Best. Wine Region. Ever., the world's largest social network dedicated to wine, just declared Rioja its "Wine Region of the Year 2011." Calling Rioja "a region you must explore in 2012," the editors recommended these wines as "simply too good to ignore." According to Snooth, no other region can compare when it comes to value, aging potential and diversity in style. "Rioja has proven that it ages as well as any other wine made, and can age even better than many more famous and costly examples," says Snooth editor-in-chief Gregory dal Piaz. He goes on to say the versatile styles made in the region, from traditional to modern, offer something wonderful for "nearly all palates with wines of preference."

Check out Snooth's Top 10 Rioja Wines in 2011 for pairing inspiration for dinner tonight. Share YOUR favorite Rioja wine from 2011 with us on Facebook or Twitter.

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header Focus on Rioja

Map of Rioja Region You already know Rioja is Spain's most famous wine region, but did you know this storied region is actually made up of three diverse sub-regions? To appreciate the diversity of Rioja, a wine lover needs to know the strengths and features of each of these three viticultural zones: Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Alta and Rioja Baja.

Traditionally, Rioja wines are made from a blend of grapes from the three sub-regions, each with unique "terroir" (combination of altitude, climate and soil) and selected for their distinctive characteristics: finesse and ageing potential from the Alta, concentration and complexity from the Alavesa, and body, color and alcohol from the Baja. Some wineries choose to make "single-estate" wines in order to express specific, favorable characteristics from a single plot of land within one sub-region.

Over the next several months, we'll spotlight one Rioja sub-region, and some historic and modern wineries who call this area home. To learn more about the three sub-regions of Rioja, click here to check out a short video.

header Rioja Pour Genius Contest - Sip the Winning Recipe!

rioja pour geniusAfter a five-month, nationwide search for the most knowledgeable bartender, first place goes to Charles Joly, chief mixologist at the Drawing Room in Chicago! Taking top billing, Charles won a five-day, all-expenses paid visit to Rioja.

With entries from over forty bartenders from around the country, competition was stiff. Second and third place went to Dylan Regan, bar manager at Jimmy's in Aspen, Colorado, and Alexander Caban, a bartender at Junction in Santa Fe, New Mexico, respectively. Other top contenders hailed from the Bellagio in Las Vegas, as well as the Clover Club and Red Rooster in New York.

Joly recently spoke to Plate Magazine about his winning cocktail, The Armada. "In terms of developing this cocktail, I wanted the Rioja to be the star of the show," Joly told Plate, "and preferred the final recipe for its versatility to work well on its own and with food." He goes on to say "I have a great love for Spanish culture, the spirits and wines of the country." This truly shows in every sip of his creation.

Taste for yourself with the recipe below and let us know what you think on Facebook or Twitter.

• Rioja crianza, 2 oz.
• Spanish brandy, 1 o.z
• Pedro Ximénez sherry, 1/2 oz.
• Lemon juice, fresh, 3/4 oz.
• Simple syrup, 1/4 oz.
• Brut cava, 3/4 oz.
• Orange bitters, dashes, 2 each

Combine all ingredients except cava in a mixing glass. Add ice and shake well. Add cava and roll the ingredients back and forth from one glass into another to combine. Strain into wine glass and garnish with a long twist of lemon.

header Rioja Tastings Near You!


"Spring Fling with 3 New Riojas" In-store Tasting at The Winey Neighbor - Brooklyn

Saturday, March 17
679 Washington Ave.
Brooklyn NY 11238

In-store Rioja Tasting at Le Dû's Wines - New York

Saturday, March 24
600 Washington St.
New York, NY 10014

"Weekend in Rioja" at Jersey Wine and Spirits - Jersey City

March 30 & 31
4-8 pm (March 30)
2-8 pm (March 31)
492 Jersey Ave.
Jersey City, NJ 07302


Southern California

In-store Rioja tasting at ABC Fine Wine & Spirits - Orlando

Wednesday March 28
2322 S. Semoran Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32822

Wines of Rioja Class at The Wine House - Los Angeles

Join host Monica Marin for an unforgettable evening tasting some of the best wines in the world.

Wednesday, March 14
7:30-9:30 pm
2311 Cotner Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Please RSVP online

Rioja Tasting at Monopole Wine Bar - Pasadena

oin hosts, Peter Nelson and Hiro Tamaki, for Rioja and nibbles - an excellent alternative to St Patrick's Day madness!

Saturday, March 17, 2012
4-7 pm
21 S. El Molino Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91101
Please RSVP via phone

To view all our upcoming events, click here.

header Rioja Tip Highest-Selling Rioja, the largest online wines sales outlet in the US, recently released its top 100 wines from all over the world with the highest sales in 2011. Noteably, La Rioja Alta Viña Ardanza Reserva is highlighted as the best-selling Rioja wine of the year. The list, which is "solely based on the preferences of North American consumers and not on the opinion of wine critics," declares the wine (made with Tempranillo and Garnacha) as among the 50 best-sellers in the world ($30-$35 per bottle). Other popular Riojas include LAN Crianza ($12 per bottle) and a Montebuena Joven ($10 per bottle). Pick one up today and taste for yourself!

header Last Sip


Congratulations to the Grand Prize winner of our Rioja Friends & Family contest, Paul P. from Brooklyn, NY, who received an iPad2. Second Place winner Dove J. from NYC received a $500 Visa gift card and Third Place winner Joel G. from Brooklyn, NY received a $250 Visa gift card. We also randomly selected a winner from all the participants, Semyon P. from Fair Lawn, NJ, who received a $100 Visa gift card. Thank you to all for participating and helping spread the word about our awesome Vibrant Rioja community!

I Love Rioja in the Springtime

To experience the vibrancy and passion of Rioja in springtime, join the Great Spanish Wine Adventure in June 2012, run by Iberian Wine Tours and jointly hosted by Jessica Bell of My Wine School in Chicago. The tour features a range of visits to the finest modern and traditional bodegas in Rioja and a Michelin dinner in the tiny Riojan village of Daroca. For more details, click here or e-mail

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