(It's Monday... time to get your votes in on the wine. We enjoyed it over a charcuterie lunch spread this weekend - girls' weekend in the country - everyone loved it, even the cornichons liked being paired with it. And you...?)
Name: 2000 Marques de Riscal Rioja Riserva Grape: Tempranillo Based Blend Region: Rioja Price: $13.99 to $15.99 Stores: Wine House (2311 Cotner Ave, Los Angeles), Beacon Wines & Spirits, (2120 Broadway), K& D Wines & Spirits (1366 Madison Avenue), Sherry Lehmann (679 Madison Avenue), Union Square Wines & Spirits (33 Union Square), America’s Wine Shop (398 3rd Ave) and Soho Wines & Spirits (461 W Broadway) Our homework this week was not inspired by Wednesday's New York Times article, that was purely a coincidence. Rather the suggestion stemmed from the desire to find something interesting and available on both coasts. Marques de Riscal is an older winery, founded in the 1850's, that breaks many current day Spanish traditions. Between hiring Rioja should have dark, ripe concentrated fruit with some Christmas spice: cinnamon and nutmeg. There is a chance that it may show some aged characteristics: browning around the edges, and a sherry-like taste, these flavors will be an indication of an old world Rioja style. Rioja shines when paired with smoked meats, salty foods like Boquerones and cheese; although it would also pair well with our theme of meat based winter soups.