Best Free Wine Tasting - Asheville, North Carolina

Free Wine Tasting: What is Rioja?

Saturday, January 11th from 2-5 p.m. – So just what is Rioja? Is it a type of wine or is it a region? It’s actually both, and it also happens to be one of Spain’s most historic and recognized viticultural zones. Join us this Saturday as we break it down for you and talk to you about the region and the wines it produces, both white and red (and pink once we hit spring).

We’ll start with a white based entirely on Viura, the grape responsible for most White Riojas before we move into a set of reds. First up is the Orlegi from producer Luberri, an un-oaked, 100% Tempranillo that shows bright and zesty notes of cherry and darker berries; in a nutshell, it’s got that backbone of acidity that makes your mouth water and makes you want to slam the entire bottle. We’ll finish with the Crianza from Vina Pomal, another 100% Tempranillo that saw one year aging in American oak before being aged for another year in bottle before release. These are all friendly and delicious wines to have with or without food. Stop by this Saturday and increase your knowledge of Rioja, one taste at a time. Below is a list of the wines we’ll pour:

1. 2010 Mencos Rioja Blanco
100% old vine Viura fermented in stainless steel, this is kind of like a Spanish version of Sauvignon Blanc………kind of. Light and chalky, it offers up enticing notes of lemon, green apple, pear and spice. Those in the know would refer to this as “classic White Rioja.”

2. 2012 Luberri Rioja “Orlegi”
Importer Andre Tamers of De Maison Selections knocks it out of the park with his Spanish selections, and he only works with small family estates. One of them is Luberri, and this small family estate only works with Tempranillo from older vineyards. The Orlegi is their return to the old, fresh, fruity and mellow Rioja. With lots of fresh berries, spices and floral notes, this is no one dimensional wine.

3. 2010 Vina Pomal Rioja Crianza
Crianza is a Spanish term that refers to the aging process of a wine; by law a Crianza must be aged for at least a year in oak barrels and a year in bottle before release. Vina Pomal’s is 100% Tempranillo and the extended aging on this one results in more evolved and mature flavors — dried cherry, earthy spice and forest floor notes permeate the nose and palate of this medium bodied red wine.