The Rise of Rioja Wines

Written by Fraser Neilson

For many people Spanish wine either means cava - their excellent local sparkling wine made byrepparttar same traditional method asrepparttar 145432 finest champagnes – or Rioja,repparttar 145433 famous red full of ripe fruit flavours and delicious creamy vanilla.

The name itself refers to wines grown inrepparttar 145434 Rioja region of North Eastern Spain which is nearrepparttar 145435 River (or Rio) Oja, hencerepparttar 145436 name. Few other wines getrepparttar 145437 same exposure asrepparttar 145438 Riojas so it is easy to forgetrepparttar 145439 number of other great Spanish wines that there are available, which is not surprising really as Spain hasrepparttar 145440 highest acreage under vine inrepparttar 145441 world and consequently a number of very different and very interesting wine regions.

One ofrepparttar 145442 main selling points of Rioja wines are their consistent high quality. It is probably a testament torepparttar 145443 Rioja Regulatory Council thatrepparttar 145444 quality control is generally so good that people know if they spend $13 or $14 on a bottle that they are pretty much guaranteed a good one.

Rioja wines are made fromrepparttar 145445 Tempranillo grape, which is sometimes supplemented with Garnacha, Graciano, or Mazuelo andrepparttar 145446 actual wine is divided into four main categories based on whole longrepparttar 145447 wine is aged for.

Afterrepparttar 145448 most basic version ofrepparttar 145449 wine, simply called Rioja,repparttar 145450 categories are as follows :

Crianza : Spends at least one year in oak and several months inrepparttar 145451 bottle. Reserva : These wines are aged for a minimum total of three years which includes at least one year in oak. Gran Reserva : Aged for at least five years with a minimum of two years in oak and three inrepparttar 145452 bottle. And despite these old classifications ofrepparttar 145453 wine, Rioja is adapting torepparttar 145454 impact and competition of New World wines from places such as Chile and Australia.

The First Rule of Wine Drinking

Written by Fraser Neilson

Don’t listen to what allrepparttar self appointed wine buffs and wine snobs say – it’s what you like that counts.

It’s not what Mr X, Mrs Y or Sommelier Z says but what you personally enjoy that matters when it comes to wine. Taste is individual to you and must always be treated as such.

If you like really “unsophisticated” sweet German wines such as those 70s standards Liebfraumilsch or Hock (which incidentally almost put a whole generation off drinking wine) then that’s great.

Feel free to carry on drinking them but make sure that you takerepparttar 145431 time to carry on experimenting with other wines of a similar nature or perhaps a different style of your preferred grape.

If you like a white Burgundy, such asrepparttar 145432 steely Chablis, then you may also like other wines matured in metal casks such as a Sancerre.

If you enjoy a nice Sauvignon Blanc then take a look at a South African Chenin Blanc. But don’t put yourself off by scaring your palate through trying completely new and perhaps a bit ‘left field’ choices immediately.

Work up to these experiments. Tryrepparttar 145433 more obvious ones first. If you go from a nice oaky Australian Chardonnay to a Gewurtztraminer right away you might never appreciaterepparttar 145434 subtle pleasures ofrepparttar 145435 German speciality, which is a bit of an acquired taste for most people though it can be dynamite paired withrepparttar 145436 right foods.

And when it comes to teaming wine with food thenrepparttar 145437 same rules apply. If you like your oysters with a full-bodied claret rather than a dry white or a champagne, then that is great too.

White wine with fish dishes isrepparttar 145438 accepted combination worldwide but now many people are realisingrepparttar 145439 delights of eating a ‘meaty fish’ such as tuna with a light red wine.

However do bear one thing in mind :repparttar 145440 ‘rules’ have evolved over time and reflectrepparttar 145441 preferences of millions of palates over many generations of fine dining. Likerepparttar 145442 classics of fiction,repparttar 145443 classic combinations of food and drink are exactly that for a reason – they have proven to be superior over time.

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