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VOLUME 2 ISSUE 11
DECEMBER 2010

IN THIS ISSUE:

IT'S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR

SPOTLIGHT ON RIOJA: ENJOYING THE HOLIDAYS IN RIOJA STYLE

CONSUMER TASTINGS

CONSUMER TIP: COMBINING THE OLD WITH THE NEW

CONSUMER EVENTS

RIOJA IN THE NEWS

EXTRA INFORMATION

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

Salud!

The Vibrant Rioja Wine Team

   

IT'S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR

 
 

Though you've likely been hearing Christmas music since the start of November, the holiday season is officially upon us. We know that the holidays mean different things for everyone: the hanging of Christmas lights for some; the lighting of the menorah for others; the agony of gift shopping for all. But we also know that Rioja wines are a great part of any holiday tradition!

Not even the milk-and-cookie enthusiast Santa could say no to a delicious bottle of Rioja wine this holiday season. Whether you're serving fruitcake (though we honestly hope you aren't), a crown roast, brisket, chestnut stuffing, spicy gumbo, or collard greens, a bottle of food-friendly Rioja wine is sure to complement your holiday fare. Plus, this is one gift your friends and family won't have to wait to open since Riojas come ready to drink when purchased.

Then, after you've made your list, checked it twice, and given Rioja wines to those both naughty and nice (let's not discriminate!), it's time to focus on yourself and how you're going to ring in the new year. Hint: Rioja wines should probably be involved in the celebration.

Enjoy the holidays and the rest of 2010, Riojaphiles. We wish you a happy and healthy New Year, filled with cheer and, hopefully, many more cheers! We'll see you next year, which is bound to be filled with more glorious Rioja wines!

  SPOTLIGHT ON RIOJA: ENJOYING THE HOLIDAYS IN RIOJA STYLE
 

Interested in celebrating the holiday season like a Riojano? Start by celebrating the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th with a gastronomical extravaganza for friends and family. Throughout the month, the anticipation of La Navidad (and Papá Noel, if you believe…) abounds. An important religious holiday in Spain, La Navidad (Christmas) is also a time for family gatherings, delicious food, and great wine -- from Rioja, of course. The most important holiday family dinner takes place on La Noche Buena (Christmas Eve), which sometimes involves the exchange of presents.

Traditionally, however, gift giving takes place on the morning of January 6th, the day the three gift-bearing wise men arrived in Bethlehem. The holiday itself is known in Spain as El Día de los Reyes (Kings' Day) but is also also referred to as the Epiphany. This day officially marks the end of the holiday season--after one of the biggest party days of the year on December 31st, of course! For the grand celebration of El Año Nuevo (New Year's Eve) in Spain, twelve grapes are eaten at the stroke of midnight in time with the clock's rhythmic bell chimes. Everyone says "adios" to the past year and welcomes the start of a fresh year filled with new experiences and many shared bottles of Rioja to come!

  CONSUMER TASTINGS
  Midwest Events    
  Dec 3
Potash Brothers Market
In-store Rioja Tasting
4-7pm
1525 N. Sandburg Terrace
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 337-7537
Free
Dec 5
Whole Foods Market – Sauganash
In-store Rioja Tasting
1-4pm
6020 N. Cicero Ave
Chicago, IL 60646
(773) 205-1100
Free
Dec 8
The Noble Grape
In-store Rioja Tasting
5-8pm
802 N. Bishop St
Chicago, IL 60642
(312) 846-1204
Free
  Dec 9
Fox & Obel
In-store Rioja Tasting
4:30-7:30pm
401 E. Illinois St
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 410-7301
Free
Dec 11
Riley’s Wines of the World
In-store Rioja Tasting
1-4pm
402 W. Gorham St
Madison, WI 53703
(608) 257-0400
Free
Dec 16
Kafka Wine Co.
In-store Rioja Tasting
6-8pm
3325 N. Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 975-9463
Free
  Dec 18
Ray's Wine and Spirits
In-store Rioja Tasting
11am-2pm
8930 W. North Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53226
(414) 258-9821
Free
   
