The Buzz About Rioja

I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to some amazing wine regions. But of course, the more I see, the more I want to see. The next country on my list is Spain. I’ve enjoyed the wines of Penedes, Priorat, Rias Biaxas and Rioja. So when I received thee e mail to attend a seminar and tasting of Rioja wines, I immediately emailed my RSVP.


Led by Aaron Gordon and David Denton, we were taken through ’ A Spectrum of Rioja’. Rioja is said to be the most varied wine region in the world as they offer a wide array of crisp whites, roses, young and fruity, and bold reds. There is a match for every price point and palate in Rioja. As part of the seminar, we were treated to pictures of amazing landscapes, red and white grapes, architecturally amazing wineries, and of course we tasted some wines.


Conde de Valdemar

Tempranillo Blanco 2011

Tempranillo Blanco

Tropical and full-bodied. *Note - how they arrived at a blanco tempranillo? one branch of the tempranillo vine randomly grew as an albino vine. They took it and made some wine! Aged on the lees and in French oak.

Palacios Remondo

Placet 2008


Herbal and citrusy with hints of oak. Similar in style to Bordeaux Blanc

Bodegas Ostatu

Rosado 2012

Tempranillo, Garnacha, Viura

Bright, ripe raspberry and cherry flavors with hints of acid. Color is similar to Provencal roses.

Dinastia Vivanco

Maturana Tinta 2009

Maturana Tinta

Plum, green pepper and chocolate. Yes, all together and yes delish!! Hints of Middle Eastern spices as well…or at least that’s what David said. The grape maturana tinta is only found in Rioja and can age up to 10 yrs.



Contino Graciano 2006


Violet with notes of black pepper and spice. Extremely floral, also picked up dried red roses.

Bodegas Ontanon

Riserva 1995

Tempranillo & Garnacha

Red fruit flavors with soft, light tannins. Would be amazing with steak

La Rioja Alta

Gran Riserva “904” 2001

Tempranillo & Graciano

All I know was this was delicious. Or maybe I was tipsy because I don’t have any notes on this one.



As if that tasting wasn’t enough. we went into the bar area for a bar FULL of Rioja wines to try. AND we were treated to the famous Ripple grilled cheese. I definitely ate about 5 or 6 of them. I’m not ashamed. All the wines mentioned are available in the DC market. I’d suggest you try one or all of them this summer. Spread the #RiojaBuzz!!