Our Staff Pick of the Month is the Spanish wine Vivanco Rioja Crianza 2014, because it has complexity as well as flavours that are also fresh and floral. All the vines come from the region Rioja Alta, which is known as the best subregion in Rioja because it gives wines more complexity, depth, elegance and balance.
Traditionally, in addition to Tempranillo, a Rioja wine includes the grape varieties Maturana Tinta and Graciano. However, many producers in the Rioja region have started to pull them out because they’re not as easy to produce, meaning only the traditional producers are keeping all 3 grape varieties in their Rioja wines. The fact that this wine has all 3 of the traditional grape varieties makes it different from other Riojas and a more true Spanish wine.
Another tradition for a Rioja is to ferment and age the wine in barrels in order to achieve a more oaky and balanced flavour. However, this is usually found at a higher price point, while the less expensive Riojas are tank fermented and moved into barrels later. So the fact that this Rioja is oak fermented and aged at this price point is incredible.
The bottle is another way that Vivanco keeps with tradition, as this design is inspired by the 18th century Rioja bottles. To juxtapose that, the label is very modern, as it is a painting by Joan Miró and his interpretation of a wine tasting.
This wine wins 90 points or higher from Guia Penin (the most respected Spanish wine award) every year. Consistency is a good indication of quality as it shows the grapes they are working with are truly amazing.
Pairing: This wine is very easy for pairing and goes beautifully with Mediterranean cuisine, pasta, rice, and all kinds of white and red meat.
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