No grilling season is complete without Spanish Rioja, the region where chuletas de cordero (lamb chops) grilled over vine cuttings, are the swoon-worthy signature dish. The Tempranillo grape, Spain’s iconic red, dominates, and the Reserva designation requires extended aging in barrel and bottle before release. This harmonizes the bruised plum, balsamic and rosemary herb notes with a sweet tobacco-leather whiff by a gentle oxidation that can only be achieved by such aging. Anything pit-roasted or spit-roasted would honor the patience involved in getting both the wine and the food to peak expression. Long-cured, exotic Spanish jamon iberico is also a classic match, but I’d just as happily do a paella with Spanish chorizo and chicken, or shellfish if you can source it. Salud!
ABV % = 13.5