- Andrea at The Quirky Cork matches Marqués de Cáceres Crianza with Chorizo Sweet Potato Pockets.
- Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm pairs Mexican Ham Soup and a Spanish Rioja Wine.
- Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla offers Catalan Coques + La Rioja Alta Viña Arana Rioja Gran Reserva 2014.
- Steve at Children of the Grape is Tasting Rioja With Aging Eyes.
- Allison and Chris at Advinetures share Rioja: The Confluence of Tradition & Modernity.
- Robin at Crushed Grape Chronicles writes Viura - There is More to Rioja than Tempranillo.
- David at Cooking Chat posts a White Bean Stew with Sausage and a Rioja.
- Lynn at Savor the Harvest gives us Revisiting Rioja: Vinedos Singulares with Bodegas Ontañon.
- Nicole at Somm's Table has One Day in Haro.
- Lauren at The Swirling Dervish says White Rioja: There's a Style for Every Palate.
- Linda at My Full Wine Glass pours Classic Rioja Alta to kick off virtual trip to Spain.
- Terri at Our Good Life offers Our First Rioja with Assorted Easy Tapas.
- Marcia at Joy of Wine posits White Rioja: Taste and See What You're Missing.
- Susannah at Avvinare is Exploring Legendary Winery Marqués de Riscal.
- Martin at ENOFYLZ Wine Blog is Reconsidering Rioja Blanco with the 2008 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia.
- Gwendolyn at Wine Predator writes Regional Rioja Pairings: Tempranillo, Viura, Rosado with Bean Kale Soup, Orange Avo Salad, Rack of Lamb, Patatas Bravas.
- Jeff at Food Wine Click! tells Rioja Oriental - A Cinderella Story.
We tasted our way through their three wines and learned more about the three distinct subregions. I will be sharing recipes for each wine as well as more in-depth information about each winery. But, for now, here are some general thoughts and notes about the wines and the region that really stuck out for me.
All three experts are part of multi-generational winemaking estates and are engaged in lots of exploration on how to improve their wines and process. Despite their progress and innovations, they have a simultaneous respect for tradition and all of the the generations that have come before them. A perfect example comes from La Rioja Alta, S.A.
Guillermo de Aranzabal is the fifth generation of La Rioja Alta, S.A. which is located in Haro, Spain and founded in 1890. In the 1940s, it was managed by Guillermo's great-grandfather, Nicolás Alberdi, before his grandmother, María Teresa Alberdi, took over a decade later. Then just before 1980, his father, Guillermo de Aranzabal Alberdi, took the reins. And, upon his father's death in 2005, the leadership of the winery empire landed with Guillermo de Aranzabal Agudo.
Guillermo told us a little bit about the subregion from which his wine comes, Rioja Alta. It's the western part of Rioja and sits at a higher elevation than the others and the closest to the Atlantic Ocean. He said that as the crow flies, they are only about 60 miles from the Atlantic, so they have more rain and cooler temperatures.Going back to the marriage of innovation and tradition, Guillermo explains that they control everything in the winemaking process from hand-picking to making their own oak barrels. They use optical sorting machines to get the best grapes, so there is a lot of technology in the fermentation process, but they are ultra-traditional in the aging process. 'Innovative tradition," Gwendolyn posited. Guillermo agreed.
And through the conversation between the four, they all agreed on three elements to Tempranillo and the wines of Rioja. The goals are: finesse, elegance, and to make you smile.
D: Pizza night, again?
C: They aren't pizzas. They are Catalan Coca.
R: They look like pizza.
C: Do pizzas usually have mussels on them? Or chorizo?
D: In this house? Yes.
C: Okay, you're right. But the dough is different.
- 4 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 cup warm water plus more as needed
- 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil plus more for baking
Place all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon until you have a shaggy dough. If the dough is too try, add more water as needed.
Then turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until it becomes smooth and elastic. Put the dough back into the bowl and cover with a towel. Let it rise in a warm place for about an hour.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Divide the dough into six pieces and gently press each piece into a round on a baking stone of baking sheet. Prick the dough with a fork and brush the tops with olive oil. Place in the oven and bake for 8 minutes until slightly golden. Top with your toppings and place it back in the oven for 3 minutes.