Friday, July 12, 2019

Oven Roasted Italian Sausage with Rioja Reserva

Usually a couple times a year I feature wines of Spain.  Our Wine Pairing Weekend group led by Jeff of Food Wine Click chose Rioja to highlight with some BBQ pairings.  Let’s get creative!   

Rioja Wine Region 
The Rioja wine region of Spain has been making wine since Roman times.  It’s one of Spains major wine growing districts located in the north central part of the country.  Only about 200 miles from Bordeaux one can really delve into some of the famous wine regions of Europe.  Back when the phylloxera vine attacking disease hit in the late 1800’s into early 1900’s some Bordeaux producers relocated to the area of Rioja since many of their vineyards were destroyed.  The area had a similar climate and growing conditions in comparison to Bordeaux.  The winery I’m sharing today, Bodegas LAN, is one of the respected wineries on this region. 
wine regions of spain
Copyright of Wine Folly

The Winery ~ Bodegas LAN 
Bodegas LAN was established in 1972 and is based in the town of Guenmajoy in the heart of Rioja Alta.  Their vineyard, Vina Lanciano, is situated along the Ebro River and is where many of their wines are  produced.  I was intrigued by the LAN in the title as I thought it was rather unique.  Come to find out it represents the 3 provinces that make up the Rioja D.O.C, Lagrono (known as La Rioja), Alava and Navarra.   

The Grapes ~ Tempranillo 
Rioja is primarily a red wine region.  The red grapes used in the wines of Rioja include tempranillo, garnachamazuelo, graciano and maturana tinta.  When it comes to Spanish wines I have always gravitated towards tempranillo as I found many similar characteristics to sangiovese, one of my favorite Italian reds.  They are medium to full body in weight displaying red fruits, primarily cherry as well as some earthy qualities and leather notes.  As you’ll see the wine I sampled was primarily tempranillo with a small amount of mazuelo
The Wine ~ Bodegas LAN 
2012 Bodegas LAN Rioja Reserva
The 2012 Bodegas LAN Rioja Reserva is made of 92% tempranillo with 8% mazuelo.  The grapes are grown from long time suppliers of theirs from both the areas of Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa.  The vines average about 25 years old.  It is aged 18 months in oak plus an additional 21 months in the bottle.  I loved the aromatics of this wine.  The red fruit smelled luscious with vanilla notes and a hint of spice.  The wine was medium-bodied with quite a silky texture.  Well-balanced with mostly cherry notes and some blackberry showing in the glass.  A lingering finish with the tannins making an appearance at the end.  For only about $16 I find this wine to be quite a value. 

Whats unique about the oak aging of this wine are the hybrid barrels used.  Looking through the photos of their wine cellar they’re structured in a beautiful pyramidal shape.  The barrels are comprised of French oak bases with American staves.  Per their website the French lends “aromatic complexity with delicate notes of spice, touches of menthol, smoke and cocoa.  It addes a considerable amount of tannins giving great structure”.  The American oak on the other hand lends vanilla and coconut nuances.  
Bodegas LAN hybrid oak barrels
Wine cellar of Bodegas LAN ~ Copyright of Bodegas LAN
The pairing  
When I think of red spanish wines whether its garnacha or tempranillo I always gravitate to roasted meats or BBQ grilled foods.  I chose to pair the Bodegas LAN Reserva with an oven roasted Italian sausage dish with roasted potatoes and veggies.  I love the summer time as I belong to a local farm and participate in their CSA program so weekly the veggies are abundant in our home.  A super easy one pan dish to prepare and in this house the easier the better, plus my kids love sausage.  The vino is for me!  The pairing went well and I think grilling everything would be even better.  
Oven Roasted Italian Sausage with Vegetables & Potatoes
Join the rest of my fellow food and wine lovers as their share their wines of Rioja with some BBQ pairings.  If you catch us in time join us live on Twitter Saturday July 13th at 11am EST on #WinePW.  Hope to see you there! 

*Most wines were received as samples, but opinions are all my own.


  1. Interesting to learn about their hybrid barrels. Nice detail to include. I agree it is a lovely wine. :)

  2. Sausage seems to be a big hit this month with the Rioja wines. Love that your one pan meal can be made inside as well as outside.

  3. Looks like a tasty meal well suited for Rioja! I need to get back into doing CSAs one of these years.

  4. I love farms that allow people to have a section and work it to earn their veggies! This Reserva is truly a wonderful wine.

  5. Interesting notes in your post; Tempranillo having similar characteristics to Sangiovese, I so agree! And the use of hybrid barrels, great idea to impart both French and American oak barrel characteristics.
    I of course love your idea to pair the Rioja with sausages, I too paired it with sausages and what a great pairing it was! Cheers!

  6. Can't think of a better food and wine pairing than sausage and Rioja. And what great value on this Reserva!

  7. I love one pan meals, especially in the age of kids! I'm glad they like them, too.