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Discovering amazing wines at Rioja’s Bodegas Palacio

Bodegas Palacio in Spain’s La Rioja wine region is a perfect wine enthusiasts escape where you can discover amazing wines. Founded in 1894 Bodegas Palacio is located in Laguardia, within Rioja Alavesa. Rioja Alavesa is an area within Rioja known for its high quality wines. This area occupies a very special microclimate, which is protected from both the northern cold and wet winds and the southern heat. We were fortunate to visit Bodegas Palacio at harvest time during the European Wine Bloggers Conference #DWCC13.

Bodegas Palacio

Tasting Bodegas Palacio wines

Bodegas Palacio, part of the H.A. Barceló Group of Bodegas and Wines, is also one of a select group of centenary Rioja D.O. Ca. wineries. Rioja Denominación de Origen Calificada (D.O.C.) is centered in La Rioja but extends into parts of Navarra and the Basque province of Álava. D.O. status was granted to the Rioja wine region in 1970, with the prestigious D.O.C. status approved in 1991. Rioja was the first Spanish wine region to achieve Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOCa) status. It is not surprising that Rioja, Spain's top red wine region, was listed as one of top ten places to visit in 2013 by Wine Enthusiasts. The Rioja grape varieties used in wines from Rioja D.O.C. include the red grapes varieties - Tempranillo, Garnacha, Graciono, Mazuelo and Maturana Tinta; white grapes - Viura, Malvasia, Grancha Blanca, Tempranillo Blanco, Maturana Blanca, Turruntés, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Verdejo. The main red grape is Tempranillo with the main white grape being Viura.

Our winery visit at Bodegas Palacio began with a brief tour of their historical cellar. The tour was followed by a Crianza wine tasting. Bodegas Palacio’s winemaking history dates back to 1897. Their Cosme Palacio Crianza wines we tasted was relaunched in 1989 in its present style. The wine tasting was a vertical tasting Cosme Palacio Crianza from 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2010 vintages. In the case of Comes Palacio Crianza wines they are made from 100% Tempranillo. We started with the oldest vintage first. This was an exciting way to be introduced Cosme Palacio Crianza. The wine tasting was followed by lunch in their Hotel Restaurante Cosme Palacio.

Dining at Bodegas Palacio

Over lunch we were introduced to other Cosme Palacio wines paired with each plate served:

Plate 1: Salad (Oak leaf lettuce salad with warm goat’s cheese and “arbequina” olive oil)

Plate 2: Eggs (Scrambled eggs with seasonal wild mushrooms)

Plates 1 and 2 were paired with Milflores, Red 2012 and Cosme Palacio 1894, White 2009 (92% Viura 8% Malvasia)

Plate 3 Entrée choices were (1) Fillet Steak with Cosme Palacio red wine sauce (2) Steamed hake with squid and crispy shallots sauce

Plate 3 was paired with Glorioso Reserva, Red 2008

Plate 4: Chocolate soufflé

Plate 4 was paired with Glorioso Gran Reserva, Red 1978 from Comes Palacio’s historic cellar

First of all, special thanks to the Bodegas Palacio chef and the staff who treated us so well. It is without doubt that the Glorioso Gran Reserva, Red 1978 was the highlight of our visit to Bodegas Palacio. Bodegas Palacio Glorioso has a history dating back to its registration in 1928. Glorioso is one of Bodegas Palacio's longest established and most prestigious wine brands.

Yes, La Rioja wine region is a perfect wine enthusiasts escape where you can discover some amazing wines, like Bodegas Palacio's, Glorioso Gran Reserva 1978 and their Crianzas. Also the end October in Rioja, Spain is the perfect time to see first hand the harvest. I invite you to join me in my travels in Spain and elsewhere in search of the best in Spaswinefood. You may also visit my travel column at the Examiner.

© Sharon Parsons

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