By Patrick Gilkey

How many of you can roll your ‘R’s? (Go ahead and try, no one is listening!) It’s always fun to pretend to speak another language, especially if you aren’t fluent! Some of you may be old enough to remember the Lays marketing campaign when they launched Ruffles Potato chips in the market. I for one had fun as a child pestering my family with my ability to mimic this commercial, and roll my ‘R’s.

This hidden talent has allowed me to master my pronunciation of  the Appalachian for this month’s featured wine, Oscar Tobia from Rioja, Spain. Go ahead and say it with me Rrrrree- yoh – hah! Or reee-oh-ha! Rioja is a proud Spanish community that specializes in growing varieties of Tempranillo, Garnacha tinta, Mazuelo (also known as Cariñena) and Graciano. It is governed by the Consejo Regulador DOCA Rioja, which governs and labels the wine based on the time it spends aging in oak barrels and the bottle.

Oscar Tobia Reserva goes above and beyond the DOCA regulations and spends 24 months in new French oak barrels, and spends more than 15 months in the bottle before being released. The combination of aging in barrel and bottle results in a wine that tastes fresh without losing bold fruit expressions. The aging process also allows for the bold tobacco and leather notes that experienced wine drinkers love. The aging process also gives this wine a smooth and oaky quality which enables a wonderful wine experience from first sip and encourages your pallet to want more!

For those of  you who aren’t that familiar with Tempranillo (Temp-Rah-knee-yoh), this wine is Spain’s best-known grape. Tempranillo is known for its smooth structure, rich flavor, and bold tannins. Very similar to a Cabernet Sauvignon in body, but it also embodies the fruity characteristics of a Pinot Noir. You can expect aromas of vanilla, bright red cherries, plums, and liquorice, followed by spicy notes of black pepper, cloves and nutmeg.

Once this smooth and sultry juice hits your palate, you’ll be aware of intense dried fruit and spice followed by the velvety feel of smooth tannins with a long juicy finish. Anyone else want a glass right now?

So, you might be in the head-space that red wine is not for the summertime, but I assure you the exact opposite is true. Due to its long spicy finish, it’s a perfect pairing for smoked or barbecued meats. This is a great option for those summer night cook-outs. So, before you open up your expensive Cab to go with your summer steak, pop open a bottle of Oscar Tobia Tempranillo.

Side note to all of my chocolate and desert loving folks, Oscar Tobia with chocolate is a must-try pairing!

Because Rioja wines aren’t widely known you can get them at a great value. Oscar Tobia retails around $23.99. This wine can age for 10 years or so like a Cabernet Sauvignon or drink today like a Pinot Noir. Such a fun and delicious wine for any and every occasion.

Here are a few food pairing options you can try with your first bottle:

  • Lasagna, pizza and dishes with tomato-based sauces
  • Barbecue grilled-meats, smoky dishes
  • Roasted vegetables or hearty pasta
  • Grits, polenta, and dishes with corn as a major ingredient
  • Mexican food such as tacos, nachos, burritos, and chile rellenos

This is one of my MOST favorite wines in Vino Distribution’s portfolio. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, Cheers!

To find out where to purchase Oscar Tobia please click here.