If you’re a Dining Traveler, it is more than likely that you enjoy your meal with a thoughtful wine pairing. The more I travel, the more I become exposed to different wines. I don’t know about you, but I feel that the more I learn about wine, the less I know. There are so many regions, grapes, and varietals! That being said, I defer to the experts for wine pairing advice. Jordi Paronella, the sommelier of Chef Jose Andres’ ThinkFoodGroup’s Jaleo properties shares his views on Rioja wine pairings with us.
A bit about Jordi: he joined ThinkFoodGroup in 2013. Prior to working with ThinkFoodGroup, Jordi worked with restaurants including CAL XIM as well as Michelin-starred Restaurant MOO, the first Roca brothers project outside of Girona. At MOO, Jordi served as Head Sommelier, working alongside Josep Roca, one of the most talented sommeliers in Europe. For Jordi, wine pairing is one of the most important parts of being a sommelier as it shows a guest that wine and food always go together and brings their dining experience to another level.
1. What makes wines from Rioja special?
2. How do you decide on your wine selections?
I wanted different styles, and wines that are really versatile with food. Rioja is mostly known for red wines. But whites and rose are growing in the region. I always say that with reds there is a traditional Rioja and modern style, where the aging process is determined by the winemaker.Normally French barrels are used, different volumes and less aging time in bottle, more fruit forward and fresher.Ganko is the perfect example, it uses a different blend of Garnacha and Graciano. I wouldn’t say it’s a Rioja, to me it’s more Burgundy Pinot Noir driven.
3. There’s a perception that wines from Rioja are mostly red. Can you share some of your picks for rosé and white wines from the region?
As far as whites, I recently and the opportunity to taste Honorio Rubio (the Añadas and Lias Finas) in New York and fell in love. Of course there’s also Tondonia Reserva or Gran Reserva, Placet from Palacios Remondo, Remirez de Ganuza, Remelluri.For rosé, the Clarete from Ontañon, the Bandol from Rioja is a classic style blending white and red grapes.
4. What are your favorite wine pairings at Jaleo?
- Manzanilla Pasada Pastrana with fried egg with caviar
- Torta pascualete with Amontillado Lustau Almacenista Puerto de Obregon
- Arroz negro with De Nit from Raventos i Blanc 2014
- Arroz de iberico with Agustí Torelló Barrica Gran Reserva 2008
- Pulpo a la Gallega, mencia, Ultreia St Saques 2015 from Raúl Pérez
- Bacalao amb samfaina, Dido Universal 2014 predominant Garnacha.