Miss Sybarite is out of town for a wedding this weekend which usually means I have a free pass to make really poor decisions when it comes to food. Even though I masquerade as The Sybarite with a discerning palate, I have a special place in my heart for frozen burritos and corn dogs are my #1 guilty pleasure. However, in this instance I decided tonight was the night I was going to try something new with the blog and it called for something good coming from the kitchen. Since I decided to open a bottle of Rioja, it was only fitting that I make paella.
I have been thinking about doing a series such as this for a while but I haven’t really done anything with it, until now. Basically, as you can see from the title, I am going to be peppering my normal blog posting with some wines from Costco. I feel like my readers, or at least the readers I originally created the blog for, are people who are probably new to wine and see a dedicated wine shop as a little bit overwhelming. Also, Costco is the largest wine retailer in the United States. That is a fact that is not easily overlooked for someone like me who has the mission of making sure people drink and appreciate better alcohol, including and especially, wine. I have noticed that where Costco really fails is salesmanship. They do actually carry some very good wine and exert a lot of effort to provide good wine to their customers but, they just throw it out there on the floor and tell you nothing about it and make no effort to sell it to you. So my goal with these series is to provide a little bit of a guide to navigating the ocean of wine that is present on the Costco sales floor.
The first wine on the list is the 2009 Viña Eguía Rioja. Rioja is made from the Tempranillo grape varietal. Tempranillo is a medium to full bodied grape that generally offers a nice spice component as well as bright fruit flavors. I have always found it to be a fun and versatile grape and a utility player when it comes to food pairing. I always say, if the food has anything brown in it, Tempranillo will probably work well. It goes well with meat or stews or aged cheese or even thick brown sauced dishes. Rioja has a bunch of restrictions on it. That is to say it is controlled by origin the same way Champagne is and has to be from a specific region within Spain. Also, there are 3 main groups: Rioja, Rioja Reserva, and Rioja Gran Reserva. Similar to what we discussed in our tequila post, the naming refers to how long it is aged in both barrel and bottle. Wikipedia that stuff if you want to know more. It’s not too involved but more than I want to go into here.
This bottle, spending the least time in barrel, still has a lot of bright cherry and plum flavors. it still has all that great Rioja profile of dark spice, smokey tobacco, and oaky flavors, but finishes with a touch of something cooling almost licorice flavored. This might be the best wine I have at this price point. And that price is…wait for it…10 BUCKS! I know. Amazing. Costco has some great deals out there for the quality of wine that you get and this bottle is no exception. I may go back and buy a few more of these. I would have no problem serving this to guests. Don’t get me wrong, I have been to Spain and neither my paella nor this Rioja are anywhere close the best I have ever had, but this Rioja is an extremely decent table wine.
Costco makes wine pretty accessible to the general populous and at really good prices relative to quality. I would gladly pay around $15 for this bottle and I only paid $10. That makes me a happy little Sybarite. While this certainly is not the best wine that Spain can produce by any means, if you have never had Spanish wine before you might fine this one quite yummy and it may inspire you to explore Spanish wine more. That is always my goal, to make you explore more and challenge yourself to find new things you wouldn’t have otherwise tried. There are plenty of opportunities to do this right in our own backyard and hopefully this series of blog posts can help you get started!