  Northeast Events    
  Dec 3
Winelife
In-Store Rioja Tasting
4-7pm
386 Van Duzer Street
Staten Island, NY 10304
(718) 816-9463
Free
Dec 4
Tinto Fino
In-store Rioja Tasting
4-7pm
85 1st Ave
New York, NY 10003
(212) 254-0850
Free
Dec 7
Hearth
Winemaker Dinner with Basilio Izquierdo
7:30-10:30pm
403 E. 12th Street
New York, NY 10009
(646) 602-1300
$148 per person
Tickets
  Dec 8
Cleveland Park Wine and Spirit
Rioja Seminar and Tasting
5-8pm
3423 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington D.C., DC 20005
Free
Dec 9
Whole Foods
In-store Rioja Tasting
5-8pm
1440 P St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 332-4300
Free
Dec 10
Whole Foods
In-store Rioja Tasting
5-8pm
1440 P St NW
Washington, DC 20001
202.332.4300
Free
  Dec 11
Harlem Vintage
In-store Rioja Tasting
4-7pm
2235 8th Ave
New York, NY 10027
(212) 866-9463
Free
Dec 16
In-store Rioja Tasting
Dandelion Wine
6-9pm
153 Franklin Street
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(347) 689-4563
Free
Dec 17
Acker Merrall and Condit
In-store Tapas and Wine Tasting
1-4pm
160 W. 72nd Street
New York, NY 10023
(212) 787-1700
Free
  Southeast Events
   
  Dec 1
ABC Fine Wine & Spirits
Rioja Wine Tasting
6-8pm
980 Rinehart Road
Lake Mary, FL 32746
$10
Dec 4
Whole Foods Market
Saturday Sampling
12noon-3pm
8003 Turkey Lake Rd
Orlando, FL 32746
Free
Dec 4
ABC Fine Wine & Spirits
Saturday Sampling
12noon- 3pm
980 Rinehart Rd
Lake Mary, FL32746
Free
  Dec 4
Ceviche Tapas and Restaurant
Saturdays with wines from RIOJA
5-7pm
125 W. Church St
Orlando, FL 32701
Dec 8
ABC Fine Wine & Spirits
Rioja Wine Tasting
6-8pm
2726 S. Orange Ave
Orlando, FL 32806
$10
Dec 8
ABC Fine Wine & Spirits
Rioja Wine Tasting
6-8pm
550 S. Atlantic Ave
Vero Beach, FL 32963
$10
  Dec 8
ABC Fine Wine & Spirits
Rioja Wine Tasting
6-8pm
14729 N. Dale Mabry Hwy
Tampa, FL 33618
$10
Dec 9
ABC Fine Wine & Spirits
Rioja Wine Tasting
5:30-7:30pm
6307 14th St
Brandenton, FL 34207
$10
Dec 9
The Vineyard Wine Company
Holiday with Rioja Wine & Food Walk-around Tasting
6-8pm
1140 Town Park Ave
Sanford, FL 32771
$25
  Dec 10
Sanford Wine Company
Rioja Tasting with Live Music!
6-8pm
114 S. Palmetto Ave
Sanford, FL 32771
$10
Dec 11
Whole Foods Market
Saturday Sampling
12 noon-3pm
1989 Aloma Ave
Winter Park, FL 32792
Free
Dec 11
Ceviche Tapas and Restaurant
Saturdays with wines from RIOJA
5-7pm
125 W. Church St
Orlando, FL 32701
  Dec 18
Ceviche Tapas and Restaurant
Saturdays with wines from RIOJA
5-7pm
125 W. Church St
Orlando, FL 32701
Dec 31
Ceviche Tapas and Restaurant
Ring in the NEW Year with Rioja!
125 W. Church Street
Orlando, FL 32701
Discounts on all bottles of RIOJA wine
 

  CONSUMER TIP: COMBINING THE OLD WITH THE NEW
 

Did you know…The DOCa Rioja wine region is home to some 500 bodegas (wineries), reflecting a mix of the old and new. A number of the older wineries have revamped with modern winemaking equipment and techniques, while others have held on to the traditional Spanish methods of winemaking. This harmonious co-existence of both modern and traditional styles of winemaking is one of the many unique and magical attributes of the Rioja region.

