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VOLUME 2 ISSUE 6
JULY 2010

IN THIS ISSUE:

4TH OF JULY CELEBRATION

WORLD CUP AND RIOJA

SEE RIOJA LIKE NEVER BEFORE

SPOTLIGHT ON RIOJA: HOTEL VIURA

RIOJA JULY EVENTS













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

Happy 4th of July from Rioja!

Salud!

The Vibrant Rioja Wine Team

   
4TH OF JULY CELEBRATION – INCLUDING RIOJA IN YOUR PLANS?
 

This year, bring your friends and family together in your 4th of July celebrations with Rioja! Whether you’re planning a big celebration or a more intimate gathering, nothing brings people together like good food and good wine. And – as you all already know – no other wines in the world pair better with food than Rioja.

So, let’s quickly go down the checklist of a successful 4th of July celebration: Family. Good friends. Riojas (we recommend starting with a nice rosé to fend off the scorching hot sun, though we highly endorse drinking whites and reds as well). Fireworks. A grill. Riojas. Food. Sun. Riojas.

Follow this simple checklist – and yes, we’re aware that three of the nine items are Rioja… that’s how important we think they are – for a great celebration! Make sure to send us your stories and pictures at newsletter@vibrantrioja.com. You may be featured in future newsletters!

 
  WORLD CUP AND RIOJA
 

We tried, but we really couldn’t go this long without writing about the World Cup! The first stages are done and the first round of the knockout stages are well under way. There will be heartbreaks, nerve-wrecking moments, pain, sadness and, of course, happiness and exhilaration. No matter the feeling, Rioja will be your best companion – whether you need to celebrate or forget!

And just in case you didn’t know, Spain is still in it! So, from here, we want to encourage all of you to cheer for Spain and to cheer with Riojas. Vamos!

 
  SEE RIOJA LIKE NEVER BEFORE – BY BICYCLE
 

One of the most natural and yet overlooked ways of visiting the Rioja area is by bicycle. There are an abundance of small side roads, major hills can be avoided or sought out as you prefer, and hotels, restaurants, and wineries are around every corner to keep you well rested, fueled, and happy.

The Rio Oja flows right through the center of La Rioja and, over the millenniums, helped create wide expanses of flat, fertile ground. Fertile for grapes but just as fertile for the legs of bicyclists eager to see the region.

Within Rioja, one of the best locations for bicycling is the area that runs between Haro and Laguardia. These two towns, primary wine towns of the area, are only about 35 kilometers (22 miles) apart by bicycle and, with many alluring side roads beckoning, make for a perfect one-day trip. Add a hotel night and a visit to a few wineries and you have a perfect weekend.

For longer rides, head south to the area of Ezcaray, a ski town in the winter but an excellent biking destination in the summer. What makes this trip special is the 36 kilometer-long bicycle path, the Vía Verde del Oja, which runs most of the way from Haro to Ezcaray.

It is possible to bicycle in Rioja entirely on your own. Unfortunately, this requires you to rent or bring a bicycle, carry your gear or return to your hotel each night, and plan out the routes yourself. Perhaps a better way is to join an organized tour with a local guide and van support. US-based Zephyr Adventures specializes in active tours in wine areas around the world, including a six-day Bicycling Tour in Rioja. Their next departure runs August 1-6, costs $2200, and features visits to many of the best wineries in Rioja.

La Rioja, for some reason, has been overlooked by bicycle tourists. It is not uncommon to cycle for days in the area and see no other travelers on bicycles. One of the best bicycle touring regions in the world can be practically all yours.

 
  SPOTLIGHT ON RIOJA: HOTEL VIURA
 
 

Rioja continues to be on the world’s stage, celebrated for avant-garde architecture, including artistic masterpieces such as Frank Gehry’s Marqués de Riscal, Santiago Calatrava's seemingly pixilated, but stunning Bodegas Isios, and the futuristic triangular pavilion at López de Heredia.

