April Showers Bring Good Wines.

[ 0 ] April 20, 2018 |

Image via Ribera del Duero Tempranillo and Rueda Verdejo

Now it is beginning to feel like Spring!  With the weather ebbing and flowing these days between frigid cold and summer breezes, I do not know whether to pull out my hot chocolate or iced cold lemonade.  I do, however, know what wines I will be imbibing from here on out during the days of sitting out on the lanai (*channeling my inner Golden Girl).  The winemakers of D.O. Ribera del Duero and D.O. Rueda (located 2.5 hours northwest of Madrid in Castilla and Leon) visited the Washington, D.C. region recently and have shifted my vino attention to Spain.  Spanish wine has graced my shelves in the past but our relationship has fallen off.  Maybe I was uninspired by what I was trying or I was too focused on the local vineyards popping up in this area.  A recent dinner at the Watergate Hotel’s Kingbird would shift my attention back into the international domain.

The wines of Rueda and Ribera del Duero offer a more sophisticated approach to the Spanish wines that we are used to drinking in the U.S.  They are complex enough for the oenophile but approachable for the novice.  The Rueda Verdejo will bring you aromas of fennel and peaches with a smooth and citrusy finish.  The Ribera Tempranillo in its dark cherry complexion bears aromas in vanilla spice and is rich and full-bodied in taste.  Where should these fit in your taste test profile?  We have four times and places for you to experiment with wines that you will thank us for later.  Check it out:

  1. Step Outside the Box for Happy Hour

Image via Ribera del Duero Tempranillo and Rueda Verdejo

Fruity and crisp, the 2017 Oro de Castilla Rueda Verdejo is the wine to shoot for once these temps officially go up.  Very clean in flavor and paired well with salad (we had with a Poached Pear and Bleu Cheese Salad at Kingbird), this wine takes you on the lighter side of things.  When compared to a wine I would usually order during happy hour, it can play a substitute for pinot grigio or a Sauvignon Blanc.  Host a happy hour at your place and sub out your typical pinot grigio for this Verdejo.  You will not miss your usual wine suspects.

  1. Do Something New with Your Lobster Pairing

Paired with a variation of dishes to highlight the wines diversity, Rueda and Ribera can go with just about any mood I am in during the Spring/Summer months.  When paired with the Lobster Thai Basil Risotto at Kingbird, for example, the 2015 Oro de Castilla Finca Los Hornos Rueda Verdejo stood up to the dish without overpowering it with its crisp, refreshing flavor.  This wine has the right amount of fruit and spice to match giving it a refreshing finish that was needed with this creamy, flavorful risotto.  I appreciate the honesty of the vintners, however, where they quickly informed us that this wine is too powerful for seafood such as oysters.  The lobster risotto and the wine had so much flavor together, they were the absolute match made.

  1. Not Your Club Wine

Image via Ribera del Duero Tempranillo and Rueda Verdejo

Spain is known for its food, wine and culture and a part of that culture lies Ibiza, par-tay central!  When I inquired about ordering the 2016 Vino Magna 6 meses Ribera del Duero Tempranillo in an Ibiza-style setting, I was quickly informed that this is the wine you pull out for the more intimate dinners.  The area’s that surround the Duero river have extreme seasonal temp’s, easily worked soil and rigid terrain making it one of the best places to grow the Tempranillo grape.  Paired with what I called a good ol’ pork and potatoes meal (Confit Potato Stuffed with Pork Trotter), this smooth, fruity wine was needed to cut through the meats seasoned, salty flavors.  This is not your regular, degular, shmegular wine.  It is complex in nature with a long finish.  It can be substituted for a cabernet sauvignon or pinot noir with its “big, rich, bold” flavor.  Nicknamed “the fruit bomb” by Pablo del Villar Igea, President of Oro de Castilla, this wine takes on a Bordeaux style when compared to other European wines.  Pull it out when you are having an elegant affair and want to show-off, you will get high marks for this one.

  1. Magnum Size Wine

Image via Ribera del Duero Tempranillo and Rueda Verdejo

Bigger bottles equal bigger fun.  That is my motto at least when it comes to wine…good wine.  The 2015 Vina Magna Ribera del Duero is a very smooth wine that pairs well with heavier meats such as lamb.  Because the wine comes in a magnum size, I would strongly suggest this for your next dinner party.  You have to share the wealth, right?!  Also, I suggest you do a little taste test similar to the one we participated in with the vintners.  Open one bottle and allow it to breathe for about an hour.  Once this bottle has breathed for about an hour, allow your guests to taste this beside a newly opened bottle of the same brand.  Exchange tasting notes!

*Where can you snag you a bottle?  You can find D.O. Ribera del Duero and D.O. Rueda by visiting your local wine store or order directly from www.wine.com.

*Want to hear more about our time with Ribera y Rueda, check out the JKGF YouTube page here.

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Category: Alcoholic beverages, Food.Fun.Stuff., guest post, Product Review, restaurant reviews, Reviews, Washington D.C., wine, World Tour

About the Author ()

Johnna French is a Harlem NY native with deep roots in Washington, DC and North Carolina. All three places have heavily influenced her life and the foods she loves today. After graduating Howard University School of Law and beginning her life as a young professional in the city she was led to start Johnna Knows Good Food in November 2007 to keep family, friends and colleagues updated on where to go and what to eat while dining in the nation’s capitol. French, who still practices law, leads a team of three writers to cover the ever expanding Washington, DC food scene. French has been featured in print and television, appearing in Washingtonian Magazine and is a regular contributor to various local TV affiliates including WUSA 9, FOX 5 DC and WJLA (ABC Affiliate) News Channel 8. During the 2016-2017 football season, Johnna aired on Comcast Sports Mid-Atlantic (CSN) show, Redskins Life, as the weekly tailgate host. Johnna is currently a regular contributor to the FOX Baltimore Weekend morning show.

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