Rioja, Spain’s most famous wine region, is mostly known for its rich, oaked red wines made from tempranillo grapes. But Rioja is also home to white wines as well as reds made from other grapes. In fact, there is actually a white tempranillo grape. It was discovered by accident in a Rioja vineyard in the 1980s when some of the vines produced a yellow-green mutation instead of the expected dark red variety. A tempranillo blanco wine is reviewed below along with a Rioja red made from garnacha (grenache).
Bodegas del Medievo 2018 Tuerce Botas, Tempranillo Blanco, Rioja, SpainBought • Parker’s Table, 7118 Oakland Avenue, in November for $14.99
Description • The Tuerce Botas is a rare find because it’s made from 100 percent tempranillo blanco. In addition to being planted in only limited quantities in Rioja, the grape is most often used in a blend rather than bottled as a single varietal. This is an aromatic, medium-bodied white that’s soft with a rich mouth-coating texture. It has distinctive tropical flavors and ends with a bitter almond finish. This is a flavorful white that would go with roasted chicken and spicy curries.
Burgo Viejo 2016 Old Vine Garnacha, Rioja, Spain
Bought • Parker’s Table, 7118 Oakland Avenue, in November for $14.99
Description • This delicious wine, which received 90 points from wine critic James Suckling, comes from the Mediterranean-influenced subregion of Rioja Oriental. Known as Rioja Baja until last year, the subregion is famous for its garnacha. Soft and very easy to drink, this is a fruity red that tastes of juicy raspberries and other red fruit. It’s a medium-bodied, versatile red with silky tannins that can be enjoyed with everything from beef to grilled salmon.