The scenery in this Rioja is entrancing, ringed by picturesque mountain ranges and filled with vineyards and medieval hilltop towns. The locally grown food stuffs are super flavorful. The wines are delicious and full of history and interest. I am dying to go back.
La Rioja Alta is one of Rioja's largest and most consistent traditional style producers. They are well represented in America by several distributors, so their wines are among the easiest of the traditional Rioja producers to get your hands on.
A region that has long made high-quality, ageworthy wines that, with a few decades on them, are very reminiscent of fine old Barolos and Bordeaux is Rioja -- Spain's illustrious red wine-producing region.
Tempranillo -- the grape whose Spanish incarnations as both traditional and modern-style Rioja I've been writing about here for the past few weeks -- is highly versatile, food friendly and capable of great things.
There's a gentility and refinement to the wines that's not unlike the winemaker himself, and their complexity produces both pleasure and engages the intellect, again, much like spending time with Miguel.
As is true in most longtime wine producing regions, some of Rioja's greatest producers are those that have evolved over generations, one generation sharing its wisdom, acquired over decades of successes and failures, with the next.
I've been a fan of wines from Spain's Rioja region for some years, and was therefore hugely excited to visit Rioja last month. In a trip filled with highlights, my visit to Franco-Españolas winery was a standout for me for several reasons.
For those of us whose passion for wine is far greater than casual, technically-correct wine is okay, but hardly exciting. Exciting wine needs personality and charm. Personality and charm start with something that makes one wine unique from another.