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In This Issue:

Discover Rioja Wines!

Spotlight on Rioja

Rioja in the News

Consumer Events

Consumer Tastings

Rioja Recipe

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Discover Rioja Wines!


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


The Vibrant Rioja Wine Team

On October 12th, 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered America and established the long-term connection with Europe. Now, we weren’t there, but since the Spaniards sent him, we’re pretty sure (99.9%) he came over carrying tons of wine. And, if our time machine works accurately (and we have no reason to believe otherwise), the first thing they did when they reached land was celebrate!

So this October, do just like Christopher Columbus did and start exploring new land, new territories, new wine. And why not start with Rioja from Spain? You’ll get right into the discovery spirit! Who knows? Maybe you’ll find your next favorite wine! And if you already know and love Rioja wines, explore different styles (modern vs. traditional and different aging) , different varietals (though it’s the best Tempranillo out there, we still have plenty of other varietals), and whites and rosés!

And for Halloween… Dress up and drink Riojas!

Fall: days becomes shorter, nights become longer, you wake up in the morning and it’s dark out, you leave work and it’s dark out, the wind gets colder, the leaves turn and, of course, vampires and ghosts get closer! It’s Halloween! The perfect excuse to dress up as skeletons, vampires, ghosts and goblins and eat lots and lots of candy and have one or two (who are we kidding, right?) glasses of wine.

Whether you are staying at home relaxing, hosting a Halloween party, or snagging a costume and showing up to one, Rioja wines are just the perfect match to the trick-or-treat. Not even vampires can resist our robust reds from Rioja! So sink your teeth into a bottle of Rioja and Happy Halloween!

Send us pictures of you in your costumes drinking Rioja wines at for the chance to be published in our next newsletters! We may even be nice and decide to give you a gift certificate to a restaurant near you serving delicious Riojas!

Spotlight on Rioja

Did you know September and October are harvest months in Rioja? To celebrate the harvest, the town of Logroño, Spain hosts an annual Rioja Grape Harvest Festival. Held at the end of September, the Festival de La Vendima Riojana celebrates both the town’s patron saint, Nuestra Señora de Valvanera, and the Greek God of Wine, Bacchus (Dionysus). Sounds like fun to us!

The festival incorporates some of the wine producers traditional ceremonies, such as Pisado de la Uva (foot-crushing of grapes) and the offering of the first Mostro (unfermented grape juice) to the patron saint, Virgen de Valvanera. The festival also serves up some tasty regional cuisine and hosts lots of other fun activities: parades of floats, ball games, fireworks, music, dancing…and even bull-running with young bulls! Of course, there are lots of Riojas on hand to drink. Start planning your trip in 2012!

Rioja in the News

Check out the Vibrant Rioja latest media coverage from North Carolina’s The Star. The article features Tempranillo Day and seven Rioja wines!

Muga Wines Made in Small Batches with Traditional Methods
“Rioja is enjoying a resurgence in popularity, thanks largely to an international interest in tapas and anything Spanish. Last week was the first International Tempranillo Day, invented by marketers but giving us an occasion to revisit the grape variety that puts Rioja and Ribera del Duero on the map.” Read the full article

Consumer Events

Great Match

Please join us for the 18th Annual Great Match, featuring Spain’s Vivacious Varietals and ten of New York’s top Spanish restaurants! Discover new wines while tasting your way through Spain, highlighting more than 200 wines from many of Spain’s denominations of origin.
Thursday, October 6
Metropolitan Pavilion
125 West 18th St.
New York, NY 10011
Tickets are $60 – A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Food Bank for New York City. Advance purchase required.Click here to register!

¡Hola! Rioja!” -- Rioja Month and Pig Roast with Vinos Unico

Enoteca La Storia is officially declaring October “Rioja Month,” celebrating some of the best wines and food this unique Spanish wine region has to offer. Join the kick-off event on Saturday, October 1st, and experience the essence of Spanish tradition in the form of an elegant white Rioja, a wonderful Rosado and several classic red wines from a group of historic bodegas.

Soak up some sun on Enoteca La Storia’s recently opened patio and feast al fresco on roast pig and other Spanish inspired dishes, all washed down with a “copa” de Rioja! Luis and his passionate team will create the fiesta of all fiestas – the equivalent of a mini trip to Spain (minus the airfare)! Share your tasting notes on Twitter with #ELSRioja and #RiojaBuzz.

