Stacie’s Selects Fall 2013 Wine Club Premium Package

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Stacie’s Selects – Fall 2013, Wine Club Premium Package.

Celebrating the Basque influence in wines: Rioja & Umpqua

Stacie Hunt returns with another fabulous Stacie Select’s Wine Package for KCRW’s Fall 2013 Membership Drive. Join KCRW as a member at the $10/month level and you can choose Stacie’s Selects Wine Package as a thank you gift. This time, Stacie chose two wines that celebrate the Basque influence in wine making. Keep reading to find out more about her selections and listen to Stacie talk to Evan Kleiman about these bottles below.


83% Tempranillo / 15% Garnacha / 2% Mazuelo. Aged 12 months in both American and French oak and then, another year in bottle.

What’s of interest: Winemaker Matias Calleja first one to make this wine with French oak heads (top and bottom of barrel) and American Oak staves.

In your eyes:  Garnet with a violet rim.

In your nose: Fresh strawberry, blackberry and cherry. Licorice, spice and wood.

In your mouth: Fresh berry fruit and coffee and chocolate.

Food pairing:  Paella, rich pasta sauce (mushrooms or meat), grilled red meats or aged cheese. Check out this Basque Paella recipe that Stacie recommends to pair with this wine.

Awards: The winery has been listed in Wine Spectator magazine’s Top 100 wines.  Gold Best in Class, International Wine & Spirits Competition.

About the region: Spain’s celebrated Rioja region has three sub-regions: Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Baja. For “Stacie’s Selects” Wine Club Premium Package, the selection from Rioja comes from Rioja Alta, centered around the the town of Haro. Rioja Alta occupies the most western segment of the Rioja region, bordered by the Basque country, with most vineyards along the Ebro River, with two mountain ranges bounding its banks (Sierra  de Cantabria north and Sierra de Demanda, to the south).  This sub-region was formed in 1890 by a group of Basque and Spanish winemakers who wanted to focus on creating wines that expressed the soils and location. It is acknowledged that this is the most of the three sub-regions both for quality and the quantity of wine produced. Vineyards here are located at higher altitudes, which gives the wines rich color, acidity and moderate alcohol. Soils are clay and reddish in color, showing its mineral content. In this mix, Tempranillo thrives. Other important grape varieties include Garnacha (Grenache) and the ancient Graciano  (one of the early grapes in California).  Here, the wines are finer, have lower acids and lighter qualities than the other sub-regions. These are wines of finesse


What’s of interest:   After Prohibition the first Pinot Noir grapes were planted, in spite of the early warnings that (from UC Davis, no less) that Oregon’s climate could not support grape-growing for wine.   Pinot Noir first planted in the area in the early 1960’s.   The 40-year-old, 30-acres Pyrenees Vineyard & Cellars sits along the Umpqua river and pulls many of its winemaking influences from their heritage in the Basque country of northern Spain — where the founders, the Apodaca family, originated. This area of Oregon has become one of the premiere Pinot Noir growing and winemaking regions.

In your eyes:    Dark Ruby with some purple.

In your nose:    Berries, red apple skin, floral, spiciness of cigar box and pepper.

In your mouth:  Very berry and fresh plum fruit and tea leaf (tannin).

Food pairing:  Salmon, tuna. Roasted or grilled pork and lamb or this Basque pork stew made from shoulder, olive oil and slow cooked onions.

About the region: The Umpqua Valley, Oregon appellation stretches 65 miles from north to south and is 25 miles wide, tucked between the Coast Range to the west and the Cascade Range to the east, the Willamette Valley AVA to the north and the Rogue Valley AVA to the south The winegrowing history dates back to the 1880s when German immigrants who had worked for the Beringer Brothers, the oldest continuously operating vineyard in Napa, planted the first wine grape vineyard in the Valley.   Unique and varied climate allows for both cool and warm climate grapes and rainfall averages 50” annually (compared to 20” in Rioja Alta).