Old and New Blend in La Rioja

February 21, 2011 2:33 am - Posted by Roland Hulme in Drink, Eat, Learn, Travel

Jody Ness enjoys La Rioja's hospitality.

I’d never spent much time with Wine Portfolio host Jody Ness before we traveled to La Rioja together – so as we sat together on the puddle-jumper to Bilbao, I was curious to see what he thought about Spain’s most famous wine.

“I’ve never met a wine I didn’t appreciate,” Jody replied diplomatically, “but I’ll admit that Rioja has never been one of my favorites. The very traditional Rioja wine  of the past is apparently quite different to what they’re producing now.”

So one of the reasons for choosing La Rioja as a destination was that it was a region striving to move beyond tradition and reputation.

“In 2008, La Rioja was declared the best wine producing region of the year by Wine Enthusiast,” Jody explained. “One of the reasons for that award was the time and effort they’ve spent modernizing what we traditionally know of as Rioja wine. That’s a process I’m eager to experience.”

“I’m always keen to have my preconceptions challenged, and Rioja wines have undergone such a transformation in recent years that it would be wrong to judge them by their traditional standards. All this innovation and investment has turned Rioja into a ‘new world’ wine from an old world terrior – and I’m eager to discover just what form that change has taken.”

This is why Wine Portfolio will be spending the next week in La Rioja – visiting some of the region’s most dynamic vineyards and discovering first-hand how La Rioja has managed to blend centuries of winemaking tradition with the latest and most innovative of viticultural techniques.

Stay tuned for Jody’s experiences and opinions.

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