Wine Region to Know: Rioja
"Rioja is beautiful." The first line of The Wine Region of Rioja by Ana Fabiano, (Sterling Epicure, 2012) available here, is proven true again and again throughout this breathtaking new book. Fabiano combines history, geography, and an intimate knowledge of Spanish wine in this readable tour of the Rioja wine region, which is in north-central Spain.
The thorough research Fabiano has undertaken shines through on nearly every page. For example, we learn that the wool industry made Rioja an important region in the Middle Ages. And did you know Rioja is perfect for growing grapes because the surrounding mountains shield the valley from both cold Atlantic and warm Mediterranean winds? Fabiano’s writing is accessible to people with a wide range of wine knowledge, and she includes profiles of many of the area’s top winemakers and a rundown of the sub-regions of Rioja and the various grapes grown in each.
But it is the visual aspect of the book that makes it a must-buy. The photographs are stunning, especially the sweeping vineyard landscapes but also the photos of the towns of Rioja and the surrounding mountains. The book would be an excellent one to set out on the coffee table.