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ISSUE #7, NOVEMBER 2009

IN THIS ISSUE:

THIS THANKSGIVING, THINK RIOJA!


WINE FUTURE RIOJA 2009

REMEMBER TO TALK TO US ON FACEBOOK AND TWTTER


RESPONDING TO READER’S COMMENTS – A CLOSER LOOK AT TEMPRANILLO


SHARING YOUR PHOTOS – JUAN PEDRO & CHARO

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


    THIS THANKSGIVING, THINK RIOJA!
 

Be ready to undo your belt, or better yet, get your elastic waistband pants ready! Turkey, pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, muffins, cranberries, corn, gravy, sweet potatoes, ham, candied yams, green bean casserole, deviled eggs, stuffing, pecan pie, apple pie… and RIOJA! That’s right, no other wine in the world complements a Thanksgiving meal so beautifully. And it’s not just us saying this – though we’re obviously not denying it… check out Heather John’s article in Bon Appétit magazine, “Give thanks, drink Spanish.”

So, why are Rioja wines so good for a thanksgiving feast? Well, because Riojas are typically characterized for their hint of cherries, berries, earthiness and spice – a well-balanced wine that pairs perfectly with turkey, mashed potatoes and everything on a Thanksgiving meal. So remember, this Thanksgiving, think Rioja! And if you want some food-pairing advice, go to our food pairing section on www.vibrantrioja.com.

 
  WINEFUTURE RIOJA 2009
 

Robert Parker, along with some of the world’s most influential wine writers and educators, selected Rioja as the location for the internationally renowned WineFuture conference on November 12th and 13th – discussing the global financial crisis, the environment, sales, trends and challenges.

The conference started with David Cunningham of Constellation Wines addressing the global economic crisis and its effects on wine sales. Though restaurants are hurting, consumers are still buying wines. And instead of obsessing about price, the industry needs to pay attention to consumers and stress quality over price.

Technology also became an important theme throughout the conference, especially since the internet and social media have allowed all consumers to have a say – potentially diluting content in print publications. Gary Vaynerchuck maintains that now “that content is king, the cream will rise to the top” – in other words, good storytellers and writers will rise above the rest of the content.

Want to read more about WineFuture Rioja 2009? Visit www.winefuture.es.

Do you have any tasting notes or stories about any Riojas? Remember to send them to us at newsletter@vibrantrioja.com, and we’ll publish them in our newsletter!

 
  REMEMBER TO TALK TO US ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER
 

Can’t get enough of Rioja wines? Do you have any questions or comments? Want to tell us about a fantastic Rioja you’ve tried? Would you like to share your Rioja party pictures with us? Make sure you follow us on Twitter @RiojaWine and become a fan of Rioja Wine on Facebook.

 
  RESPONDING TO READER’S COMMENTS – A CLOSER LOOK AT TEMPRANILLO
 

This time, we’re going to take a look at Rioja’s most prevalent varietal: Tempranillo.

Known as the king of grapes in the Rioja Region, Tempranillo is Spain’s classic varietal, known for its vibrancy and variety. In fact, 78% of all the grapes planted in the region are Tempranillo. Needless to say, Tempranillo is synonymous with Rioja. Expressive when young, and velvety rich when aged, the taste can vary from hints of vanilla, cherries and currants to coconut.

In the cooler growing areas of Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa, Tempranillo produces wines with good acidity and structure. In contrast, the warmer area of Rioja Baja produces fruitier wines.

For more information on Rioja and its varietals, please visit www.vibrantrioja.com/grapes.html.

 
  SHARING YOUR STORY – JUAN PEDRO & CHARO
 
 

Charo and son Juan Pedro, avid Rioja drinkers and readers of our newsletters, have been gracious enough to send us a picture of their trip to Rioja. They recently visited Lopez de Heredia and Juan Alcorta, where they drank delicious reds and enjoyed the sights. Take a look for yourselves and if you want to send us your pictures or stories, email us at newsletter@vibrantrioja.com!

 
 

FROM JILL’S COOKBOOK – Macaroni and Cheese… all grown up
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.

 
 


We know what you’re thinking… Mac and cheese as a Thanksgiving side? Why not? It’s an American classic – like Thanksgiving – but with a Spanish twist that makes it perfect for Riojas.

Here is the slightly dressed up version of the old favorite. Smokey, spicy, and cheesy- it's the love child of spaghetti carbonara and traditional mac and cheese.  This is a perfect side dish for the Holiday table, or a stand-alone meal on a chilly night.

MACARONI AND CHEESE
Serves 8

Please note that leeks are very sandy.  To clean them, first cut them and put them ina bowl of cold water. Agitate the water a bit. The sand will sink to the bottom and the leeks will float to the top. Remove leeks from water and put on paper towels to dry.

Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound elbow pasta
4 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or paprika
1 1/4 cups grated manchego (5 ounces)
1 1/4 cups shredded white cheddar cheese (5 ounces)
8 ounces pancetta or bacon, finely chopped
2 slices white bread
 
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta for 8 minutes; drain and reserve.   Melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, stirring occasionally, cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk in flour to coat onion. In a slow steady stream, whisk in milk until there are no lumps.
2. Cook, whisking often, until mixture is thick and bubbly and coats the back of a wooden spoon, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in cayenne or paprika and 1 cup of each cheese. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
3. Toss pasta with cheese mixture; fold in pancetta or bacon. Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or individual dishes. Set aside.
4. In a food processor, pulse bread until large crumbs form. Toss together with remaining 1/4 cup each of cheddar and manchego, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Top pasta with breadcrumb mixture. Bake until top is golden, about 30 minutes.
5. Note: This recipe makes enough to fill eight 12-to-16-ounce baking dishes. Divide the macaroni and cheese evenly, sprinkle with topping, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden.