#SnoothPVA: Wines of Rioja Farewell

Hello Friends,

You know the old saying; all good things must come to an end. So with that, my wine blogging friends and I wrapped up a fun-filled and enlightening ‘Snooth People’s Voice Wine Awards’ weekend with a 'Wines of Rioja' Farewell event. The tasting and discussion was led by Ana Fabiano, author of The Wine Region of RiojaAna also serves as the U.S. Trade Director at Vibrant Rioja and is the Brand Ambassador for DOCa Rioja.

Wines of Rioja Farewell

Rioja has a long history of growing wine grapes and producing wine that goes back centuries. The region is located in northern (central) Spain and is one of two (the other being Priorat) Spanish wine growing regions to achieve DOCa (Denominación de Origen Calificada) recognition -- Spain's highest level of wine classification. My very first Rioja experience came by way of a dry, racy, and crisp bottle of rosé that I enjoyed with light picnic fare on a beautiful and sunny spring day. When the mood hits, I still reach for the region’s dry and refreshing pink wines. Having said that however, Rioja’s true gift to the wonderful world of wine is their highly-regarded Tempranillo-based wines. While Tempranillo takes center stage in Rioja, other red varieties grown are Garnacha (Grenache), Mazuelo (Carignan) and Graciano. White grape varieties grown are Viura (primary variety also known as Macabeo), Malvasia and Garnacha Blanca.

 Time to fill these glasses and taste!

Rioja is divided into three sub-regions: Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa are to the west and benefit from a cooler climate while Rioja Baja, to the east, experiences a warmer and drier climate. The differences in macro-climates (and soil types) within the appellation allows for a wide amount of diversity and a broad range of styles in the region’s wines. And the good news is that many of these wines are affordable and have a fairly good quality-price ratio. One thing I suggest getting familiar with on Spanish DO (Denominación de Origen ) and  DOCa wine labels are the terms Joven, Crianza, Reserva, and Gran Reserva. This will give you some insight into the amount of aging the wine received both in barrel and bottle before release. For example, Joven is a wine that typically sees little to no barrel/bottle aging and is meant to be consumed in its youth. Whereas Gran Reserva wines must be aged a minimum of two years in the barrel and three years in the bottle. So, you won’t see a Gran Reserva on store shelves for at least five years (and it is not too often that a producer ages the wine for you).

‘The Wine Region of Rioja’

All of this information and more can be found in Ana’s informative and well-written book, which I highly recommend. The book is easy to read, comprehensive, and filled with so many stunning images of the Rioja wine region that you will want to plan a vacation. The book is under $20 on Amazon and pairs nicely with a good bottle of Rioja (trust me)! Below are a few of the wines I enjoyed as well as links to reviews from several passionate wine bloggers that I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know. Thanks for making me part of your event-packed and successful inaugural PVA weekend, Snooth. It was a blast! Cheers!

Gregory Dal Piaz and Ana Fabiano

Marques de Murrieta Rioja Reserva 2007 (SRP $22): Slightly tart cherry and raspberry fruit intermingled with spice and mineral overtones and supported by a good spine of acidity and fine-grained tannins with a medium-length finish.

Conde de Valdemar Rioja Gran Reserva 2004 (SRP $35): An inviting and nicely integrated wine showing black cherry, ripe plum, and spice box aromas with an earthy edge and a touch of dried herbs. This wine is drinking nicely now and has the potential to further develop with short-term cellaring.

Muga Prado Enea Gran Reserva 1994 (SRP $80): This wine shows intriguing and complex of aromas of dark berries, pomegranate, cedar wood and lavender with hints of tea leaves and truffles. The palate has a restrained fruit character with a supple texture that leads to a pleasant, lasting finish.

Read what others are saying about the Wines of Rioja Farewell event:

Snooth writes "PVA Rioja Event"

Benito's Wine writes "Snooth PVA: Wines of Rioja"

VineSleuth writes "What is Rioja Wine?"

The V.I.P Table writes "Rioja: An Untapped Resource"

Vindulge writes "Cellar Worthy Rioja"

Backyard Feathered Friend: American Robin

Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This trip was provided by Snooth. Thoughts are my own.

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