With hot days and cool nights, Rueda's climate is ideal for the Verdejo grapes to flourish. The Rueda Verdejos are bright, crisp and creative. Ribera's hot summers and rocky, rigid terrain make it a paradise for the Tempranillo grapes. The Ribera del Duero Tempranillos are bold, rugged and ripe.
The second tasting occurred on the comfort of my back porch. I was sent four bottles of wine - two Ruedas and two Riberas along with an Amex gift card to purchase foods for pairing. We invited friends over and threw a little wine tasting and tapas party. Let's dive right into the wines tasting notes, shall we?!
Valdecuevas, DiWine Frizzante Verdejo 2011 (Rueda) - pale yellow color. slightly sparkling with smooth and intense floral notes and sweet tropical background flavors.
Shaya, Arindo Verdejo 2011 (Rueda) - juicy and ripe with flavors of citrus, yellow apple, pineapple and pear.
Raiz De Guzman, Roble Tempranillo 2013 (Ribera) - intense cherry color. clean and balanced. aromas of raspberry balsamic. great minerality with a hint of smoke.
Lopez Cristobal, Bagus Tempranillo 2011 (Ribera) - complex, full bodied and powerful. Aromas of ripe red and black fruits. Flavors of cherry, blackberry, spice and chocolate.
Inspired by the cheese pairing notes from their Master Sommelier Alex LePratt, and my trip to Spain in 2011 (specifically San Sebastian) I created a spread to include:
A board featuring taleggio and manchego cheeses, jamon and chorizo.
Anchovy wrapped olives and goat cheese stuffed peppadews.
A Pintxos plate - baguette slices layered with jamon, pimento pepper, hard boiled egg and anchovy.
A Summer Corn and Cotija Cheese Dip served in a cast iron skillet with tortilla chips. This dip is made by sauteing olive oil, shallots and garlic with fresh corn and combining it with a mixture of cotija cheese, cream cheese and sour cream. Despite its unphotogenic qualities, it was terrific and got a lot of compliments!
For the main course we feasted on smokey, spicy, sriracha grilled ribs with an avocado, tomato and black bean salad (Provided by our guests - my sister, Leah and her boyfriend, Alex) and grilled garlic shrimp over zesty Spanish rice.
The Roble Tempranillo with Taleggio cheese Taleggio is an aged cows milk cheese from Lombardy, Italy. The cheese is rich, soft, buttery and a little funky. It works well spread over a fresh baguette and sipped alongside the lush Roble Tempranillo with complementing flavors of dill, vanilla, smoke and dark fruits. The Roble's lively mouthfeel washes down the aged cheese while cleansing your palette for the next bite.
The Arindo Verjedo with Cotija Cheese
Cotija is a young cows milk cheese from Mexico which is mild, salty and crumbly. As it ages it acquires a nutty, tangier flavor and a drier, coarser texture - making it ideal for topping salads, tacos and corn. It is also delightful when paired with the refreshing Arindo Verjedo - this wines contrasting lemony-citrus flavors with a hint of salinity and a crisp texture lends itself nicely to this rich, creamy, ultra cheesy dip!
The DiWine Frizzante Verdejo with the Pintxos.
Pinxtos and sparkling wine (although typically Txtakoli wine as both originate in Basque Country, Spain) go together like bread and butter. Something about the petite, eye catching bite with a mash up of tasty components washed down by a crisp, frizzante wine is so simple and perfect.
The Bagus Tempranillo with barbeque ribs.
This was one of those wines that had everyone doing a double take (double sip?) and exclaiming "wow, that is different!!" Same went for those ribs that had a spicier than expected, but really awesome heat from the sriracha marinade. The Bagus Tempranillo with its bold, powerful flavors, balanced minerality and a touch of smoke can really stand up to that spicy, smokey barbecue. They make a fantastic pair.
Special shout-out to the Arindo for best label. :)
It is pretty obvious if you know me or read this blog regularly, it has been the spring and summer of Rosé. I was drinking Rosé nearly every day - happy hour after work paired with oysters, sunset on the beach, my girls trip.... So, It was really exciting to gain exposure to something NEW! And to share it with friends in two equally fun atmospheres. Ribera and Rueda regions and their gorgeous grapes produce vibrant, unique and creative wines. Sí-ing What's Next is what it's all about!
*The VIP Tickets to Taste of Cambridge, the bottles of wine which retail between $9-$30 each and a $200 Amex gift card were provided to me by the Si What's next Campaign. All opinions are my own!*