Santé Magazine: The Dozen – Affordable Spanish Gold

By Roger Morris

Riojas come at a very affordable price.

When I first visited Rioja about 20 years, everyone from hotel clerks to cab drivers, when they found out I was there to write about their wines, immediately expressed their preferences regarding the style of Rioja reds.

“I prefer the freshness of crianza,” one would say.

“I like the maturity of the reserva,” another would venture.

There is much to like about Riojas of both styles – the younger and the aged. Made primarily from Tempranillo grapes but often with generous dollops of Graciano, Garnacha, and Mazuelo, they are often compared in style to the reds of Bordeaux, a region with which Rioja has always had a special relationship. Rioja is a vast and beautiful area, a part of which is in Basque country and located not too far south of Balboa.

While other regions such as Ribera del Duero and Priorat have gained stature in recent years, Rioja, in the eyes of the Spaniards, is still the gold standard for that country’s red wines. So, enjoy the very affordable ones we have here.

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