As keeping with tradition, dinner on the first night of the DWCC conference was at a secret destination. We were all trying to guess where we were heading when our bus swung in to a brightly-lit palace – the bodega of Rioja Vega!
Greeted warmly by Marife Blanco, Communication Director, and several members of the Grupo Príncipe de Viana team and with a delicious glass of chilled Vega white, we were immediately in festive mood. Ryan Opaz, as ever pragmatic, suggested we miss out on any winery tour and head straight into dinner. This set the scene for a relaxed and thoroughly enjoyable evening.
I was fortunate to share a table with four of the staff – two winemakers, the export area manager and a member of the marketing department – each of whom could not have been more friendly, informative and convivial. All were knowledgable and passionate about their jobs.
I was impressed by the organisation – a well-presented menu, giving the accompanying wine for each dish and with more detailed information on the wines on the back. The presentations gave just the right amount of detail and the informal information given during the dinner added to our knowledge of the region and its wines. The food was delicious – not ostentatious, just good simple ingredients, beautifully cooked and served. My favourite dish was the 'Croquetas de la abuela' – grandmother's croquetas – which were as light as a feather and absolutely delicious.
The four wines selected to accompany our dishes, one from each of the four estates within the Príncipe de Viana group – Príncipe de Viana (D.O. Navarra), Rioja Vega (D.O.C. Rioja), Albret (D.O. Navarra) and Clunia (Vinos de la Tierra de Castilla y León) – were introduced by the two winemakers, Esperanza Elias and Isabel López. The Limited Edition 2010 Rioja Vega, 95% Tempranillo and 5% Graciano, went extremely well with the croquetas. In addition there was an extensive range of wines available for us to taste during the evening, including the intriguing Rioja Vega 'gg', 50% Graciano and 50% Garnacha.
Photos by and posted by CRM.