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Rueda

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Part Three: An Historically Polemic Rioja Alavesa is Making Some Bad-ass Wines


As Rioja wines have gained international recognition over the years there has been a more accelerated movement toward single-vineyard bottlings. Bodegueros of the Alavesa are leading this because vineyards are already divided into small plots, often terraced as they move up the hill toward the base of the Cantabrian Mountains. The calcareous clay soils have good water retention but poor drainage. These soils are good at maintaining a constant cool temperature, which can be a double-edged sword. If the fruit cannot ripen by the end of the season, the harvest is in trouble. Assuming the fruit ripens “on time”, then the acidity levels will usually be high.

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#FOODPORN, Some of our Favorite Spanish Dishes


As with wine, it’s near impossible to make good food with bad ingredients; but, far easier to make great food with good ingredients. And paired with a great local wine — buf! The raw materials that Spain is blessed with do not begin and end with four-year dry cured Iberico ham, but it’s a damn good start. sweet + salty, acid + fat, crunch + chew. Chefs like to include these elements in every dish, in every bite if possible. The most basic of Spanish dishes highlights these three combinations: el pan con tomate y jamón. Take a soft roll with a thin, crunchy crust, slice in half. Toast it. Take half a tomato and rub it vigorously along each half of the bread.

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Part Two: An Historically Polemic Rioja Alavesa is Making Some Bad-ass Wines


Ecclesiastical reports from the 13th and 14th centuries remind us that wine was an integral part of the economy, royal decrees even going so far as to forbid any “injurious additives” and blending of wines from outside a codified zone. It was simple vino corriente (ordinary wine) all through the Middle Ages offered to noblemen of the kingdoms of Aragon, Navarra, and Castile when they met in Rioja. The region came to depend increasingly on grapes as the main crop, slowly replacing wheat, beets, or corn with vitis. But as time went on, this trend worried some forward-thinking lushes. A group of intellectuals known as the Amigos de los Vascongadas (Friends of the Basque lands) started getting together in the late 1700s.

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