03/28/06 – Rioja

By Jesse on March 28, 2006


Ok, let me start this e-mail by admitting that I’m drunk right now.  It’s true, I’m intoxicated.  Not on wine, either.  I apologize for the potential incomprehensibility of this e-mail, but hey, estoy borracho.  For those who were not aware, “Inside Man” was America’s top movie this weekend, and it was decided that a celebration was in order today at work, so I was instructed to go out and purchase a large amount of alcohol.  Good alcohol, too.  And then they gave me a blender and told me to make margaritas.  So right now I’m sitting at my desk, afraid to stand up, sucking down the last of my Gray Goose on the rocks with a thick slice of fresh lime, and I can hear the party still raging in the background.  God, I love Hollywood.  Do you think that if Morgan Stanley turns record profits one quarter, the copy boy gets sent out for a few bottles of Patron while the manic CEO gives a jubilant speech on how glad he was to have been frightened into investing in a few shaky hedge funds by Spike Lee?  I don’t think so.

Despite my current state, I still have a lot to say about Rioja.  It’s so great!!  It’s Spain”s #1 wine region.  It’s famous for its reds, which are made from Tempranillo, primarily.  But guess what else — they also sometimes contain other grapes!  These include Garnacha, Mazuelo, and Graciano.  Also, produced in lesser quantities are Rioja whites.  Please feel free to bring either red or white Rioja to the meeting tomorrow, although reds will definitely be easier to find.  If you bring white, try to chill it ahead of time.

TIP FOR THE HARDCORE ENOPHILES: As I said, there are three other grape varieties besides Tempranillo that are sometimes blended into red Rioja: Garhacha (known as Grenache in France and elsewhere), Mazuelo, and Graciano.  These are grapes that rarely appear on their own.  But when they do, they can be quite good.  I know this because at the Vendome tasting about a month ago, one of the featured bottles was a 100% Graciano from Lodi, California.  And it was soooo good.  So if anyone finds a bottle of one of the Rioja grapes — Tempranillo or any of the minor three — feel free to bring it along, as it might be a nice comparison.

TIP FOR THE CASUAL DRUNKS:  Rioja is going to be the easiest bottle to find out of our entire exploration of Spain, so don’t worry about difficulty in buying one!!  I think they even have them at Ralph’s, and they definitely have a couple at TJ’s.

We’ll be meeting at Julie’s house.  Here’s an e-mail she sent me with all the info you will need (remember Julie’s??).

So now I’m going to stumble around and close up my office, secure in the blissful knowledge that I’m drunk tonight and I’ll be drunk again tomorrow.  So glad to be a “wino forever”……. and anyone who can tell me at tomorrow’s meeting which Oscar-nominated actor has that phrase tattooed on his body wins my unending respect.  See you Tuesday at 9.