Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Its May and I’m ready for my First Rose of the Season-Vina Real 2018 Rioja Crianza LaGuardia by Philip S. Kampe

Imagine waiting for Cinco de Mayo to wake up your senses and your desire for Rose wine. Today’s weather of 72F (22C) was an oddity during this perpetual spring season in western Massachusetts. Snow is expected next weekend, while temperatures dip in the 30’s at night.

The Coronavirus has kept us at home, so, when it is time to open the daily bottle or two of wine, anticipation grows. With more then a dozen bottles of rose in my wine cellar, it was difficult to choose the first one of the season.

I looked at all of the bottles available, thought about opening the traditional bottle from Provence and knew that my heart was still in Spain, having returned from five weeks in Spain on 10 March, barely in time to escape the pandemic.

Having visited Rioja and the winery that produces Vina Real, the choice was easy. C.V.N.E., (Campania Vincola del Norte de Espana), the producer, also known as Cuna is located in a group of 19th century buildings surrounding a courtyard in Haro (not too far from Bilbao).

Rioja is well known for its red wines and their phenomenal aging characteristics. There are three different regions in Rioja: Rioja Alta, Rioja Alvesa and Rioja Oriental, each producing varieties that grow best at various elevations.

Rioja Alta, the highest area is known for bright, elegant varieties, while Rioja Oriental, which has conditions like the southwest in America, hot and dry. Varieties produced there are higher in alcohol, deeper n color and add body to blends.

Tempranillo adds backbone to wines, while Viura, a white variety, adds crispness, complexity and  life to wines.

The 2018 Vina Real Rosado is made from 30% Tempranillo and 70% Viura. Its truly salmon pink in color-the desirable color in the U.S. Europe likes darker rose wines. The bouquet is intoxicating, strawberry, lime, tangerine, white peach and rotten apricot. On the palate, the wine is seamless, well balanced and reminiscent of a fruity, light, acidic Southern Hemisphere white wine. Its a young Crianza aged for five months in oak and only 12.5% alcohol.

I paired it with a ‘Ramp Pasta,’ but know that’s seasonal. It certainly would pair with fish, chicken, ceviche and light cheese.

Try this wonderful Rose if you can find it. At under $15 a bottle, its a true bargain.

Philip S. Kampe

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