Nestled near the Sierra de Cantabria mountains in the tiny medieval village of Villabuena de Alava, Hotel Viura debuts as the region’s latest architectural gem in Rioja Alavesa. The hotel is., a 4-star luxury boutique hotel designed by Joseba and Xabier Aramburu. Named after Rioja's most widely planted white grape, the whimsical superimposed cubes were designed to resemble a bunch of grapes.

For hotel reservations and to learn more, please visit HotelViura.com.

 
  RIOJA JULY EVENTS
  Upcoming Rioja Wine Tasting Events – Florida and Illinois
 

7/1
The Noble Grape
802 N. Bishop St., Chicago, IL 60642
(312) 846-1204
6pm to 8pm

7/16
DelFrisco's Cuatro 5’:
5 Tapas & 5 Riojas at 5pm for $50

729 Lee Road - Orlando, FL
(407) 645-4443
  7/2
Whole Foods Market - Lincoln Park
1550 North Kingsbury Street, Chicago
(312) 587-0648
5pm to 8pm
7/17
Potash Brothers Market
1525 N. Clark St., Chicago
312-337-7537
3pm to 6pm
  7/3
Whole Foods Market
6020 North Cicero Avenue Chicago, IL 60646
(773) 205-1100
12 to 3pm
7/18
Whole Foods Market - Lincoln Park
1550 North Kingsbury Street, Chicago
(312) 587-0648
2pm to 5pm
  7/11
Whole Foods Market - Lincoln Park
1550 North Kingsbury Street, Chicago, IL
(312) 587-0648
2pm to 5pm
7/23
Potash Brothers Market
875 North State Street, Chicago
(312) 266-4200
4pm to 7pm
  7/13
ABC Fine Wine & Spirits
7611 International Drive Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 351-5165
6-8pm
7/24
Stone’s Throw Rioja Wine Extravaganza
107 Magnolia Ave. Sanford, FL 32771
(407) 688-2508
7pm
  7/14
Lush Wine & Spirits
1412 West Chicago Avenue, Chicago
(312) 666-6900
5:30pm to 8pm
7/27
ABC Fine Wine & Spirits
7611 International Drive Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 351-5165
6-8pm
 
 

FROM JILL’S COOKBOOK
Jill Paradiso is a classically trained chef who has worked in the kitchens of Mario Batali and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. 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.

   
 


CHICKEN HONEYDEW SALAD

Note: you can compose this salad without dressing it, if you prefer to make it ahead of time.  The cooking time for the chicken is for 1" inch thick breasts. For thicker of thinner breasts, please adjust cooking time slightly.

Yield: Serves 6-8 as a side dish

Ingredients:
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1" thick)
1 honeydew melon, seeded and cut into 1" cubes
2 heads of red leaf or green leaf lettuce (washed, dried and chopped)
1 bunch thyme
1 bunch basil
2 lemons
1/4 Greek yogurt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup walnuts, preferably toasted and salted salt pink peppercorns (optional)

Instructions:
1.In a large, straight-sided skillet or pot combine 1/2 bunch of thyme, 1/2 bunch of basil, three lemon slices and chicken; cover with water by 1/2 inch. Bring to a boil over high. Once water boils, immediately reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 3 minutes. Cover skillet and remove from heat. Let stand until chicken is cooked through, 15 to 18 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove chicken from poaching liquid immediately.
2. Whisk together Greek yogurt and juice from 1 1/2 lemons. Slowly drizzle in olive oil. Whisk well to incorporate and salt to taste. Slice chicken while still warm and toss with 1/2 of dressing.
3. Remove thyme from stalks and chop basil.Mix greens, honeydew, walnuts and remaining herbs and toss with remaining 1/2 of lemon yogurt dressing.
4. Remove chicken from dressing and place on top of salad. Garnish with remaining dressing, salt and 1 teaspoon crushed pink peppercorns. Serve immediately.

Remember, if you have any questions or comments regarding the recipes, you can email Jill at jill@vibrantrioja.com.