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June 18-21, Aspen

September 20-22, New York

October 6, New York
October, Houston

Whatever your area of food service, your wine program can be easier and more productive by working with Vibrant Rioja’s Food & Wine Partnering Program. Why?
• Rioja wines are made with the Tempranillo varietal, which many chefs in the world believe is the best and most flexible food pairing varietal in the world.
• Rioja wines are not released until ready to drink, so you won’t have to hold the bottle in your inventory for long. We help you turn your wine purchases into cash faster than the competition
• The distinct price points and clear classification make them ideal for different positions on the wine list
• When offered by the glass, Riojas can be priced to fit any budget or catering program

If there is anything that you’d like to see in the upcoming newsletters that you feel will help other businesses, write a column and submit it to us! We would like to share best practices with all of you, so if you’re doing something different to grow your business or would simply like to share your knowledge, please let us know.
Those interested should email Vibrant Rioja for more information and guidelines. We look forward to hearing from you!

Vibrant Rioja is a partnership
between the governing body for
wines from Rioja, Spain – called the Consejo Regulador de la Denominación de Origen Calificada Rioja – and Wines from Spain, under the auspices of the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX).
Our goal is to raise awareness
and educate consumers and
trade professionals on wines from the Rioja region. Email us your questions or comments at:

WELCOME TO RIOJA BUILDS RETAIL, A NEWSLETTER FOR THE OFF-PREMISE TRADE BROUGHT TO YOU BY VIBRANT RIOJA. We will be presenting news, trends and ideas to help you build your business. We will cover anything in relation to the wine industry and the beverage retail business as a whole. Then, we’ll bring it straight to you in short, concise bites that are aimed to help.

On Tuesday, May 19th, Rioja brought the trade its first tasting event in New York City. The event started with a seminar moderated by Doug Frost MS, MW, where invitees were able to explore the evolution of Rioja’s celebrated Gran Reservas – a truly ethereal experience of classically elegant wines. Jorge Muga (Bodegas Muga), María José López de Heredia (Bodegas R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia), Jesus Madrazo (CVNE Contino), and Adrian Murcia (Vibrant Rioja spokesperson) all spoke about the evolution of Rioja Grand Reservas while tasting recent vintages of gran reserva along with wines 15 to 45 years old.

A walk-around tasting, featuring over 30 importers, providing a taste of roughly 150 Rioja wines – reds, whites and rosés – followed the seminar. Below, find out what some had to say about the event:

Spaniards of a Certain Age
The New York Times “The Pour” by Eric Asimov
The seminar began with a question: is the gran reserva style of wine making still relevant today? Regardless of when the wines are released, gran reservas may need 15 years or more from its vintage before it begins to show what it can really do. Less wineries are making Riojas in this style and some prominent wine experts have even hinted at its extinction. However, it’s better to let the wines do the talking. And if there’s anything we’ve learned at this seminar, it’s that I hope that 45 years from now we’ll still be tasting great Rioja Gran Reservas.
To read more, click here.

Amazingly Long-Lived Riojas
Food & Wine “Tasting Room” by Ray Isle
If you’re interested in drinking older wines, Riojas are some of the best wines for your cellar – they age extremely well and are distinctively underpriced. From the seminar, the winner had to be the 1982 Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904 – pale red in hue, with aromas of dried cherries, leather, black tea leaf, and resinous spices. Other fantastic wines were the 1964 Marqués de Riscal Gran Reserva – a 75% Tempranillo and 25% Cabernet blend – and the 1964 Faustino I Gran Reserva and the 2001 Marqués de Murrieta Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial.
To read more, click here.

Rewarded by Rioja Gran Reservas
Spanish Table in Seattle by Sharon Baden and Steve Winston
For those who appreciate distinction, elegance and texture in their wines, there’s no substitute for Rioja Gran Reservas. Every sip of these Gran Reservas will make you believe you’re actually in Rioja. Some of the fascinating wines that were tasted included a 1964 Faustino I Gran Reserva – a stellar example of classic Rioja –, a 2002 Campo Viejo Gran Reserva – a great value with flavors of dry cherry, plum and baking spices.
To read more, click here.

Revisiting Rioja
ReMARKable Palate by Chef Mark Tafoya
Chef Mark Tafoya, a personal chef in New York City, attended the Rioja Grand Tasting and prepared a Quick Bite – a short video clip – of the event for his blog ReMARKable Palate, a production of The Culinary Media Network.
To see his Quick Bite, click here.

The Riojan government approved a new set of grape varieties after approval from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and the Rioja Consejo Regulador. The new white varieties are Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Verdejo, as well as the native Maturana Blanca, Tempranillo Blanco, and Tarruntés. The international varieties must not exceed 49% of a blend with a minimum of 51% Viura.

The new red varieties are Maturana Tinta, Maturana Parda and Monastel. These new grape varieties will be incorporated into the DOCa regulations. (, June 3, 2009). For more information, click here.

In each newsletter issue, we’ll profile a Rioja winery, importer or distributor of interest to the wine trade or a retailer doing an outstanding job with Rioja wines (Please submit articles.). In this profile, we take a look at Rioja’s Bodegas Riojanas and their use of Tempranillo.

Tempranillo is the most widely used variety in northern Spain, and especially in La Rioja Alta, where Bodegas Riojanas is found. The name of this variety comes from the word “temprano”, in Spanish meaning “early,” being one of the advantages this grape has; ripening early in the harvest. Some characteristics of this variety are: it prefers chalky soils, it grows better in relatively high altitudes, it is able to tolerate milder climates, and has a pretty thick skin that gives a magnificent red color. The aroma that stands-out in these wines is those of strawberries, and also has a slight acidity.

All this is very good but in Bodegas Riojanas, they want more, so they have the department of R&D going further by trying to select the best tempranillo to offer the highest quality wine possible for the consumer. For this reason, Bodegas Riojanas are the end-users of a clonal selection to choose the clone that their technical department considers has fulfilled the set quality parameters – such as kilos per vine, the minimum quantity of polyphenoles, and the quantity of resveratrol, among others.


• Wine Sourcing
-- we can put you in touch with importers and distributors to help you develop a wine
program customized to your needs
• Education -- we partner with the Culinary Institute of America to offer seminars and tasting programs that
can teach your staff about the Rioja region, characteristics of the wine, and appropriate food pairings
• Food & Wine Pairing -- we can draw on our many relationships with leading chefs and food-and-wine
educators to develop an outstanding set of wine pairings for your menu
• Promotional Programs -- we can design and help execute different promotional programs to help you
introduce your staff and customers to the wines of Rioja. Some sample programs are: Vibrant Rioja VIP Club – special tastings, food pairings, seminars and guided trips to the region; Vibrant Rioja Winedays – Build traffic on off nights; Vibrant Match – Try a tasting and pairing event customized to your offerings.

That's great, but… what else?

Vibrant Rioja Materials – we can provide you with a wide range of educational and promotional tools – many customized to your needs. They include bottle-neckers, informational notebooks, maps, gift bags, tasting notes, food-pairing notes and much, much more. If you have an idea, we will try to work with you to produce it.