Rioja and the Magic of Wine

So here I am back at work in my office trying to figure out the regions of Germany when I receive an email from one of our wine purveyors featuring one of my favorite wine regions from my absolute favorite producer.

What’s a girl to do but buy a case with good intentions to sell but bad thoughts of stashing it away so no one will dare see it?

That was yesterday, and now I am back in the office-slash-wine-store-slash-disaster area, and this special wine has arrived. 

I tear open the box, and my day brightens immediately.  The vintage is 2000, and the wine is getting ready to celebrate its 10th birthday of when the grapes were harvested.  Without hesitation, I grab the bottle, get my corkscrew, find a wine glass and start tasting. 

The magic of wine is confirmed in the first sniff.  Stewed berries, Brazilian coffee, roasted corn, spicy leather and dried roses.  The aromas continue and expand as I sniff deeper and longer. 

Once I take the first sip, I know that my entire weekend will be a bitter rivalry of whether to share or protect.  It’s too delicious and too perfect not to let others have a taste of just how special wine can be.  

This wine is a love-at-first-sip wine.  A wine that makes you want more.  A wine that you don’t ever want to leave once you have it in your cellar.  It is a wine that gives you conflicting thoughts on whether to enjoy or whether to hold on for dear life because of how will you feel once it’s gone. 

I know this all sounds pretty intense, but I promise you this wine makes me feel all of these emotions, and if you are a red wine lover, I have a feeling you won’t be spared either.

Let’s talk a little bit about the wine.

Rioja–a region in Spain making red, white and rose.  The reds are Tempranillo-based, and this is the wine I am making love to as I write.  The producer is La Rioja Alta, and this particular bottling is the Vina Ardanza.  Vina Ardanza is their Reserva, meaning the wine has been aged a minimum of 3 years before being released, one year in oak and 2 years in bottle.  Allowing the wine to age on its own with no chance of being opened or drunk before it’s ready, the wine undergoes a period of maturation, where it develops and becomes more of a grown up. 

In other words, it’s like having a conversation with someone who has experience and knowledge versus talking to a toddler. 

In this case, the Vina Ardanza has about 25% Garnacha blended in with the Tempranillo.  That Garnacha gives the wine its spicy element that I, along with so many, absolutely adore.

The wine isn’t full-bodied.  I’ts sexy and pretty and elegant.  The wine isn’t laden with oak.  It has just the perfect amount of perfume.  The wine is perfectly made with grapes that have been grown in the perfect spot.  I would say this wine defines pedigree, if there ever was one. 

Am I biased?  Of course, I am.  Not because I know anyone involved in the winemaking, grape growing or anything related to the winery.  I am biased towards well made wine that defines a region and its history.  This wine is all of that and then some.

If you’re at On the Square tonight, find me.  I have 3 glasses left to share with those who are interested in the magic of wine.

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