Eve: Tasting Rioja’s Bodegas Riojanas

Bodegas Riojanas, a fifth generation producer from La Rioja, Spain who has been hand-crafting wines since 1890, hosted a VIP Tasting on July 11 along with K&L Wine Merchants, in the uber-cool Hatfield’s Restaurant in Los Angeles, and organized by Allison Levine of Please the Palate.

And if you thought that was a lot in one sentence, you’ll think this was a lot to taste too.  But, being your wine-tasting conduit, I did it all for you…See the tasting notes listed first, and more about K&L, Hatfields and Please the Palate below.

About the Wines

VINA ALBINA 2005 Reserva Rioja, DOCa

80% Tempranillo, 15% Maxuelo, 5% Graciano

Aromas of red fruit, white pepper with a hint of milk chocolate goodness was followed by bright, palate drying fruit, a hint of pepper in perfect balance.  One of my favorites in the line-up.


VINA ALBINA 2001 Gran Reserva Rioja, DOCa

80% Tempranillo, 15% Mazuelo, 5% Graciano

Spicy dark fruits and black pepper on the nose and then lovely bright fruit, raspberry, and a nice balance.


VINA ALBINA 1998 Gran Reserva Rioja, DOCa

80% Tempranillo, 15% Mazuelo, 5% Graciano

An older nose with just a whisper of sweetened chocolate, and an interesting taste full of deep tannins, black pepper, nicely balanced and the deepest, darkest wine of the evening.


MONTE REAL 2005 Reserva Rioja, DOCa

100% Tempranillo

Sugared plums and chocolate hit me in the aromas.  The taste was a balance of both blue and red fruits, smoke, black pepper, with a long, dry finish.  Another favorite.


MONTE REAL 2001 Gran Reserva Rioja, DOCa

80% Tempranillo, 15% Mazuelo, 5% Graciano

A beautiful nose and flavors of red fruit, white pepper, oak and earthiness.  Yes, I liked this one too.


MONTE REAL 1998 Gran Reserva Rioja, DOCa

80% Tempranillo, 15% Mazuelo, 5% Graciano

A different nose compared to the others, most likely due to the age, I found traces of mushroom, mint and ripe red fruits.  Tasting the wine I found both cranberry-red fruit and other red berries, pepper and a nice smokiness.


PUERTA VIEJA 2009 Crianza Rioja, DOCa

80% Tempranillo, 15% Mazuelo, 5% Graciano

On those nose I found deep fruit, rosemary and a touch of eucalyptus but on the mouth I got peppery red fruit, with a palate-drying finish.


CANCHALES 2011 Vino Joven Rioja, DOCa

100% Tempranillo

The lightest of colors so far in the tasting followed by a very fruity nose.  The taste screamed out, “NOUVEAU BEAUJOLAIS” for fans of young, bright and fruity wines.


PENAMONTE 2010 5 Meses En Barrica Toro, DO

100% Tinto de Toro (Tempranillo)

Enjoyed aromas of plums, chocolate, nutmeg and other spices and then a taste of dried fruit, cigar and wood.


VINA ALBINA 2010 Semi Dulce Rioja, DOCa

90% Viura, 10% Malvasia de Rioja

This almost-dessert wine put out a brie-on-toast creamy smell, followed by flavors of crisp melon and honey.


VIORE 2011 Verdejo Rueda, DO

100% Verdejo

I got cheese on the nose on this one as well, and a little cinnamon…and flavors reminiscent of a crisp Sauvignon Blanc.


VEIGA NAUM 2011 Albarino Rias Baixas, DO

100% Albarino

This was also a favorite for me when I detected both a sweet floral quality and caramel apple on the nose and then a taste of crisp green apples and honey.


Passed Hors d’Oeuvres by Hatfield

There was quite the clamor each time waiters materialized with trays of wonderful pairings from Hatfield’s kitchen.  So much so, that I requested the menu.  We enjoyed:


Pork Belly Skewer

Chipolino onion, Sherry vinegar, maple glaze, and rosemary.


Yellow Fin Tuna Tartar

Curry and lime.


English Pea and Ricotta Agnolotti Bites

(Looked like little pillows of paper-wrapped ravioli)


Phyllo Wrapped Prawns

Tarragon and caper aioli.


