings

GET TO KNOW RIOJA
From Saltwire
Published: May 13, 2022

Do you believe there is a romanticism in wine? If you do, then you may just fall in love with the wines of Rioja – if you haven’t already.

Rioja is a beautiful region in Northeastern Spain, situated along the meandering Ebro River, in the shadow of the Sierra de Cantabria Mountain range. In this majestic setting, ancient villages and towns sit between the vines, many of whom still feel as if they are from centuries past, while nearby there is hubbub from the nightlife of Logroño, Rioja’s capital. Logroño bustles with activity, not least of which is its remarkable street food culture. The Calle Laurel, a sort of mecca of tapas, is ideal for gastronomes and party goers alike.

While the region boasts a broadly similar climate, with vines planted at a range of elevations (300 – 800 metres), and in various soils, a new sense of terroir is emerging in Rioja.  There are close to 600 wineries in Rioja, offering a style for every wine lover – from fresh and juicy whites, to crisp rosés, to complex barrel- aged white and red wines.  These wines are famous throughout the world for their quality, complexity, elegance, and particularly for their excellent aging potential.

Although the most famous of Rioja’s wines are undoubtedly the elegant and classic reds of Tempranillo – often blended with smaller amounts of Garnacha, Graciano, and Mazuelo – this region is also known for its outstanding whites, of which the most classic are made with Viura grapes (called Macabeo in other regions of Spain). They also incorporate some Malvasia, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay as well.

Rosé and sparkling wines are made here too.

In fact, expect to see some Rioja sparkling wines in the not-too-distant future, as a new appellation will allow local producers to identify their sparkling wines (both Blanco and Rosado) as being from Rioja.

Though Rioja is across the ocean and lays inland in Spain, the food isn’t that different, at least in its soul, from home. There is a certain Atlantic Canadian-style familiarness to Rioja cuisine. Riojans love stews, beans, pork, lamb, potatoes, and have a wealth of vegetables – they are famous for their mushroom. As the Atlantic Ocean is only about an hour’s drive away, they also love seafood, especially bacalao, or as we know it cod.

Indeed, over the centuries, Atlantic Canadians and the Spanish have shared the seas, mostly amicably. The union of Atlantic Canada food and Rioja wine is an outwardly-unlikely marriage, but indeed one built on a mutual love of seafood, authenticity, and hominess.

Rioja has great food wines as they are elegantly fruity, well-balanced and structured with moderate alcohol. The wines possess the right levels of acidity and subtle flavour to enhance food, but never overpower it. So why not serve up some Rioja wines with tapas made with local ingredients?

Read full article

Discover More

Trade Secrets

Contact

Bodegas Available for
Export in the US

Bodegas Ontanon
CVNE
Vivanco
European Cellars/ Eric Solomon Selections
Europvin
Evaton
Fine Estates From Spain
Folio Fine Wine Partners
Frederick Wildman & Sons
Grupo Bodegas Faustino
Marques de Riscal
Ole Imports
Opici Wines
Osborne USA
Palm Bay International
Quintessential
Shaw-Ross International Importers
Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
Terlato
The Artisan Collection
The Drink Collective
Vinamericas Selections LLC
Vineyard Brands, Inc.
W.J. Deutsch & Sons, Ltd.
Winebow
Winebow (MundoVino, a member of The Winebow Group)
Zamora Americas
220 Imports
A.I. Selections
ARAEX/Spanish Fine Wines
Arborway Imports
Artevino
Ascent Wines
Assa Imports
Astor Wines
Austral Wine Merchants
Aveniu Brands
Baron Francois
BCG Consulting
Bodega Classica/Vintae
Bodegas Castillo de Mendoza
Bodegas Corral, S.A.
Bodegas Medrano Irazu
Bodega Nivarius
Bodegas Ontanon
Bodegas Pastor Diaz
Bodegas Patrocinio, SCL
Bodegas Riojanas
Bodegas Tobia
Bodegas Valdelana
Bon Vivant Imports
Boutique Wine Collection
Bronco Wine Company
C & P WinesBronco Wine Company
Carolina Wine Brands USA
Casa Ventura Imports, Inc.
Cerda y Llanos
Chartrand Imports
Chateau Armand
Classic Wines
Classical Wines from Spain
Cognac One, LLC
Coleccion International Del Vino USA (CIV USA)
Constellation Wines
Constellation Wines
David Bowler Wine
De Maison Selections
DFV Wines
Dionysos Imports
Divino Imports
Domaine Select
Dreyfus Ashby & Co
Eguren Ugarte
Elite Wines
Emporium Nostrum
ENYE Imports Group
Familia Martinez Bujanda
Felix Solis Avantis
Folio Fine Wine Partners
Folio Wine Partners
Francisco Selections, Inc.
Freixenet USA
Frontier Wine Imports
Garnacha Inc
GECO Global Group USA
Golden State Wine Co.
Gonzalez-Byass
Grapes of Spain
Grupo Bodegas Olarra
Grupo Principe de Viana
H.A.B. North America
HGC Imports Inc.
Hidalgo Imports
HP Selections
International Wine & Spirits
Janet Kafka
Kysela Pere et Fils, Ltd.
La Rioja Alta
Laurel Importers
Lionstone International
Lopez de Haro
Luneau USA, Inc
Maisons Marques & Domaines
Marfa Group
Marques de Murrieta
Michael Skurnik Wines
MJM Imports
Monsieur Touton Selection Ltd.
Murphy Distribution
Natural Wine Co.
New Age Imports
Noble House Wines
North American Organic
Omniwines
P.R.Grisley Co.
Parador Selections
Paternina
Pernod Ricard USA
Pipeline Distribution
Polaner Selections
Protecom Wines Inc.
Regal Wine Imports
RM Distributors
RM Mabor
RMB
Roda
Romero & Miller, LLC
Royal Wine Corp.
Serendipity Wines
Signature Imports
SolStar Wines
Spain Wine Collection
Spanish Vines Imports, Inc.
Specialty Cellars
Steve Miles Selection
T Edward Wines
Tempranillo Inc
Terra Nostra Vinos
Terroir
Testa Wines of the World Ltd.
The House of Burgundy, Inc.
The Marchetti Co./Scoperta Importing Co.
The Spanish Wine Imports
Think Global Wines LLC
Torres
Tradewinds Specialty Imports
Transatlantic
Tri Vin Imports
United Cellars
United Wineries/MHW
USA Wine West
Vin de Terra Imports, Inc.
Vin Divino
Vinaio Imports, Ltd.
Vinole Wines
Vinos and Gourmet Jose Pastor Selections
Vinos Libres
Vintage Wines
VINTUS
Vision Wine & Spirits, LLC
Well Oiled Company
Wine Associates, Inc.
Winebow
WineLite Imports
Winesellers, Ltd.
WineWise