Guest Co-Hosts: Luis Moya of Vinos Unico and Vibrant Rioja
Saturday, October 1 from 1-4pm
Enoteca La Storia Patio & Private Room
416 North Santa Cruz Avenue, Los Gatos, CA 95030
This will be an informal, walk-up tasting. $50 per person + tax (20% discount for ELS Club Members).
For the entire month of October, stop by to enjoy an exclusive flight of 3 Riojas and beautifully paired crostinis! RSVP now (better hurry — limited capacity)

Consumer Tastings


Rioja Week at Zavino
October 1-8
112 South 13th St. Philadelphia, PA 19107

Grand Opening Tasting at Bed-Vyne Wine
October 1, 2-6pm
370 Tompkins Ave.Brooklyn, NY 11216

In-Store Tasting at Tinto Fino
October 15, 4-7pm
85 1st Ave., New York, NY 10003

Best of Rioja and Tapas Tasting -Top Producers and Vintages
October 22, 1-4pm
160 W. 72nd St., New York, NY 10023

In-Store Rioja Tasting at Beacon Wines
October 22, 5-8pm
2120 Broadway @ 74th St., New York, NY 10023


Grand Re-Opening Gala featuring Rioja Wines at the Weisman Art Museum
October 1 , 6pm-12:30am
Weisman Art Museum on the University of Minnesota Campus
$250 per person (sold out)

Rioja “Fall Sales” In-Store Tastings at Haskell's
October 6-8, 11am-8pm
For Haskell's locations information please visit:

Rioja In-Store Tasting at Lush Wine & Spirits
October 15, 1-4pm
1412 West Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60642


“Rioja Month” at Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes Orlando
4040 Central Florida Pkwy., Orlando, FL 32837
Friday night tastings with guests and members. Rioja wine featured specials at bar and restaurant.

Spanish Wine Festival & Sale Featuring  Rioja Wines at B-21 Fine Wine & Spirits
October 9, 2-5pm
43380 US Highway 19 North, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689
Event featuring more than 30 Rioja wines to taste and purchase. Plus, a Rioja panel discussion being moderated by Dhane Chesson during the tasting.
Price: $25

Rioja Wine Tasting at ABC Fine Wine & Spirits
October 12, 6-8pm
980 Rinehart Rd., Lake Mary, FL 32746

Rioja Wine Tasting at ABC Fine Wine & Spirits
October 19, 6-8pm
401 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, FL 32789

Kevin's Day Off- Goat Roast in the Garden with Rioja at K Restaurant
October 30
1710 Edgewater Dr., Orlando, FL 32804

To view all upcoming events, please visit the Vibrant Rioja web site

Other Information

Rioja Burger Bash

Over Labor Day weekend, Vibrant Rioja held the first ever “Rioja Burger Bash” in Chicago at Whole Food Lincoln Park. More than 125 people had the opportunity to taste 13 Rioja wines paired with gourmet burgers prepared by chefs from Custon House Taver, Whole Foods Market, Sidebar Grill/Crossing and Aria Restaurant. The tasting was accompanied by a live jazz band. Check it out on YouTube!

Rioja Recipe: Pollo al Ajillo

The following recipe is from José Andrés, protégé of Ferrán Adriá of El Bulli in Spain, who is the chef-owner of seven restaurants in the Washington DC area. He was named Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic region in 2003 by the James Beard Foundation, and has been profiled in Gourmet, Saveur, Bon Apétit, Food & Wine, Wine Spectator, the Washington Post, the New York Times, USA Today, and other publications. José travels widely as a guest chef, teacher, and fundraiser at charity events, and is the host of a television cooking show that airs in Spain.

Gran Reserva is considered the greatest of Rioja designations and is made only in exceptional vintages. It is an amazingly deep wine, with a complex texture and bouquet meant to be savored by all the senses. Gran Reserva is known for its hints of cedar, cigar box and wild berries. These wines are a perfect companion for this recipe.

Pollo al ajillo
(Chicken with garlic)

Chicken may seem fairly ordinary, but until recently it was an expensive item in Spain. Not so long ago, this dish was a combination of poor man's ingredient (garlic) and a rich man's ingredient (chicken). It's now a classic tapa. The sauce you're left with -- an emulsified mixture of the olive oil, the natural juices of the chicken, and the sherry -- is perfect for dipping bread.

Serves 4

10 garlic cloves
1/4 cup Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
12 chicken wings cut in a half at the joint
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup Spanish Manzanilla sherry
1/4 cup chicken stock
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste

Split open the garlic cloves by placing them on a chopping board and pressing down hard with the base of your hand or with the flat side of a knife. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over a medium flame, add the garlic, and sauté until it is lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the chicken wings, and sauté until browned on all sides, 5 minutes. Add the thyme, bay leaf, and sherry. Stir the mixture well so the oil and sherry emulsify, and simmer for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and cook for 1 more minute. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.