The Long Awaited For Riojas

After lunch on the second day of the The Wine Academy of Spain Spanish wine course, we covered Levante, the Islands, and Extremadura & Madrid, although there were no wine tastings for these regions. It was almost 2 hours of videos and lecture, which was interesting, but, admittedly, after eating lunch and trying to avoid coffee so as not to taint the tasting experience, it was also a little hard to stay focused. That combined with knowing that Rioja was at the other end of the 2 hours made everyone in the room a little antsy.

So, once we finished learning about Levante, the Islands, and Extremadura & Madrid, we took a short break before diving into Rioja. Rijoa is really divided into 3 regions, with wine from each area tasting slightly different. Rioja Alta is an Atlantic climate, so the wines tend to be full bodied, high in alcohol and acidity, and often aged in casks. Rioja Alavesa has a mixed Atlantic and Mediterranean climate. Wines from this region tend to have lower alcohol and acidity, might go through carbonic maceration, and usually are ready for drinking earlier than the Rioja Alta wines. Finally, Rioja Baja has a Mediterranean climate. This area is known for both reds and rosés, both of which often have higher alcohol content.

Tasting #7 on Day 2

2.5 Corks

2008 El Círculo Pagos del Rey Cosecha (winery)
Purple with flecks of Ruby
Cherry, violet, strawberry candy, and a touch of spices
Medium tannins and high acid

3 Corks

2006 Vaza Cosecha (winery, snooth)
Medium Ruby
Cherry, vanilla, cedar, and leather
Medium body

3.5 Corks

2006 El Círculo Crianza (winery, snooth)
Medium ruby
Fruity, vanilla, smoke, and meat on the nose
Berries, cedar, and smoke in the mouth
Medium tannins and acidity

4 Corks

2006 Vina Zaco Bodegas Bilbainas (winery, snooth)
Deep ruby with purple flecks
Black plum, blackberry, cedar, and a touch of nutmeg on the nose
Medium-to-high tannins, acidity, and body
Very strong cedar and smoke flavors, mixed with black plums, blackberry, black pepper, and nutmeg

4.5 Corks

2006 Beronia Crianza Cosecha (winery, snooth)
85% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha
Medium ruby
Red berries, black pepper, and vanilla on the nose
Fruity with a nice blend of spices in the mouth
Medium tannins and high acidity

2004 Remírez de Ganuza (winery, snooth)
90% Tempranillo, 5% Viura
Deep ruby with purple tinge
Nice aromas—Cherries, blackberries, ripe plums, hints of violets, earth, and leather
Smoke, Cherry, violet, earth, and black pepper in the mouth
High tannins, high acidity, and full body

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