Bursting with flavour, Rioja enhances any menu, which is why top restaurants always insist on serving this most versatile of wines
What’s it to be tonight? Venison puffs from Hakkasan? Roast red-legged partridge from Pollen Street Social? Gambas al ajillo from Barrafina?
The high-quality wines produced by dedicated Rioja winemakers continue to be the favourite choice of London’s sommeliers and chefs
You make your selection, that’s easy. Now comes the time-consuming part: scouring the wine list for something to set alight the dining experience.
The trick is to run your fingers down the pages until you come to Rioja. Look no further – as Rioja matches perfectly with dishes from London’s most prestigious restaurants.
The high-quality wines produced by dedicated Rioja winemakers continue to be the favourite choice of London’s sommeliers and chefs, for the sheer diversity of options and their food-friendliness. If you are looking to spend upwards of £25 on an impressive bottle at dinner, no classic region rivals Rioja’s amazing value and options across red, white and rosé.
The majority of Rioja is red and it comes in a broad range of styles, starting from young wines which burst with juicy energy. These are ideal for a wine by the glass and with paprika-laced tapas at Barrafina’s bar. While the main grape for reds is Tempranillo, lesser-known varieties also make exciting wines: look out for the black-fruited Graciano, or the berry-scented Garnacha.
There’s a new trend for lively, pale-coloured rosés from the region, too, and Rioja’s high-end white wines are a highlight not to be missed. The young ones are vibrant with a lemon zest flavour – try them with ceviche and fresh seafood. The heat and bold spicing of Som Saa’s acclaimed Thai dishes cannot be handled by many wines, but choosing a barrel-aged white Rioja is one way to ensure a perfect pairing.
Red Crianza wines spend a year in oak barrels and a year in bottle, and are typically bright and bold. They pair well with steak or spiced pasta dishes, like those on offer at 2017’s acclaimed restaurant Padella (you can bring your own bottle of Rioja for a £10 corkage fee).
Luxurious Rioja Reservas make for an adventurous wine choice too. Their deep cherry fruit and mellow flavours continue to grab the attention of wine collectors and investors, and consistently secure spots on London’s top wine lists.
A great benefit of choosing Rioja’s outstanding Reservas and Gran Reservas is that the winery has done the cellar-ageing for you. Gran Reservas are the delicious summit of Rioja’s fine wines. They have spent at least two years in barrel and a further two years gently developing in the bottle. The result? Velvety wines, ready to drink, and great value for money.
Beautifully served dishes from acclaimed restaurants call for world-class wine. Gastronomes need look no further than Rioja, as every effort has gone into making premium Riojas complex, balanced and age worthy.
Whatever you pick there’s always a Rioja to match.