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Hot Times in Rioja!

Caliente! Summer months in Spain are filled with lush landscapes, bodega tours, unique festivals and coastal vacations. Whether you're running with the bulls in Pamplona, cooling off on the beaches of San Sebastian or wine tasting your way around Rioja, no place is hotter than Spain in July.

And speaking of wine, July is the perfect time for outdoor entertaining at home! Looking for something different then a barbeque? How about a Spanish tapas picnic, complete with delicious bite-size dishes (called pintxos in Rioja) made with fresh fish and summer vegetables? Some of our favorite refreshing, food-friendly, summer wines include Faustino Rivero Ulecia Blanco 2010, a bright, fresh, apple-scented white wine; CVNE Barrel Fermented Blanco 2009, a delicious, lemon-scented white; or El Coto Rosado Rioja 2010, an easy-drinking, lively pink wine that's crisp and jam-packed full of red and dark berry flavors. Whichever you choose, don't forget to kick back, relax and enjoy the summer. (And check out some of these stunning shots of Rioja in all its summer glory!)

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header Spotlight on Rioja

Rioja BottlesSpotlight on Rioja Alta - The Perfect Blend of Tradition and Modernity

Though it's well-known for its food-friendly Tempranillo and affordable aged wines, what you might not know is that Rioja is made up of three distinct subregions – Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Baja. Historically, winemakers blended grapes from these three subregions, taking advantage of the unique characteristics of each. While this practice continues today, some wineries have chosen to bottle single-vineyard wines to produce distinctive offerings, taking advantage of Rioja's microclimates and varying soil types.

Our focus this month is on Rioja Alta, Rioja's westernmost subregion. Famous for historical bodegas, such as La Rioja Alta, Lopez de Heredia, Muga and Bilbainas, and modern bodegas, such as Roda, Baigorri, Darien and Dinastía Vivanco, Rioja Alta has Atlantic Ocean influence, relatively dry weather and high elevation. With soil rich in iron, limestone and clay, Rioja Alta is known for producing full-bodied wines with moderate alcohol content suitable for oak aging.

*Fun fact: The historic town of Haro, where a number of well-known wineries are located, has an annual wine festival in June famous for a crazy "Batalla de Vino" (or Wine Battle extravanganza!).

header Rioja News

Page from MagazineThe Tasting Panel magazine rocks rosados!
Titled "You Say Rosé , They Say Rosado" Randy Caparoso featured seven rosado wines, including Marques de Caceres, Muga, Cortijo, CUNE, Marques de Riscal, Dinastia Vivanco and Conde de Valdemar. Randy notes that because these wines average $12 per bottle, Rioja Rosados have made for a "compelling product."

Here is a quick highlight from the article:
What has struck the chord with consumers is the simple discovery that Rioja's rosados are delicious—dry and zesty in accordance with contemporary tastes, yet bursting with fruit qualities of cherry and strawberry. Read the full article here.

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header Rioja Tastings

Here is just a sampling of our tasting events across the country in July. To view all our upcoming events visit our online calendar.



Rioja & Cheese Sampling
Whole Foods Market – Tampa
Thursday, July 19

Rioja Tasting
ABC Fine Wine & Spirits – Lake Mary
Wednesday, July 25

Pool Party with Rioja
Grand Bohemian Hotel – Orlando
Friday, July 27



Pour and Pintxo
Bar Pintxo – Santa Monica
Through July 30

Rioja with an Ocean View
Santa Monica
Wednesday, July 11

Rioja Styles, Defined
The Spanish Table – Mill Valley Thursday, August 2

header Rioja Across the U.S.

Washington DC Washington, DC Loves Rioja!
Did you know that Rioja can be found just about anywhere in the DC area? The Oceanaire Seafood Room on F Street features a diverse Rioja lineup where you can easily find the perfect pour and pairing. Bourbon Steak, inside the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown, has ongoing Rioja by the glass specials and a few choice bottle options, as well. Wine Director Julian Mayor has just returned from a trip to Rioja and can guide you to a superb selection. If you're just grabbing a bottle on the go, Calvert Woodley on Connecticut Avenue offers more than 25 Riojas to fit any occasion and budget, from a lively July 4th BBQ to a quiet, home-cooked dinner. Their Vibrant Rioja-trained staff promises to help you find a palate pleaser!

Willamsburg Visiting Colonial Williamsburg This Summer?
Enjoy some Rioja wines while you're there! Our "Sip & Savor Summer with Rioja" program runs through July 30, with daily Rioja specials by the glass and bottle at the Williamsburg Inn and Lodge. For details, click here.

header Special Events

Follow the Red Dress Follow the Red Dress
Fashion and wine…sounds like a wonderful combination to us! We loved sponsoring the Spanish SoHo Mile, a one-of-a-kind annual boutique crawl that celebrated the best fashion from Spain in New York's esteemed SoHo district. Titled "Follow the Red Dress," this year's boutique crawl took place at nine popular shops in the center of SoHo; each featured a Vibrant Rioja bar and welcomed 2,500 New Yorkers, fashionistas, designers and passerbys who joined in the celebration. In cooperation with V Spain magazine, Vibrant Rioja also co-hosted the most anticipated event of the day, the After Party at Mondrian's Penthouse. A red hot day in Soho!

Rosado Virtual Tasting
Always wanted to know more about rosados? Then check this out! On June 20, hosted a Rose Virtual Tasting where Rioja Rosados were featured, along with four other roses. Rioja Brand Ambassador Ana Fabiano was a guest host, so you will hear about Rioja tips, history, region information, tasting notes and more. Watch the full tasting here.

header Recipe of the Month

Shrimp RecipeShrimp and Honeydew Salad
We love any recipe that calls for a Rioja wine in the ingredients! Perfect for summertime, try this Shrimp and Honeydew Salad with Warm Rioja Dressing. The sweetness of the melon and richness of the shrimp create a tasty combination. Pair with a barrel-fermented white Rioja, or a light red, such as a Crianza. Enjoy the recipe here!

header Last Sip

Book CoverSummer Reading
Learn more about the Rioja in this exceptionally beautiful illustrated book that pays tribute to Riojan winemaking and culture. Ana Fabiano has traveled the world representing Riojan wines, and this work is a book from the heart that provides a historical overview of the area along with up-to-the-moment information on each valley, including its bodegas, grape varietals, wines, and producers. A food section with recipes and pairings are also included. To purchase, click here.

LA WineWinning Wines
The Los Angeles International Wine Competition recently awarded Rioja with five "Best of Class" Gold medals, 11 Silver medals and six Bronze medals. Want to taste the winners? Check the list out (pages 37-40 for Spanish wines) here!

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