Champagne & Rioja
RIOJA located south of the Cantabria mountains in north-central Spain, is the country’s best known and most historic wine region. The emphasis in Rioja is squarely on Tempranillo, although Garnacha, Graciano and Mazuelo (all red grapes) are also grown and frequently blended with Tempranillo. As for white wines, Viura (a k a Macabeo) yields a basic, crisp wine with apple and green melon characteristics.
CHAMPAGNE —that is, real Champagne—is produced only in the Champagne region of France, and it’s pretty much universally hailed as the greatest sparkling wine in the world. It’s effervescent and lively, and at the same time it offers tremendous complexity and finesse.