Mike and I taste around 3,000 wines a year and most of them don’t make it to our shelves. Once in a while, we make an outstanding discovery that is really exciting to bring to our customers.
This particular wine was discovered by Mike a few weeks ago in Spain when working with importer/distributor Spanish Acquisition. Bodegas Loa in Rioja was one of many stops on his quest to find wine that make the wine selection at Cork special.
During a tasting with winemaker Elena Ezpeleta, Mike knew he had found a true winner and I received a text with this photo and the words “This is find”.
Bodegas Loa, Spes Rioja, Crianza, 2010
The Bodegas Loa Spes Rioja is made just outside the town of Laguardia, located in the Rioja Alavesa, at the foot of the majestic Sierra de Cantabria. The Bodega sits on top of a hill that has a stunning view of the vineyards of La Rioja. According to winemaker Elena Ezpeleta the winery Loa combines traditional skills, with state-of-the-art techniques and expression of what the vineyards give them. The 2010 Spes, Rioja Crianza shows the skill and tradition beautifully through the wines vivid, mahogany color that sets the stage for a bouquet that has aromas of cherries, cassis, and a touch of cinnamon and vanilla. Made from 100% Tempranillo the flavors are classic with cherry, plum and a soft/sweet tobacco note all enhanced by aging in French and American oak barrels. Medium/full in body this wine has round balanced mouth feel with just a touch acidy which is indicative of higher elevation fruit of Rioja, making it a perfect accompaniment for meat and hearty dishes. This discovery will be on my personal wine list all winter.
Cider Brined Pork with Calvados, Mustard and Thyme
What you will need:
2 cups apple cider
1 ½ cups water
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
3 sprigs fresh thyme
For the Chops and Pan Sauce:
2 1" thick, bone-in center cut pork chops
1/4 cup calvados
1 shallot, finely minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely minced
1/3 cup apple cider
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
How to make it:
1. Place all brine ingredients in a medium saucepan, and stir over low heat until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.
2. Place chops in a single layer in a shallow pan, cover fully with brine, wrap and refrigerate overnight. When ready to cook, remove the chops from the brine, rinse well under cold water, and dry with paper towels before continuing.
3. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of canola oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Season pork with a little salt and freshly ground pepper. Add pork to skillet and sauté until just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to plate; cover with foil and keep warm.
4. Pour off excess oil, and deglaze the pan with the calvados over medium heat, scraping the bottom of the pan well, letting the brandy reduce to a glaze. Add 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet over medium heat and add the shallots and thyme, and sauté 2 minutes. Stir in cream and cider; boil until mixture thickens to sauce consistency, about 3 minutes. Stir in mustard, season with salt and pepper, remove from heat and serve with the pork.
Salud, The Wine Guys