Drinking and Pairing Rioja with Food

Rioja is a winegrowing region situated on the River Ebro in the north of Spain. Rioja produces excellent rosado (rosé) and white wines, but is best known as a red wine region. The red wines of Rioja are produced mainly from the Tempranillo grape which is blended with Garnacha, Graciano, and Mazuela. Rioja is known for its oakiness, which was interestingly traditionally from American oak barrels, although the wines are now kept in wood for shorter timeframes than in the past. The words Crianza, Reserva, and Gran Reserva on the label will give an indication as to how long the wine has been aged in wood. Crianza is a fresh, early-drinking style of red Rioja having spent one year in barrel, while Gran Reserva must be aged in wood for a minimum of two years plus three in bottle.

Serve red Rioja with strongly flavored dishes such as game, roasts, and grilled meats and vegetables.

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Rioja pairs well with:

Game Meats

Beans/Legumes

South American cuisine

Foods cooked via Braise/Soup/Stew

Savory dishes