You might have heard that the James Beard Foundation hosted it’s 2015 award show this past week here in Chicago for the first time. While that alone is very exciting, the various events that joined in the festivities was also very fun for those of us who love exploring the food and wine world.
The Rioja Wine and Tapas Festival planned a celebration of their wines to be held at Union Station benefitting the James Beard Foundation. More than 200 wines, tapas, jamon bar, cheese cave, paella garden, live music and a wealth of talented chefs were the hit of the show. Besides the obvious opportunity to try different wines and tapas native to this region, it also inspired future travel to Spain to see the beauty of the land firsthand. In the meantime, I thought I would share a little about the Rioja region with you to entice you to try the delicious wines and foods of the area.
The highly talented Chefs:
Rioja is a privileged region for growing grapes and making top-quality wines, with a unique personality and an exceptional aptitude for ageing. The Rioja wine region is located in northern Spain, on both sides of the River Ebro. Rioja is bordered by mountains and threaded with rivers. Known for its world class wine and delicious cuisine – from tapas to culinary creations – the region highlights its beautiful landscape and its medieval walled-villages, mixed with some of the most incredible modern architecture in the world.
In terms of wines, the region produces renowned reds as well as excellent whites and rosados. The region’s cool growing conditions and sheltered climate produces elegant wines that are well balanced and structured with bright acidity, moderate alcohol, well integrated tannins with aging potential, all under stringent quality controls worldwide.
The grape varieties that are currently authorized in Rioja are:
- RED: Tempranillo, Garnacha, Graciano, Mazuelo, Maturana Tinta
- WHITE: Viura, Malvasia, Garnacha Blanca, Tempranillo Blanco, Maturana Blanca, Turruntes, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Verdejo
And of course the tapas themselves:
Lest we forget dessert,
Sweet Basil Gelato with Rioja Poached Beets and Fresh Blueberries or Banana Sorbet with Milk Chocolate, Caramel and Chili Lime Peanuts
Chocolate Pecan Pie
Some fabulous musical ambience of Spain:
The Union Station Architecture:
If you haven’t tried wines from Rioja, Spain, you need to explore the varieties. You will be thrilled with what you discover. And may just be as intrigued about a trip to Spain as I am.
For the James Beard winners, please see http://www.jamesbeard.org/blog/2015-james-beard-award-winners
Thanks for stopping by!