Wednesday, September 9, 2009

La Rioja, Wine Aplenty


This is one my favorite received postcards. The grapes are a stunning, deep purple, just begging to be eaten - although my understanding is that wine grapes are usually not very tasty to eat. I also love this card because I always buy Rioja wine when making sangria - it's a nice, dry Spanish wine that works perfectly for sangria. It's not too sweet, so when you drink the punch, you don't forget that it's a wine punch you're drinking.

I've been wanting to post about this postcard for a while, but I've been unsure how to post it in an interesting way. Today I was struck by inspiration, but let me tell you a little bit about Rioja wines in general. First, to be considered a rioja, the wine must be produced in the region of La Rioja, or small sections of Navarre and Álava. All three are in northern Spain. Rioja wines have been produced, starting in monasteries, since at least 873 AD, and probably earlier with the Phoenicians and Celtiberians. The climate of the region is considered continental; that is to
say, cold winters, warm summers, and moderate precipitation year round. Rioja wines can come in red, white, or rosé varieties, and all are oak-aged.

All in all, it sounds like a great place to visit. The Cantabrian Mountains are nearby, and the Elbe River flows through the region. The wine is world-famous, so you could probably tour wineries and sample wines all day long. But the real reason I want to visit? The Batalla de Vino, or Battle of the Wines, in Haro, La Rioja. Check it out.

Yes, those people are soaked with wine. Haro is famous for its annual wine fight, where jugs, squirt guns, bottles, and every available container is filled with wine and used in a huge, citywide wine fight. I'm totally there.

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