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ISSUE #5, SEPTEMBER 2009

IN THIS ISSUE:

CELEBRATE LABOR DAY WITH RIOJA – TIME TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL


‘EASY TO DRINK’ WINES


BLAME IT ON RIOJA BLOG


FROM JILL’S COOKBOOK




TALK TO US

Do you have a favorite recipe and Rioja wine you’d like us to try? Have a great story about wine or Rioja that you’d like us to print? Or a question you’ve been wanting to ask about food and wine pairing, travel to Spain or other Rioja topics? Talk to us! Send us your ideas, recipes or stories. Simply contact newsletter@VibrantRioja.com


     
CELEBRATE LABOR DAY WITH RIOJA – TIME TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL
 

Summer vacation is almost over and the new school year is set to begin after Labor Day. For those of us with children, this means making sure everything is ready for school – backpacks, clothes, books, pencils, etc… But it’s also important to celebrate this extended weekend with friends and family and, of course, a nice bottle of Rioja (or two). So go ahead, congratulate yourselves for another wonderful summer and successful school year and get ready to do it all over again. And, as always, Rioja will be there to help!

 
  ‘EASY TO DRINK’ WINES
 

It’s not often that we include articles regarding wine in our newsletter. However, we need to make an exception for an article that really caught our attention. On August 5, W. Blake Gray wrote on the L.A. Times about the term “easy to drink” when it comes to wines. “Easy to drink” has become an insult for wines, when, in reality, it really should be praise. “Easy to drink” means that you don’t notice the alcohol, acidity or sweetness because it’s not overpowering. In reds, it’s essential that the tannins are smooth. These are not bad qualities, these simply mean that the wine is balanced. Another misconception: it doesn’t mean that the wines are simple or cheap.

Take Rioja Reservas or Gran Reservas. These wines are released significantly later than other reds so they have time to mellow. These wines actually allow you taste your food – again, a very good thing. Unfortunately, many of the problems arise from the way wines are rated. Usually, critics rate and taste wines in groups of 50 or more, so only those that “stand out” get the highest scores. Wines that are easy to drink don’t stand out so quickly.

So next time you go to a restaurant or a store, ask for a wine that’s “easy to drink” – you can thank us and W. Blake Gray later. For the complete article, please click here.

 
  BLAME IT ON RIOJA BLOG
 

Want to read more about Rioja and wines? Besides visiting our website, www.VibrantRioja.com, you can also check out Adrian Murcia’s blog, Blame It On Rioja. Adrian Murcia is a New York-based sommelier, writer, educator, and unreformed lifetime Riojaphile. In his blog, you can learn more about Spain’s premier winemaking region, tasting notes, travel dispatches and more. Enjoy!

 
 
 

FROM JILL’S COOKBOOK – Chocolate Potatoes
Jill Paradiso is a classically trained chef that has worked in the kitchens of Mario Batali and Jean-Georges Vongerichten – you might recognize them. She has also done recipe development for Martha Stewart, Whole Foods Markets, and Dean and Deluca and she’s been kind enough to share some of her recipes with us.

 
 


CHOCOLATE POTATOES

I recently served this side dish along side a mixed grill of pork sausage, lamb chops, and steak.  You could easily serve it along side chicken or a meatier fish.  Clearly, these potatoes offer a variety of pairing opportunities, and they are surprisingly easy and delicious!

You will need three pieces of aluminum foil for the recipe.
Serves 4 (as a side dish)

2 lbs potatoes, cut in half lengthwise
*I recommend using either small, red potatoes (also known as new potatoes) or fingerling potatoes
1/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped (you can also use chocolate chips)
2 tablespoons coffee grinds
1 table olive oil
sea salt, to taste

1.Place cut potatoes on 1 piece of aluminum foil. Fold foil around potatoes to create a boat.
2. Add remainder of ingredients.
3.Cover the top of the potatoes with a second piece of foil to create a sealed package. Wrap the entire package with the third piece of foil- this will ensure that no liquids leak out.
4.Place foil package directly on grill. Cook about 20 minutes, or until fork tender. Cooking time may vary slightly, depending upon the size of the potatoes.

Once the potatoes are cooked through, I like to leave them on the grill for at least another 5 minutes so that the bottoms crisp!

 
  RESPONDING TO READERS' COMMENTS
 

Catie B., you can definitely substitute pork for other meats, though please remember that the flavors will be different, as chorizo has a very distinct taste and spice. However, don’t worry, it will still be delicious!

Joe S., we don’t put links on our newsletters for the recipes. However, you can view that recipe and many others at www.VibrantRioja.com, under the ‘Fun’ section. Good luck and let us know how they go!

Enjoy a glass of Rioja!
Salud!
The Vibrant Rioja Wine Team