One of the first words I learned when I arrived in Spain five years ago was Rioja. After cerveza (beer) and probabdores (dressing rooms), it was an integral part of my everyday vocabulary. Rioja (pronounced Ree-oh-ha) is Spain's most predominant red wine. The wine is produced in the central Spanish region referred to as the Rioja.The wines are made from Tempranillo and other grapes, are often aged in oak, and trace some heritage to Bordeaux, France from where many wine makers emigrated.
When you ask for a glass of the house vino tinto (red wine) anywhere in Spain, you will be poured a Rioja. Within the last few years Rioja has experienced an enormous growth and popularity here in the United States. Rioja pairs well with Spanish cheeses, hearty winter dishes and stews with beans, and roasted poultries. You can purchase a bottle of Campo Viejo 2003 Crianza Rioja at this online wine shop for under $10.