There is a reason Rioja, Spain has dominated Spain’s love for wine. It’s the one religion that treats wine like water. In fact, it’s more expensive to order bottled water or Coke-a-Cola then a glass of red wine? Yes, believe it, if only this would apply in the US, I’d be one happier and wealthier gal.
Not all of Rioja is created equally. This region is split into three parts: Rioja Baja, Rioja Alta, and Rioja Alavesa. You don’t need to ask my twice, my favorite sub region in Rioja is Alavesa. This hidden gem is something I hope never becomes exploited as its micro-climates make the wines spectacular and out of character with what most understand or believe Rioja to be.
Today’s, spring visit to Rioja consisted of a visit to a very small intimate visit to a 6 generations wine makers in the middle of nowhere. We stopped in to enjoy several glasses of wine. From their newly planted white wine to their 60 year-old vine red wine, I’m lucky to have my own private showing of the vineyard and partake in the family rituals of breaking bread and drinking wine.
My favorite part of living and traveling through Spain’s wine regions, is the seeds that I plant with my wonderful Spanish people once we uncork a bottle of wine. Each bottle tells a story and I listen to what it has to say. I ask myself in each of my travels, how lucky am I to drink, socialize, and export wine for a living? The answer is simple, Very lucky!
If you are headed to a new Chicago restaurant, it’s always a good idea to CALL FIRST and ask the restaurant about their corkage fee. I’ve recently walked into a restaurant that claimed to have NO CORKAGE FEES, but the moment they brought the bill, we were charge $15 for “3 Buck Chuck” from Trader Joe’s.
For all you white wine drinkers, remember toBRING YOUR BOTTLE CHILLED. Not all restaurants have ice buckets to keep your wine chilled.
This last tip was based on an adventure while looking for a BYOB eatery recently. Bring Your Own Wine Glasses. Not all restaurants have wine glasses….believe it! (Anabelle, this is where you jump in and complete the story).
1. Category: Toasty
2. Wine Type: Tempranillo
3. Country: Spain – Jumilla
4. Price: $15
5. Notes: On a cold day in the Midwest, this particular bottle of Tempranillo is just comforting. It has plenty of dark rip fruit flavors along with some hints of vanilla, but the comforting part comes with the nice touch of nutmeg and clove somewhere in between. This 2004 vintage 2004 Crianza can keep me warm anytime!
November 7, 2009 Weekly Wine Pick – Ménage à Trois Red
1. Category: Lusty
2. Wine Type: Zinfandel, Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon
3. Country: USA – California
4. Price: $8.99
5. Notes: Three lusty grapes play well together to create a mouthful of juicy flavors. This sassy wine has hints of blackberry, smooth cocoa middle, and a satin finish. This wine will NOT tease, but please you with a happy ending.
1. Category: Promisqous
2. Wine Type: Blend (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, and Zinfandel)
3. Country: USA – Cal
4. Price: $10
5. Notes: I’ve recently been seduced by a promiscuous blend of grapes… basking in the playfulness of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, and Zinfandel, I’m all in for the tasty ride with a touch of coffee and oak lingering in your mouth. Promiscuity never tasted so good! Enjoy and as the wine maker states on the bottle, “practice safe sipping”.
Wine Type: 55% Petit Verdot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot
Notes: The Yard dog is out and it’s making noise. This $13 screw cap bottle has an intense bouquet of blackberry and plums. At the first inhale, the berries and spice came through quickly, but this blend of Petit Verdot (55%), Cabernet Sauvignon (30%), and Merlot (15%) had so much more to offer after sitting for about 20 minutes. To the palate it was soft and juicy with absolutely no tannins present and after breathing for a bit, the hearty Merlot flavors and musky plum followed.
Description: French Oak aging, ripe dark red fruits, loganberry and blackberry. I found a bouquet of toasted oak with hints of chocolate aromas. This wine had a great long finish and went down all to smooth.