Rioja - Spain
As Maude turns the page and welcomes wine as our new hero for inspiration, we are excited to feature Rioja, Spain as our first menu for 2018. La Rioja is Spain’s Tuscany. It is like a mixed salad with the best of everything in it. Superlative climate, soil, agriculture, vineyards, orchards, people, history, culture, spirit, beauty, tradition. Contentment reigns there.
Located in the upper half of Spain, La Rioja is bordered by the Basque Country and Navarre to the north, Aragon to the east and Castilla and Leon to the southwest.
Rioja, the wine country is sub divided into three subregions- Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Baja. All are united by the terrain – Ebro River, valleys and mountains that form this place.
A reputation for outstanding produce which provides the foundation to its simple yet quality driven gastronomy. From grapes that craft internationally recognized wines to lettuces, peppers, onions, artichokes, garlic, tomatoes, asparagus, beans, peas and peppers. Not forgetting its notable goat and lamb products whose aromas can be savored when tossed over grapevines on open pits.
Viticulture has existed in Rioja for thousands of years. Historians write that it is likely that when the Romans settled in the Bordeaux region a century after they arrived in Rioja, the vine cuttings they brought to Bordeaux were from Rioja.
All of Rioja’s vineyards are in the Ebro River valley or the valley of its tributaries, but their soil and character can vary greatly. Some grapes are grown on the alluvial plains, and others benefit from the iron-rich soils at mountain heights.