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LONDON - KINGS CROSS - BAR RIOJA

We paid a visit to the newly opened Bar Rioja in The Regent Quarter, in Kings Cross, London. It is part of the Camino group, which has a big presence in this part of London.

This bar is dedicated purely to some of our favourite Spanish wines, the wines from the Rioja region of northern Spain. La Rioja is Spain’s largest, most popular wine region and the first to become internationally famous. La Rioja is one of the 17 provinces of Spain and also the smallest.

It lies in the north of the country, approximately 120km from west to east and 40km north to south, and just over an hour south of Bilbao. It borders the Basque Country to the north, Navarra to the northeast, Aragón to the southeast, and Castilla y León to the west and south. It is protected by the Sierra Cantabria mountain range to the north and the Sierra de la Demanda to the south, both of which offer a breathtaking backdrop to this beautiful region.

The concept here is for everyone to be able to easily try all the wines on the list. So every wine, of which there are 43, is available by the glass, In 75cl, 125cl measures, and obviously by the bottle.

The Coravin system is used for the best wines, to keep them in optimum condition.

The bar itself is quite small, but there is seating in the outside courtyard area, shared with the rest of the Camino venues within the courtyard.

We tried a few of the tapas available but had come mainly, to try this new wine concept.

A few pintxos to start.

Jamón Ibérico

Queso Camero y membrillo (This is a cheese from Haro in La Rioja and is made from a minimum of 60% cow's milk, 20% sheep's milk, and 6% goat's milk, served with quince)

Alcachofas con salsa Romesco (artichokes with Romesco sauce)

Patatas Bravas

Crispy potatoes with spicy tomato sauce and alioli.

Arroz Negro The house signature creamy black rice is with cuttlefish, squid ink and alioli

Then onto the main event, the wines!

Compañía Bodeguera De Valenciso Rioja Blanco, Rioja Alta 2021 70% Viura, 30% Garnacha Blanca

Intense and impressive from 80-year-old vines, tastes of preserved lemon, with gentle smokey notes and a creamy texture. It is complex and elegant.


Abel Mendoza Garnacha Blanca, Rioja Alavesa 2021

100% Garnacha Blanca (not shown in the above picture).

This is racy, with fantastic purity of fruit, refreshing quince and jasmine notes, subtle wood, and a steely, mineral-edged core, with a sublime fresh finish.

Bodegas Beronia Mazuelo Reserva, Rioja Alta 2017

A truly unique wine, the only 100% Mazuelo Reserva in Rioja. A flavour bomb of cherries and chocolate, with incredible purity and intensity.

Viñedos Sierra Cantabria Gran Reserva, Rioja Alavesa 2012 98% Tempranillo, 2% Graciano, 24 months in American oak barrels

Smokey, complex, and dizzyingly perfumed with truffle, vanilla, toast, and notes of balsamic and, packed with red berries.

Palacio de Manzanos Viñedo Singular 1890 Manzanos Rioja Oriental 2017 A singular Vineyard, 100% Garnacha, an elegant lighter style, similar, to Pinot Noir. Packed with layers of forest fruits, rounded and supremely sophisticated.

Rioja wines are split into four classification levels.


GENÉRICO

Previously called Joven, this is a basic form of Rioja wine and guarantees origin and vintage only. Genérico wines have no minimum ageing requirements and are generally sold within the first or second year after harvest. Approximately 40% of Rioja wines fall under this category and are very youthful and fruity with fresh acidity.

This category also includes, wines that do not conform to any regulated ageing system and are made entirely in the way the winemaker feels is best. These wines are often world-class and up there with the very best from the region.

The next 3 styles must use 225-litre oak barrels:

CRIANZA

Whites - a minimum of 6 months in barrel and 1 year in bottle

Reds – a minimum of 1 year in barrel and 1 year in bottle.

RESERVA

Whites - a minimum of 2 years ageing of which 6 months must be in barrel.

Reds – a minimum of 3 years ageing of which 1 year must be in barrel and 2 years in bottle.

GRAN RESERVA

Whites – a minimum of 4 years of which 6 months must be in barrel.

Reds – a minimum of 5 years ageing of which 2 years must be in barrel.

Service from Florian (sorry if I have your name wrong) was very knowledgeable in describing the various wines. All in all, it is a great little spot to spend a couple of hours for fans of Rioja wines, of which I am sure there are many.

BAR RIOJA 3 Varnishers Yard

The Regent Quarter

King’s Cross London N1 9FD 020 7841 7331

Instagram @bar.rioja


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If you are visiting a Spanish city for a few days we can tailor-make your trip. Depending on your taste and style, we will plan the perfect bar and restaurant itinerary to enhance your experience.

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