Of all the great food and wine pairings I experienced in Rioja last week this was the most unexpected.
We were being taught how to make one of my favourite Spanish dishes menestra at Bodegas Beronia - a complicated vegetable stew that involves practically every seasonal local vegetable including cardoons, chard, cauliflower, onions, peas and artichokes (though each cook has his/her own version)
You’d think the last thing that would go with it - and particularly the artichokes - would be their vividly fruity 2010 special production Rioja tempranillo but quite the contrary. it just sang with the mildly flavoured dish.
I think it was probably a combination of things - the acidity of the wine* and the fact that it was quite dry together with the fact that the vegetables had been cooked for so long (2-3 hours) and that more tricky-to-match vegetables had lost their aggressive edge. And the oil. Always in Spain the olive oil ....
* the fact that it came from the 2010 vintage may have helped too - not quite as lush a vintage as the 2009.