Pairing Rioja Wines with Food
As ususal the wine saying “What grows together goes together.” So in restaurants in Rioja it will be easy to make good wine and food matches. A basic guide is to serve red Rioja with strongly flavoured dishes such as game, roasts, and grilled meats and vegetables.
Rioja is known for its oakiness, traditionally from American oak barrels, although the wines are now kept in wood for a shorter time than in the past. The words Crianza, Reserva, and Gran Reserva on the label give an indication as to how long the wine has been aged in wood. Crianza is a fresh, early-drinking style of red Rioja having spent one year in barrel, while Gran Reserva must be aged in wood for a minimum of two years plus three in bottle.
Serve red Rioja with strongly flavoured dishes such as game, roasts, and grilled meats and vegetables.
Rioja Blanco Whites Flavours – Clean and citrusy with aromas of fresh stone fruit (peach, apricot) and pears
Pairing – Great pre-meal aperitif on its own or pair with green salad, shrimp cocktail or shellfish
Barrel Fermented White Rioja
Flavours – Aromas of vanilla, coconut, tropical fruit and honey. A rich mouth-feel, almost creamy, good pineapple-like acidity, and a dry finish
Pairing – Great Chardonnay substitute, recommended with richer fish (salmon, tuna), shellfish and things that actually have fruit in them (mango salsa for example), and of course, dessert
Rioja Rosado -Rose
Flavours – Exuberant aromas of red berry fruit – think cherry and strawberry – with a dry finish
Pairing – Perfect for quenching your thirst on a hot day (or for conjuring summer on cold days). With very few exceptions, Rosados are not meant to age – so look for a bottle with the most recent vintage
Rioja Tinto – Red - Joven- Young
Flavours – The fruitiest red made in Rioja. Very summery aromas: strawberries and cherries
Pairing – Pair with beef or turkey
Rioja Tinto Crianza
Flavours – Big aromas of strawberries, cherries, with varying degrees of toasty/vanilla flavors and aromas (from the oak) – generally fruity and clean on the palate
Pairing – Rioja’s everyday wine. Perfect with whole roasted fish, beef and pasta
Rioja Tinto Reserva Flavous – Modern styles of Reserva tend to have flavour profiles towards chocolate, sweet spices, and what Spaniards call sabores balsámicos – fennel, anise, licorice. Classic styles of Reserva tend to have more developed, earthier aromas with less noticeable fresh fruit, but more complexity and finesse
Pairing – Great with lamb, risotto, pork, ratatouille, etc… in other words, a wine to bring to a dinner party!
Rioja Tinto Gran Reserva
Flavours – A seductive and complex blend of subtle spice and soft fruit: blackberries, dried cherries and cinnamon overlain with flavors such as cigar box, leather, truffles, and faded flowers
Pairing – A special occasion wine. Excellent with fall and winter stews, sautéed mushrooms and game (duck, venison, pheasant, etc…) Salud!