Getting to Know Rioja Wine at Village Vino

We’ve been trying to expand our wine horizons beyond California. 

The blind tasting at our 2014 Oscar party featured only one California wine. Our last two posts featured Spanish wines: a Granacha and a white blend called Auzells.

Yesterday, we met our friend Yolanda at Village Vino to try some Rioja from CVNE. This winery produced the #1 wine on Wine Spectator’s 2013 Top 100 list. That particular wine wasn’t being poured, but we had to check it out nonetheless.

We’re not too familiar with Rioja, but the grapes tell us this region is right up our alley. Red Rioja wines (Rioja tinto) typically feature Tempranillo grapes, which is a versatile grape that pairs well with food. 

Our tasting started with a Viura. This was a very dry white wine with lots of minerality and almost no acidity. It almost reminded us of a French Sauvignon Blanc with even less citrus. You could really taste the limestone soil that the grapes were grown in.

Next up was a Rosado (rosé) made from Tempranillo. We’re slowly discovering that a Rosado doesn’t have to be a nasty, semi-sweet, psuedo-wine. Many, like this one, can be light and refreshing with good flavors for a pre-dinner drink or to enjoy with a light meal.

We then took a tour of several levels of Tempranillo from Crianza to Gran Reserva. These levels are controlled by law in Spain and primarily reflect the different aging processes. (If you want to learn more, check out this excellent Rioja primer from Wine Folly.)

They were all lighter-bodied red wines, but had a nice underlying earthiness to them. We all agreed these would drink much better with food.

Village Vino has some very tasty light bites, so we decided to order a cheese plate and a flatbread pizza. Our tasting was almost finished by the time we realized we wanted food, so we opted to shift regions and share a bottle of Stoller Pinot Noir. Stoller is an excellent example of Oregon Pinot Noir with excellent cherry flavors coupled with that typical Oregon earthiness.

Sally and friend Yolanda enjoying wine at Village Vino
Posted on April 13, 2014 and filed under Tasting Experiences.