 

CONSUMER EVENTS

 

What: Discounts on all bottles of Rioja
When: Every day now through December 20th
Where: Queen Anne Wine & Spirit Emporium

247 DeGraw Avenue -- Teaneck, NJ 07666
Store Hours: Noon to 8pm
Phone: 201-692-1555

What: Rioja Crianzas by the glass offer
When: Every day now through December 31st
Where: The following Northeast Landry’s restaurant locations:

Chart House Weehawken, NJ
Crab House Edgewater, NJ
Chart House Boston, MA
Chart House, Cincinnati, OH (Newport, KY)
Chart House Alexandria, VA
Chart House Annapolis, MD

 

RIOJA IN THE NEWS

 

Rioja made the news in Pennsylvania last month as Vibrant Rioja’s pre-holiday season, in-store promotions and tastings rippled through the state. The Pittsburgh Tribune, Pennsylvania’s second largest daily paper, featured all of the Rioja wine tastings in the region in both their print and online editions.

The Morning Call, a regional newspaper serving the Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton Metropolitan areas in the state also mentioned Rioja wine tastings in their weekly “Side Dish” food and drinks news.


In the windy city, Restaurant Radio Chicago aired an interview with Sam McDaniel of Whole Foods Market. Sam praised Rioja wines during the interview, remarking that Riojas "have a level of quality at a price point that has never been seen before,” adding that Riojas “go better with food than any other wine region.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, Sam!

 

EXTRA INFORMATION

 

Ryan Opaz of Catavino (one of our favorite wine blogs) and founder of Wineblogger.info and of the annual European Wine Bloggers Conference, graciously answered some of our burning questions about wine, Spain, and of course - blogging. Here are a few excerpts from our interview…

Q: What do you enjoy most in writing about wine?
Catavino: Talking to people. Drinking wine is nice, but really, it's the conversations that come from the sharing of a bottle that are the most interesting. This, combined with the opportunities we are blessed to have to travel around the world, makes our job rather amazing!

Q: What do you enjoy most about living in Spain?
Catavino: For Ryan, in all seriousness, Jamón (cured Spanish ham) alone is enough to get someone to plant their roots in this land. As for Gabriella, it's the gorgeous mountainous landscape of the Pyrenees, the cultural appreciation for music and celebrations, and beyond all else, an evening savoring tapas and a glass of wine alongside the Mediterranean.

Q: What are your favorite blogs and Twitter folks to follow?
Catavino: First off, the most interesting blogs are the ones that talk about things other than themselves… However, we find twitter a bit more forgiving, as it is less of a commitment of time. That said when we go home for the holidays; we start following more bloggers and twitterers in the USA, as they're chatting about topics that are relevant to the location. Hence, find your community and read what interests you, not what interests us.

Q: What are some of the best wines for a date or a cocktail dinner?
Catavino: “WOW, the list is long, but we do love Rioja, and I would look to white Rioja for cocktail dinners and old Rioja for a long romantic evening.”
“We feel that it comes down to finding wines that are lighter, like old style Riojas, which are often only 12% or so, to allow for a gentle lubrication of a fun conversation!”

Thank you to Ryan and Gabriella Opaz! Hear more from our friends at Catavino online at www.catavino.net.

 

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.


 
 

Beets with Poppy Seed Butter
 
Here is a real stunner for the holiday table. It meets all of my criteria for a great side dish: quick, easy and delicious! This recipe works very well at room temperature, so you can cook the beets ahead of time and simply toss with the rest of the ingredients when ready to serve.

Note: Do not chop mint until ready to serve, as it will blacken when exposed to air.

Yield: Serves 6-8 as a side dish

Ingredients:
8 large beets (about 4 lbs.)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 tablespoon mint (about 8 leaves)
sea salt

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap beets individually in foil and place on baking sheet. Roast about one hour until a knife is easily inserted into the center of the beet.
2. While beets are roasting, toast poppy seeds in skillet over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds. Once toasted, remove seeds immediately from skillet and set aside.
3. Once beets have finished roasting, open foil carefully as steam will escape. Let beets cool about 10 minutes then remove skins and cut into one-inch pieces.
4. When ready to serve, melt butter in skillet. While butter is melting, finely chop mint. Coat beets well with butter and sprinkle on poppy seeds and mint. Salt to taste.

Download PDF of this recipe.

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