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Our First Rioja with Assorted Easy Tapas #worldwinetravel

 Welcome to the inaugural post of #WorldWineTravel. I am so excited to be a part of this new group that explores the world and its wine!  We are hosted by Jeff of FoodWineClick and if you click on his link, you will see the introductory post for this event.  This month we are exploring Riojas from Spain.  I was so excited, because I actually have traveled to Spain and experienced some delicious Riojas first hand. Along with my tasting notes, I am going to share with you some of the wonderful tapas we had.  Many of these we still make today, as they are easy and so delicious!

First, let me tell you that Rioja is an approachable wine.  That means you can find it in a lot of places and at a price point that includes almost everyone.  We find many of our Riojas at Total Wine, but it is fun to go into a mom and pop wine store and see what they have in stock.  Some of our best wine choices have been at a local wine shop here in our town of Saint Charles, Missouri!

My family traveled to Spain in September of 2019.  It was one of those "trips of a lifetime" and even now I yearn to visit again. I had no idea I would feel this way about Spain.  It wasn't high on my bucket list but it was for my family, so when they wanted to go, I knew I would enjoy it, too.  It was incredible!  One of the reasons we travel is to experience the food and wine.  Spain's food and wine scene equal ANYTHING we have seen in any place where we have been.  The freshness of the food, the variety, the skill in preparing... all fantastic.  It was our first taste of the Spanish wine, Rioja, and I am so glad that we were in Spain when we had it.

Some of the amazing tapas we had (tapas means "small plates") that were perfect pairings with the Rioja wine are shown below.  The first is a hummus made with white beans versus garbanzo beans.  It is a lighter hummus, drizzled with fresh olive oil that Spain is known for.

Tomatoes are absolutely the most gorgeous in Spain.  This Caprese salad is popular all over Spain, often with fresh mozzarella and freshly made pesto.

This is simply tomatoes.  Fresh-picked right when we ordered, peeled and lightly salted. The single most delicious dish I have ever had. The bread is fresh-baked, with Spanish olive oil and cracked pepper. Incredible.

Our favorite Riojas were these two, which we were able to enjoy in multiple settings.  The Marques de Caceres wine notes say that this wine is "pretty, luminous pale coral pink color. Floral bouquet of small red berry fruits and a slight touch of aniseed. Luscious flavors on tasting with refreshing acidity and balanced structure. An elegant rosé with character and good length."  Wine Spectator says "This deep-pink rosé offers a core of cherry, with notes of licorice, quinine, and fresh herbs. Firm acidity and light tannins give this the structure for food. Tempranillo and Garnacha Tinta. Drink now through 2023."  It is a reasonable priced wine at $15 a bottle.

This Rioja by Cune is a beautiful wine. As Wine Advocate says, "It has a bright nose with red fruit rather than black, quite aromatic and expressive. The palate is soft and approachable, very easy to drink, with a touch of freshness." Delicious with all kinds of dishes, this is another reasonably priced wine at $11 a bottle from Total Wine.  So delicious!

Check out some more wonderful Riojas and pairings from the wine experts below.  Such good choices!


Would you like to comment?

  1. Thank you for sharing your trip with us. I understand that Spain is absolutely gorgeous.

  2. What a beautiful post...and trip! I love creating travel memories with family. One of these days we'll be able to travel again, right?!?! Now I'm craving Rioja and tapas. For breakfast! LOL.

  3. We're wine twins on this one! Although with different vintages I'm guessing we had different experiences with it. The tapas all look delish!

  4. We couldn't agree more with everything you've written. Spain is magical and the enjoyment of the pleasures of the table is hard to beat. Our very first trip there kicked off with a tapas tour around Madrid and we've been hooked ever since!

  5. What a wonderful trip! I look forward to an opportunity to visit Spain and soak in the atmosphere and enjoy the food and wine firsthand. Thank you for sharing your trip. It says something that you are so enthusiastic now, when it had not previously been on your bucket list!

  6. I felt exactly the same way after visiting Spain the first time! Everything from the food/wine to the melange of cultures drew me in. Can't wait to go back!

  7. Nothing beats super-fresh ingredients prepared simply. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

  8. You're so right about the particularly magical quality of a fresh Spanish tomato. Love the Rioja bottles you've shared and the lovely pairings as well. Thanks for sharing your lovely trip.

  9. Our first trip to Spain was in 2016. What was most impressive about their food was that they were simple, but the ingredients were so fresh. Best shrimp I've ever had. Thanks for sharing your trip!


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