Editors note: Continuing with the second of two new writers today we have Craig Donofrio who splits his time between South Carolina and New Jersy! I really hoped to find someone like Craig who could help me keep up to date on the goings ons over in the USA. Here’s a tasting note on a wine tasted at the Charleston Food and Wine Festival, let Craig know what you think. Like I said Monday, in a couple of weeks I’ll be introducing our new writers more formally, so stay tuned!
Charleston, South Carolina is a spectacular southeastern (USA) coastal city that is steeped in history, culture and hospitality. Although it has long been a hotbed for eclectic politics (the first shots of the Civil War were fired here) and religion (nickname “holy city” because of all the houses of worship), the most feverous debate these days seems to be about which of the city’s fabulous restaurants should be visited first. From collards to caviar, grits to foie gras, the city has it all-and the secret is out. So hang on to your seersucker suits ladies and gentleman, because one thing not up for debate is that the next generation of (culinary) carpetbaggers is on the way. This time, however, they’re waving their black Am Ex cards and toting Louis Vuitton bags.
During a recent trip to Charleston for the star-studded 1st annual Distinctively Charleston Food and Wine Festival, I had the pleasure of rediscovering the wines of Rioja producer Mayor de Migueloa. I was first introduced to these wines over a year ago while purchasing for Charleston’s favorite French brasserie (39 Rue de Jean) and was impressed by the focused but traditional style and attractive pricing. After learning that the bodega is located in the beautiful village of Laguardia in Rioja Alavesa (often regarded as the best sub-region in Rioja), I was disappointed I hadn’t stumbled upon the winery during an extensive Spanish wine tour the previous winter. Fortunately, The Charleston Trading Company (828.324.6330), an importer based in Hickory, NC, has begun distribution of the Migueloa wines in Charleston and other select South Carolina cities through Advintage Distributing.
Mayor de Migueloa also produces joven styles in red and white, made respectively from Tempranillo and Viura, that are meant to be consumed early and often (given their attractive price). They are lighter bodied wines to complement light cheeses or to be consumed as a refreshing aperitif.
When in Charleston, Look to try some of these wines at Raval (453 King St.) with some of their wonderfully prepared tapas, Spanish cheeses or preserved meats. Raval, a sexy, flattering, but still uniquely Charleston adaptation of Mario Batali’s Bar Jamon, has become the city’s hippest tapas bar and lounge concept.
For more information on the wines, inn or restaurant of Mayor de Migueloa in Lagurdia, Rioja Alavesa, find it on the web (in Spanish or English) at www.mayordemigueloa.com
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