Our new blogging group, #WorldWineTravel is having it’s inaugural Saturday twitter chat tomorrow, January 23, 2021. We’ve decided that we are going to explore Spain throughout the year. I drink Spanish wines generally outside of the home rather than have them at home. In the days pre-Covid and really pre-Niccolo (my son) I used to hang out often at a Spanish wine bar in my neighborhood, Buceo. I loved trying out their wines by the glass, eating Marcona almonds and tapas. I’ve studied Spanish wine throughout the years in various ways, obtaining a certificate years ago from the Spanish Wine School. I am also thinking of doing the Spanish Wine Scholar program at the Wine Scholar Guild. This new group is a perfect push to up my game in Spanish wines.
For our initial trip to Spain we are starting with the most famous of regions and the one with the longest imported wines in the US, Rioja. Our host for this month, Jeff Burrows of Food Wine Click! gives a great overview of Rioja here and here.
I decided to look at one legendary producer in Rioja and one of the first wines I tried, Marqués de Riscal. The winery was founded in 1858 by D. Guillermo Hurtado de Amézaga. Their first wines were bottled in 1962 and they were the first Rioja wines to be bottled. The original bodega was built in 1860 and then the cellar was expanded with building with the construction of another part called “El Palomar”. The winery received many award in the early years and it was the first wine not from France to win a diploma of honor of the Bordeaux Exhibition. You can see the diploma because they have incorporated it in their label.
Another distinctive feature of their bottles is the gold netting that is around the bottle. This began in the early years of the 20th Century as a way to prevent falsifications.
Their newest building which is also home to the Hotel Marqués de Riscal, a Luxury Collection Hotel, was designed by Frank O. Gehry. It is a thing of beauty and rises out of the ground like a phoenix.
The winery has been active through the decades, introducing new varieties, promoting white wines in Rueda and developing a tourism hub called The City of Wine. Apparently in 2015, they had a mega vertical tasting of 114 vintages of their wines. I wish I could have been part of that.
I bought the Marques de Riscal Riserva 2014. It is made with 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano and Mazuelo from 30- to 40-year-old vines . It is a classic Rioja with all the aromas and flavors I associate with this region. Black fruit and spice, oak, dill, tomato leaf , cinnamon and bramble. It has a lovely mouthfeel, velvety and enveloping with silky, fine tannins, concentrated, layered waves of flavor coming over the palate. It is very intense and persistent yet balanced thanks to its lively acidity. It has 14% acidity and it is a beautiful match with a roast, aged cheese or stewed meat.
2014 is a mixed year in terms of the weather in some parts of the world. In Spain, they saw a lot of rain, more than usual and had an unusually cool Summer but September was a long warm month which helped. According to the Wine Spectator, “good producers could make good wine in Rioja but only with a lot of work.” I try to collect wines from 2014 because it is the year of my son’s birth.
I’m super excited for our collective exploration of Spain this year. Check out what my fellow bloggers have to say and what angle they are writing about. Salud!
Links to World Wine Travel Bloggers Exploration of Rioja
Take a look below to learn something new about Rioja and Rioja wines. After reading some posts, you’ll want to join our chat. Look for us on Twitter at #WorldWineTravel on Saturday Jan. 23 from 11am EST.
- Andrea at The Quirky Cork shares “Marqués de Cáceres Crianza with Chorizo Sweet Potato Pockets“
- Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm shares “Mexican Ham Soup and a Spanish Rioja Wine“
- Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares “Catalan Coques + La Rioja Alta Viña Arana Rioja Gran Reserva 2014“
- Steve at Children of the Grape shares “Tasting Rioja With Aging Eyes“
- Allison and Chris at Advinetures share “Rioja: The Confluence of Tradition & Modernity“
- Robin at Crushed Grape Chronicles shares “Viura – There is more to Rioja than Tempranillo“
- David at Cooking Chat shares “White Bean Stew with Sausage and a Rioja“
- Lynn at Savor the Harvest shares “Revisiting Rioja: Vinedos Singulares with Bodegas Ontañon“
- Nicole at Somms Table shares “One Day in Haro“
- Lauren at The Swirling Dervish shares “White Rioja: There’s a Style for Every Palate“
- Linda at My Full Wine Glass shares “Classic Rioja Alta to kick off virtual trip to Spain“
- Terri at Our Good Life shares “Our First Rioja with Assorted Easy Tapas“
- Marcia at Joy of Wine shares “White Rioja: Taste and See What You’re Missing”
- Susannah at Avvinare shares “Exploring Legendary Winery Marqués de Riscal”
- Gwendolyn at Wine Predator shares “Regional Rioja: Tempranillo, Viura, Rosado paired with hearty soup, salad, lamb, patatas bravas”
- Martin at Enofylz shares “Reconsidering Rioja Blanco with the 2008 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia“
- Jeff at Food Wine Click! shares “Rioja Oriental – A Cinderella Story“