two Tempranillo wines, a 2005 Cantos de Valpiedra and a 2004 Palacios Remondo La Montesa Crianza. Here again the group was unanimous in its verdict that the Cantos de Valpiedra worked best with the dish because of its light and
well with the saltiness of the of good balance and depth
dish. The La Montesa is a wine but lacked the overt fruitiness
required by the dish.
Our fourth dish was also fish, a
spectacular and creative cod with smoked Idiazabal sauce, dried fruits and Pedro Ximenez reduction. Cooked briefly and combined with a cream of spinach, Idiazabal sauce, pine nuts and a PX reduction, this smooth and buttery
dish was truly paired with it:
And so was the wonderful wine
a 2001 Montecillo Gran Reserva.
couldn’t have been more this humble Gran Reserva
surprised and elated at how paired with the rich Bacalao.
Pairing Rioja wines with two meat dishes was our next
challenge. Cune 2001 Cañas 2004
We had three terrific Reservas to marry: a
Real, a Lan
2004 Reserva and a Luis The first dish consisted of
tender lamb chops with a (grated cauliflower lightly appearance) and rosemary pork cheeks with oranges. for 7 hours in orange juice rosemary, roast onion and
wonderful cauliflower couscous sautéed and like couscous in sauce. The second was braised The cheeks were cooked initially with orange zest, chicken broth, leeks. They were then cooked
and rich flavor.
Of the three wines we tasted,
were essentially in agreement on the following:
tenderness our tasters the Hiru 3
phenomenal wine, international in style with expensive oak, served up in an elegant style.
qualities complemented Reserva with its soft very feel was a close second.
both dishes the best, but the Cune ripe sweet flavors and round mouth
We concluded our tasting with a palate cleansing fresh Loriñon Rioja sorbet which hit the spot and prepared us for the final cheese course with a very special treat—a
preview of on Sherry.
the upcoming International Wine Review report For this course we combined two cheeses: a
pungent Picon blue cheese and a soft an Alvear Pedro Ximenz “Solera 1927”
La Serena with
this dark amber colored sherry was “liquid raisins” outstanding nose of honey and sweet molasses and a
with an viscous
mouth feel perfectly balanced extraordinary tasting!!!!
Let us know about your experiences pairing Rioja wines with food. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or post your comments on our blog.
The Market for Rioja
Ever since the French produced wine in Rioja to replace that lost in the phylloxera-infested vineyards of Bordeaux, exports have been important to Rioja but never more so than today. In 2007 Rioja exported 31 percent of its production [i.e., bottled wine of all types supplied to the market]. Rioja’s dependence on the export market has grown over time as per capita wine consumption in Spain has declined, although the share of total production exported has remained essentially unchanged over the past decade. The export market is particularly important when it comes to premium wines [reserva and gran reserva] which represent 31 percent of exports but only 14 percent of domestic consumption.
Two countries dominate the export market—the UK with a 37 percent share of total Rioja exports and Germany with a 17 percent share. The US has a minor share [8%] of the market, especially given its population. The devaluation of the dollar relative to the Euro poses a special challenge to marketing Rioja in the US. According to data generously provided to us by the Rioja Wine Exporters Association, Rioja exporters have on average adjusted to this to some extent by reducing their export prices [in Euros] to the US, but the rising US dollar price of a popular Rioja crianza like El Coto puts it at a new price point forcing it to compete with premium wines from elsewhere in the world. This, in turn, puts pressure on Rioja exporters to improve the quality of their products. But it also means that Rioja wines are unlikely to be competitive at the lower end of the market, where wines from Argentina, Chile, and other parts of Spain may offer better value.
Rioja exporters have adjusted to the weakness of the dollar in part by moving up-market. A recent American survey by the Rioja Wine Exporters Association shows, for example, that in New York 37 percent of the Rioja wine found on the shelves of major wine stores is priced above $40 per bottle. The hitherto small size of the American market also helps. Most Rioja wineries have had a limited presence in the US market, so there’s upside potential as more wineries begin aggressive marketing.
Aside from the falling dollar, another challenge facing producers wishing to increase US sales is the reputation of Rioja as being old-fashioned, light-bodied, and over- oaked. In the US market where consumers appear to prefer fruit forward, richly concentrated wines that reputation, however false it may be, is damaging. In this respect, the industry-wide promotion efforts like that of the VibrantRioja campaign targeted on changing the consumer’s impression
of Rioja would appear successful in their efforts
increase market share in the
Rioja producers need to in addition showcasing their wines in person.
In sum, despite the rising dollar price of Rioja wines in the US, the future in terms of both sales volume and quality appears bright, especially if the wineries and their industry associations, including the Consejo Regulador, continue and expand their ambitious marketing efforts.