10 Rioja Food & Wine Pairings

Wines from Rioja are incredibly diverse and versatile, which makes them the perfect pairing for a wide array of foods.

At the 2023 Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, we showcased red, white, rosé and sparkling wines from across all three regions of Rioja. From soft cheeses to gamey meats to desserts, we’ll walk you through our favorite pairings from our Food & Wine lineup.

Sparkling Wines

Sparkling wines are great for pairing with appetizer courses such as cheese plates and salads, but can also complement seafood dishes very nicely. Of course, popping open a bottle of sparkling wine is never a bad idea with dessert either.

The Vivanco Cuvée Inédita Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs has fine but persistent bubbles on the initial sip. With aromas of stone fruit and citrus fruits, and tertiary notes of nuts and brioche this wine is very food-friendly. The Vivanco Cuvée is well balanced and we recommend pairing it with oysters, Caesar salad, a goat cheese pasta or some dark chocolate.

The Viña Pomal Lumen Brut Reserva is a vibrant wine with intense, fresh aromas and balanced flavor. This wine is perfect for enjoying with a full plate of sushi!

Rosé Wines

Similarly to sparkling wines, rosé wines from Rioja are great for rich, creamy cheeses, salads, and seafood. The acidity alongside red fruit notes like strawberry and even cherry, make Rosés versatile wines when it comes to food. Pair the Livius Rosado Reserva crispy grilled cheese with a and experience the dance of flavors that occurs. The Flor de Muga Rosé is a great choice for salads any time of year, but especially in the summer with grilled vegetables.

White Wines

Rioja white wines are often aged in new French-oak barrels to add a slightly toasted wood flavor, without creating an overpowering oaky, buttery wine. Because these wines possess acidity, minerality as well some citrus and floral, the structure of the wine is very nice for starchy foods, seafood as well as herbs. Serve the Campillo Blanco with this cod and potatoes in a rosemary cream sauce recipe for one delicious meal! The Mugo Blanco will complement the flavors of fish tacos, or shrimp straight off the grill.

Red Wines

The red wines of Rioja deliver a complexity that can take you through any course from appetizers to dessert. For pairing with bold cheeses, we recommend the Rioja Bordón Gran Reserva because of its complex aromas of balsamic, leathers, and voluptuous tannins. The Beronia Gran Reserva and Viña Pommel Reserva would be great selections to serve alongside Smoked Ancho Chile Salted Steaks with Drunken Burst Sweet Cherries + Burrata. To round out the meal, we suggest a decadent chocolate cheesecake paired with the Faustino I Gran Reserva. The notes of stewed fruit and hints of baking spice will be a rich finish to a lovely meal.

You don’t have to be an award-winning chef like our friends at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have Spain’s finest with a beautiful food pairing right at home. The art of wine pairing is an exquisite dance of flavors, where the right combination can elevate any culinary experience. Whether it’s a robust red with a juicy steak or a crisp white with fresh seafood, exploring the endless possibilities allows us to savor life’s moments with a perfect balance on our palates. Cheers to the joy of discovering the perfect wine pairing!