The Wines of Rioja

Posted on: 9th June, 2017

Category: The Wine Buff

Contributor: Tony Eklof

Tony Eklof, originally from New England, has settled in Clonakilty after a career as a librarian at University College Dublin. His knowledge and passion for wine has been inspired by frequent visits to the wine growing regions of the continent, particularly Italy and France.

Recently I watched two programmes which got me thinking about Spain and Spanish wine.

Neven Maguire visited the famous Cune Bodega in Rioja in one of the episodes of his ‘Neven’s Food Trails’. I was fascinated to hear that penicillin is grown over the bottles to protect them! Neven was able to taste Cune’s Gran Reserva, which was served at the King of Spain’s wedding!

Also the latest offering from the excellent duo Steve Coogan and Rob Bryan was called ‘the Trip to Spain’ following on from their hugely entertaining ‘Trip to Italy’.

Having never put a foot in Spain, I have been reluctant to write about Spanish wine. However keeping in mind the Irish love affair with Rioja in particular, I will try to put this right.

Perhaps later we will return to some of the exciting wines coming from lesser known regions such as the white wines coming from Galicia.

Rioja is an enormous wine area with over 4,000 growers so style and quality can be mixed. Most of us think highly oaked, aged and strong red when thinking of Rioja, but in fact over half of the production is of a younger, lighter un-oaked variety. The three districts of the region are Alta, the traditional area and home of the great Rioja names, Alvesa, lighter fruitier young wines from the Basque region, and Baja, the warmest, driest and largest section, and traditionally relying on the Ganarcha grape, as opposed to the traditional grape of Rioja, namely Tempranillo.

A recent article in the Independent, quoting a Spanish wine expert, recommended wines in the €12-13 range, simple young wines, as opposed to crianzas or reservas ‘because it’s not possible to have good quality properly oak aged wines at that price point.’

Some terminology which may help you when choosing Spanish wine:

• Tinto – red wine.

• Blanco – white wine.

• Rosada – rose wine.

• Cava – sparkling wine.

• Joven – young un-oaked wine

• Roble – lightly oaked.

• Crianza –  oaked, often with better grapes than Joven.

• Reserva – oaked for a longer period and capable of ageing.

• Gran Reserva – made from the best fruit, aged for an even longer time and only made during the best growing years.

   

Recommendation:
Cune Rioja. Gran Reserva 2010. On special at €15 in SuperValu at time of writing.

Handpicked Tempranillo grapes, aged in oak for 24 months and then further aged in the bottle. One of the finest vintages ever for Rioja!

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13th April, 2018  ·  

An evening on the 'Balance of Feeling Good' by Clonakilty Gaa Club Health and Wellbeing Committee followed by Guest Speaker, Cork GAA Chairperson, Tracey Kennedy.

Paddy Duggan, former Principal of Clonakilty Community College, will be MC on the night, facilitating a discussion on getting the balance of feeling good.
Contributors on the night are Colm Sheehy, Conor Murray, David Lowney, Denis Murphy, Eoghan Deasy, Sean McEvoy, Thomas Clancy and Treasa O'Brien.
Topics covered will range from awareness and responsibility to yourself and others to the benefits of exercise and nutrition.
The evening is suitable for everyone aged 16 and over from players, members of the community, parents of young and adolescent children, etc.

This is a public event, free of charge and everyone is invited and very welcome to attend.
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12th April, 2018  ·  

The Cast of Harold Pinter’s ‘No Man’s Land’ are on their way to the All-Ireland finals, having won 26 awards, including five best of Festivals, at the Amateur Drama League of Ireland annual three act festivals. The play ‘No Man’s Land, by Harold Pinter, the Nobel Prize Winning Author is directed by Jennifer Williams.

One last opportunity to view this multi award winning play at Skibbereen Town Hall, on Saturday 14th of April, before the finals.

Having met by chance in a pub, two aging writers continue a long night of drinking and reminiscing in a stately London home. As the night wears on, their conversation wanders through memories long forgotten or invented. Is their encounter real or a delusion? Are they strangers or do they share a past history? When unexpected guests intrude upon an increasingly surreal evening, the atmosphere quickly changes from friendly to threatening, and the encounter becomes a game of survival.

Tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance by emailing schulldramagroup@gmail.com

For more information please contact hilary.mccarthy6@gmail.com
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9th April, 2018  ·  

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