Rioja Reserva – My All Time Favourite Wine…This Month


Spain’s region of Rioja has the right climate, soil and winemaking traditions to produce one of the most prestigious wines in the world. Tempranillo grapes (maker of Spain’s top red wines) is by far the most important variety in Rioja, but it’s the combination with Garnacha grapes, which provide more of a fruitful body, that creates such a well-balanced, complex blend.

So, why is Rioja wine SO good?
At a recent Pour Decisions’ wine tasting, I introduced many people to Rioja Reserva and the response was overwhelming. People noticed its clear deep ruby colour in the glass. To me, it looks fuller bodied than it actually was. On the nose, it was clean with black cherry, blueberry, and some vanilla/oaky notes. On the palate, it is medium dry, with medium acidity and tannins.

rachel's place _ 8pm _ 03.22.0 (5)
(Can be purchased at Bishop’s Cellar)

What makes quality Rioja wine?
Something cool I’ve learned is that Rioja wine by law has to be in the best condition for drinking to be sold. This means that all the wineries have to dedicate space and time for aging their wines if they want to get the Rioja accreditation. It’s also characterized not by its fermentation techniques, but by its barrel maturation, which we discuss below.

rachel's place _ 8pm _ 03.22.0 (4)20190113_125259_0001
(Click to Learn more from the NSLC Website)

Aging Terms
Rioja wine can be put into one of three categories depending on the vintage/aging process:

Crianza: This is the youngest variety of Rioja. A Crianza wine may not be sold until its third year and must have spent a minimum of six months in oak barrels.  
Reserva: A Rioja labeled Reserva will have at least three years aging in oak barrels. The wine may not be released until the fourth year after the harvest including at least six months in bottle.
Gran Reserva: A Rioja that has withheld lengthy aging. The wine must spend at least two years in oak barrels and the wine may not be released until its sixth year.


What is Tempranillo wine?
Tempranillo is Spain’s top red wine grape. It’s typically labeled by its regional name (i.e. Rioja, Ribera Del Guadiana). Tempranillo has been planted so plentiful throughout Spain that it was the world’s fourth most popular wine variety in 2010. Its grape is thin-skinned and capable of making deep coloured, long-lasting wines that are not very high in alcohol. It prospers there due to the perfect conditions from the altitude – and night-time temperatures. Tempranillo produces both red and white wines that can withstand long aging periods, have a good balance of alcohol, colour and acidity, and a smooth, fruity texture that turns velvety as it ages.

tempranillo (2)

Beaujolais Nouveau – Marketing Scheme or Glass full of Intrigue?

I don’t usually feel any strong connections between particular bottles of wine and special memories or emotional bonds. Of course, there was that one time my grandfather brought a bottle of Great White to Christmas dinner.

That’s a story for another day, though.

But, this wine brings back memories when my father would go out west to work, and my mother and I would be alone for four weeks at a time. Once, she had visited a naturopath for a small health issue, and the woman told her to cut out most acidic foods, sweets, and basically anything good. The naturopath did mention that wine with dinner could help – and because of her healthy/earthy diet, a Beaujolais was recommended to us.


It was the best treat to come home to after classes or work. We would look forward to it all day, and laugh at how bourgeois we had become while my poor father was out freezing in an oil patch. (Sorry, dad. Thanks for the tuition money!)

The Duboeuf Beaujolais Villages is the wine in my mother and I enjoyed with our meal. It’s a great wine for the $16.99 price tag!

I’m a little bit late with this selection; however, I wanted to write about this wine considering it’s November. Every year on the third Thursday in November at midnight, Beaujolais Nouveau can be found on store shelves. Beaujolais Nouveau is a red wine made from Gamay grapes produced in the Beaujolais region of France. Since it’s bottled only 6-8 weeks after production, its youthful complexion exhibits a purple-pink hue. Due to the way it is produced, there are very little tannins, and the wine can be dominated by fruitier flavours like banana, grape, strawberry, fig, and pear.


The part that I find almost as interesting is the marketing genius who developed this idea. “Hey Étienne, the Beaujolais is falling behind in sales since World War II.” “You’re right, Phillipe. Let’s market it as a Must Have with American Thanksgiving.” *High Five*

I won’t get into the other details about how the wineries in France started to suffer due to its November popularity. You can read more about that here (

Found at The Bishop’s Cellar for roughly $30. (It was clearly payday.)

I’m planning to pair this tonight with some Lebanese food, to enhance its earthiness. Normally, it’s paired with cured meats, ham, turkey and pretty much anything mushroom-based.

great white
… Oh, and in case you’re looking for a real adventure, you can buy a litre and a half of this magical mystery wine at the NSLC for $18.29.

Welcome To Our First Blog!

Thanks for joining me!

First off, why am I doing this? Wine is something many of us prefer. This club is developed by a girl from New Waterford (me) who wants to get into wine in the least pretentious way possible. I don’t care to be a snob, because I’m not one — but I care to be able to order a glass of wine at a restaurant and not feel like I just fell off the turnip truck.

Deciding which wine I was going to write about first was tough.  I didn’t know if I wanted to do something traditional, something exotic, or something considered people pleasing. The wine I’m about to tell you about is a little bit of each.

I decided this month I would go with one of Nova Scotia’s most iconic wines, a top seller in our province. With a subtle blush hue, light spritz and refreshing aromatics, Nova 7 is in a category on its own. I paired mine with a spicy meal, but I think it would have worked well as a dessert wine too!

The part I liked the most about it was the small bubbles and the lemony/apricot taste. I don’t know if I ever had anything like it, and I can proudly boast it’s a Nova Scotian wine! It’s a bit pricey for a mid-week meal wine ($25), but the dollar per value ratio is well worth it.

“I don’t even like wine, but I love this stuff!” – Tara from the NSLC


…And Now Onto the Fancy Details

Once poured a pale coral pink with a bright peach hue. On the nose, a succession of floral notes – rose petals and water lilies – intermingle with tropical hints of fresh papaya and litchi fruit. On the palate, suggestions of ripe mango and fresh apricots are brightened by crisp and energetic undertones, revealing the trademark electricity unique to our cool climate!

I would give this wine a 4/5 rating. Like most things, it would be best paired with a hot summer day. Great structure, light sugary development, and very enjoyable!

Make sure to let me know what you think! Follow us on Facebook & Instragram.

For more information about the Nova 7, check out the Benjamin Bridge website!