Albora Rioja, 1992. Campo Viejo

The history and legacy of the Rioja district in Spain is rich in tales and stories. I would suggest, if your are interested, a book by Jan Read “Wines of the Rioja”. I was captivated by the accounts of not only Rioja, but of the capital of Rioja, Logrofio.

The Rioja district of Spain is broken into three sub-regions: The Rioja Alta, the Rioja Alaveas and the Rioja Baja. Each with its own characteristics they are subdivided into the municipalities, zona de produccion Rioja Alta is the larg­est of the three districts and is home of the capital of the Rioja, Logroño.

During the Roman times, Log­roño was an active city (then named Vera). There are still wine fermentation chambers in the ground where once stood Roman wineries. During the 1850’s, when there was an era of experimenta­tion to get Rioja wines to the rest of the world, it was the custom to pour the wine through the streets in rivers to make room for the coming vintage (now that must have been a sight).

The harvest in Rioja is a good excuse to travel to Spain. Though the harvesting actually starts on October 10th in Rioja, the week­long Fiesta de San Mateo begins September 21st in Logroño. Parades, bands, costumes and even bull-running highlight the fiesta throughout the week. In the center of town lies our featured winery, Campo Viejo. Since 1959, the bo­degas has been making wine in Ri­oja and has become the largest pro­ducer in the district. Focusing mainly on red wines, wines that range from light and fruity to big and tannic, the bodega has ven­tured into a new realm of white wines made from 100% Viura. Viura is responsible for about 90% of the white wine from Rioja and mainly produces a lighter fruitier white than its predecessor, Malva­sia. The Albor line of the Campo Viejo is new to the United Sates. Our selection this month is a won­derful example of what can be done with this grape. Taste, you will agree!

The color is light straw, brilliant to the eye. The nose is loaded with fruit; green apples and kiwi. The wine is light on the palate with the green apples and kiwi coming through. A hint of almond shows here. The finish is crisp with the apples and kiwi showing through.

Serve slightly chilled with light fish dishes or an orange-glazed roasted chicken. Would also go with summer fruits as a “sittin’ on the porch” sipper.

Cellaring notes: Vinted for drinking now; can hold for 1 year.

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