Wines Of Rioja Dinner At City Winery

City Winery Wines Of Rioja Dinner
Wines Of Rioja Dinner At City Winery
Wines Of Rioja Dinner At City Winery

Rioja is a region in Spain, half the size of Los Angeles, that produces over 600 wine varieties. For wine lovers and collectors, there is no greater bang for your buck than the wines from this region. With even Grand Reserves under $100 a bottle, the quality of the wine produced is amazing but still economical. A region known for its reds, we got to learn about the special production process, taking great care and emphasis on the aging, and also learned more about the unique and special whites that they just “get right” too. With four experts on the Rioja region to guide us, the guests at City Winery were treated to an evening on all things Rioja over a five course food and wine pairing, and as always included a few surprises.

City Winery Wines Of Rioja
First Course:
Black Mission Fig & Burrata Crostini
12-year balsamic vinegar / micro basil crispy shallot
Wine: CVNE Rosado 2022

CVNE Rosado is developed in Rioja Alta, a sub-region of the Rioja wine region. It is a little darker in color than a typical rose, just meaning the grapes were left a little longer in its skin, also making it a little more tanic. This element of the wine makes it a little more interesting on the palette and makes it a wonderful pairing with most foods. I can agree that the crisp wine complemented the creamy mild buratta and charred crostini nicely. I also enjoyed the slight sweetness that the fig added. While it is a wine that can be had all year round, it is especially great as we head into the winter months.

City Winery Wines Of Rioja
Second Course:
Grilled Artichoke
lemon/bottarga
Wine: El Pacto Blanco 2021 & El Coto Blanco 2019

The El Pacto Blanco wine is considered the “next gen” approach of the wines. While being a region that produced 91% reds, this wine is an example that Rioja can do it all. It is a fresher, smoother wine that speaks to younger generations, and is an elevated and enhanced version to the more typical village wines. With different profiles than the classic Rioja, it has a lovely expression with a nice freshness and elegance to it. It is considered to be a very high-end white wine and is also organic certified, produced by a family owned and operated vineyard.

While we just had a taste of this we were also presented with a second white, a 2019 El Coto Blanco. This is a grape that has been the hottest variety to plant in recent years. It has really nice citrus and fruit notes, also making it a beautiful fresh and expressive wine.

Third Course:
Crispy Lamb Sausage
whipped feta / fried mint / chili threads
Wine: Montecillo Reserva 2015 and Lopez de Haro Reserva 2017

This 2015 Riserva is aged in French Oak for 24 months and then for another 24 months in the bottle.. It has a really powerful complexity. Rioja prides itself on releasing wine when it is ready, as opposed to a quicker turnover just to make sales. For wines from Rioja, Reserva level is a sweet spot, it has just enough age in the barrel and bottle, maintains its immense quality, and all for a great price.

City Winery Wines Of Rioja Dinner
Fourth Course:
Head-On Prawn chorizo white bean puree
Wine: Montecillo Gran Reserva 2011

This 2011 Gran Reserve is more of a modern twist on old style Rioja production, which typically favors American Oak, by also adding the addition of French Oak. It ages in the barrel for 28 months and then for another four years in the bottle! It has a subtle sweetness, keeping its fruit profile, soft tanins, and a really exceptional finesse. It is also a very versatile wine and pairs with a variety of foods, such as cured meats or, how it was paired for us this evening, with the prawns.

Fifth Course:
Trio of aged Manchego
Wine: Baron De Ley Semi Dulce 2022

The Baron De Ley wine we had for dessert is brand new to the market and very impressive. It is a 100% Sauvignon Blanc wine and it has a fresh and bright fruity palette with notes like passion fruit, honey, or apricot. The vineyard is the highest altitude of any others in the Rioja region and this wine is a great example of the interesting things Rioja has accomplished in the area of white wines.

1948 CVNE Vina Real Reserva Especial
1948 CVNE Vina Real Reserva Especial

Finally we finished off the night with a special surprise, a 1948 vintage Cuve wine gifted to us by City Winery. The experience of this wine was as special as it sounds and the perfect way to wrap up the beautiful evening.

Video Recap

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