Goat Cheese Panna Cotta

Rosemary Parmesan cracker.


Chicken Panini Bites

Garlic parsley sauce, oven dried tomato.


Duck Confit and Buckwheat Crepe Cannelloni

Fresh Mozzarella and Oven Dried Tomato Caprese

Spread: House-Made Bread, Manchego, Membrillo (Quince Paste), Marcona Almonds and Spanish Olives.

About K & L Wine Merchants

Named as the best wine shop on the Internet by Money magazine and one of the top 10 wine retailers in the nation by the publishers of Wine Spectator, K&L is proud to offer the world’s finest wines, great service and competitive prices. We offer thousands of wines on this site with inventory updates happening in real time. In addition we operate three retail stores, in San Francisco, Redwood City and Hollywood, California, and publish a free monthly newsletter.


About Hatfield’s

Karen Hatfield
Owner/Pastry Chef

Karen Hatfield’s pastry career began not far from home at the Los Angeles Culinary Institute, where she perfected her innate ability to take classic combinations and translate them in unexpected ways, a signature of Hatfield’s today. Upon graduation, Hatfield served as a recipe tester, followed by a pastry chef position at the venerable Spago Beverly Hills and Spago Hollywood, where she met her husband, Quinn. A few years later, the two moved to New York and quickly immersed themselves in the New York restaurant scene. Karen held positions at Café Boulud, Jean-Georges and Gramercy Tavern, where she worked alongside James Beard Award winner Claudia Fleming. In 2002, Karen and Quinn moved to San Francisco to open Cortez restaurant in Union squares hotel Adagio where Karen also managed the front of the house. San Francisco was exciting and the restaurant was flourishing but after three years the Hatfields longed for their own restaurant back home in L.A. In early 2006 the chefs discovered a quaint restaurant space on Beverly Boulevard and quickly began work on their labor of love. In it’s original incarnation Hatfield’s was named best new restaurant by Los Angeles Magazine and garnered a Michelin star. Three years later, the culinary couple have re-opened in a larger space on Melrose Avenue, where they continue to execute their critically-acclaimed New American cuisine earning accolades such as Bon Appetit’s 10 Best New Restaurants in the country, and earning Los Angeles Magazine’s top rating of Four Stars.


Quinn Hatfield

Quinn Hatfield discovered his culinary passion at an early age, having spent much of his childhood in the kitchens and dining rooms of Splendido’s and Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio in San Francisco. Eventually settling in Los Angeles in 1997, the North Carolina native worked as Sous Chef of Spago Hollywood, where he met his wife, Karen. Shortly after, he was named Chef de Partie at Spago Beverly Hills working alongside esteemed chef Lee Hefter, before relocating to New York with Karen. Back east, Hatfield’s career led him to a number of esteemed restaurants, including Rocco DiSpirito’s Union Pacific, Jean-Georges and Bouley’s kitchen, where Hatfield thrived in the competitive restaurant scene. In 2002, the dynamic duo helmed their first restaurant working side-by-side with Quinn as Executive Chef of Cortez, a restaurant located in Union Square’s Hotel Adagio. Quinn and Karen earned three stars and were named rising star chefs by the San Francisco Chronicle. Leading his own kitchen for the first time reinvigorated Quinn’s dream of opening his own restaurant. During a scouting trip to Los Angeles, the Hatfields uncovered a quaint space on Beverly Boulevard and the first inception of Hatfield’s restaurant debuted in 2006. A true labor of love, Hatfield’s flourished in the 40-seat space and the couple decided to fulfill their dreams of owning a larger restaurant. This new incarnation of Hatfield’s restaurant on Melrose Avenue opened in February 2010 to great acclaim, including accolades such as “Best New Restaurant” 2010 by Angeleno Magazine and a three-star review from The Los Angeles Times.


About Please the Palate

Please the Palate specializes in marketing and event planning for the wine and spirits industry. From product launches to regional promotions to consumer education, Please the Palate creates and tailors packages to fit your needs. Overseeing both the big picture and the organizational details, and partnering with top industry professionals, Please the Palate is dedicated to providing seamless customer service.

Allison Levine, owner, Please The Palate, Italian Wine Specialist and Level 2 WSET Certified.  Partner, VIVA VINO LA.  Allison@pleasethepalate.com



Twitter: @plsthepalate

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