In partnership with Rioja Wine Month

When it comes to hosting a dinner party, there are three key ingredients that make the evening magical. There’s of course the dining element and the company, but the main component tying the whole evening together is a bottle of the good stuff. We’re looking at you, wine. 

We can’t ignore the fact that there are so many options to choose from, but one region that pulls us back for more no matter the occasion or season is Rioja. Home to so many varieties from crisp, young whites to aged reds and vibrant rosés, it’s a wine region that offers something for everyone.

For those not so acquainted with the area, Rioja is Spain’s premier wine producing region. It’s modern and forward thinking, while still firmly rooted in tradition and boasts an array of styles to explore. It’s also the country’s gastronomic heartland and its wines have excellent food pairing potential, making it the perfect accompaniment for dinner parties, Christmas and celebrations year round. 

Every October, the region is celebrated with Rioja Wine Month, a whole month dedicated to the premier wine producing region. Restaurants, bars and independent retailers join together to mark the occasion. The Rioja Wine Directory is a great tool for finding retailers and restaurants across the country that stock Rioja wine, from zesty whites to rich reds. 

Whether you’re searching for the perfect wine to bring out at your next dinner party or a wine to gift a loved one this festive season, read on to uncover our favourites. After all, what’s a dinner party without wine?

Sierra Cantabria Rioja Blanco 2020 – £21.84

A perfect all-rounder, the Sierra Cantabria Rioja Blanco is fresh, crisp and silky. Delicate in taste, expect a rush of fresh citrus fruit, apricots and hints of vanilla. 

It pairs beautifully with pork, poultry and grilled fish, as well as mushrooms and roast chicken.

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Ramon Bilbao Lalomba Rosado 2019 – £30.80

A perfect rosé should be fresh and light, and Ramon Bilbao’s Lalomba Rosado 2019 ticks all the right boxes. A light peachy pink in colour, it’s filled with an intense aroma of fresh red fruits, with hints of apricot and grapefruit. 

Pair this beautiful wine alongside salmon tartare, mussels and langoustines with fresh, garlicky aioli. It also pairs well with grilled asparagus and chicken shish.

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Escondite del Ardacho Tentenublo 2017 – £37.59

This blend is the perfect epitome of what a modern Rioja can look like. Deep in colour, the Escondite del Ardacho Tentenublo is made up of a blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha, Viura and Malvasia, from vines that are between 50-100 years old. 

Expect fruity flavours to linger including damson, blueberry, raspberry and violets, with a kick of acidity to tying the whole wine together. 

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Contino Reserva 2017 – £20.10

A reserva wine will typically spend at least three years ageing before it’s released. This Contino Reserva 2017 has been aged in oak barrels and is rich, with a great depth and character. Bring this one out at your next dinner party and win some serious brownie points.

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Vina Cerrada, Rioja Gran Reserva 2009 – £24.99

Gran reservas are aged the longest. They are the most traditional (and highly regarded) Riojas. This Vina Cerrade Rioja is ruby red in colour and is sweet with a flavour of ripe fruit and liquorice.

Pair this one alongside a Sunday slow roasted shoulder of lamb – perfect.

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