First stop was Seville where I had an absolutely wonderful time. There was the Real Alcazar which was originally built by Moorish rulers but later became the palace of Spanish royalty, including King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. Yes, that Ferdinand and Isabella. And there was the amazing Seville Cathedral which houses the final resting place of … Christopher Columbus, of course. There is so much history and culture here, it’s difficult to take it all in. And then there is all the Spanish wine. Wow! The first night in Seville, I celebrated my arrival with a Rioja.
Notes: The nose on this Crianza was really great – scents of blueberry, blackberry, and pine. It was medium-bodied with light tannins and 13% alcohol. Flavors for me included dark berries, pepper and tobacco. I liked it, especially the bouquet. Not a pairing for a serious steak, but good with a lighter meal.
I may have said this before, but I’ll say it again. I would love to travel to Spain! Some day, I sincerely hope to make that wish a reality. In the meantime, I’ll have to make do with looking at photos online, reading blog posts by others who have managed the trek, and drinking Spanish wines when I get that urge. Clearly, I was overcome by that urge recently because for my second wine experience back, I chose this Spanish Rioja.
Winemaker: Javier San Pedro (Bodegas Vallobera)
Wine: Randez (Crianza)
Appellation: Rioja DDO
Price: $8.99 @ Trader Joe’s
Notes: With a bouquet of berries, cedar, and tobacco, this Spanish red was a dark ruby in the glass. On the palate, the weight was on the light side of medium with good acidity and fairly aggressive tannins. Alcohol came in at 13.5%. Flavors for me included cherry, red currant, and quite a lot of pepper with green herbal notes and woody tannins. It finished with a lingering note of bitters. I should have been drinking this with a beef dish given it’s structure, but it was pleasant enough on it’s own if you like a red with a little bite.
What is a good way to celebrate good news at work? When I say good news, I mean really good news. Remember the trip to Montreal I mentioned? Well, the participants rated the meetings and presenters (of which I was one). I don’t know if it was that my attempt at dredging up college French was passable or what … but I got good “grades.” And that makes me very happy. So I decided to reward myself by tasting my first Rioja ever. Yes, it’s true! I know it might have been more fitting to have gone Canadian or French, but it was a serendipitous celebration. I pulled from the bottles I had on hand, don’t you know!
Notes: This Spanish red was more of an eggplant color with tons of bouquet redolent with barnyard, oak, earth, tangy dark berries and spice. I really enjoyed the bouquet a lot. Acidity was fairly high and tannins were also on the high side in this medium-bodied selection. On the tongue, I thought this inexpensive Rioja was pretty yummy. I tasted rich dark fruit, tea leaf, tar, a hint of pepper, brambly tannins, as well as notes of baked rolls on he long finish. In describing it, I wouldn’t call it chewy exactly but then I wouldn’t call it not chewy, either. Is that confusing? Well, try it and see what I mean. I think it would be a nice accompaniment to a steak dinner, but there is plenty to enjoy by itself.