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Rich and Oaky, White Rioja Bends the Summer Standard

2017
10 August
2017-08-10 00:00:00
2017-08-10 00:00:00

Rich and Oaky, White Rioja Bends the Summer Standard

Good white Rioja is not your typical summer white. It’s weighty not light, rich not tangy, and it demands a little more thought than the usual thirst quencher.

What’s more, good white Rioja is not so much about fruit as it is about the absence of it. Savory, oaky, mineral, spicy, nutlike; these words all come to mind. Citrus is the closest white Rioja comes to fruit, and, really, that is more of an allusion to its lively acidity than it is to a distant family member of the grape.

Still, white Rioja can be a great wine for summer. Lobster and corn, scallops, crab, meaty white fish like halibut — all of these would benefit from the rich embrace of a classic example. Good Riojas are refreshing, a quality that has more to do with balance and energy than it does lightness.

I had been thinking about white Rioja recently because it has been many years since the wine panel looked at a cross section of this unusual category. With that in mind, we recently tasted 20 white Riojas, including bottles from nine different vintages, from 2015 going back to 2003.

Why cast such a wide net? I will explain shortly. For the tasting, Florence Fabricant and I were joined by two guests, Ashley Santoro, wine director of the Standard East Village, and Rachel Merriam, wine director at Casa Mono and Bar Jamon near Union Square.

Read more here.

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2017-08-10 00:00:00
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