Matthew's World of Wine and Drink

About Matthew's World of Wine and Drink.

This blog began as a record of taking the WSET Diploma, during which I studied and explored wines and spirits made all around the world. Having passed the Diploma and become a WSET Certified Educator, the blog has become much more: a continual outlet for my passion for the culture of wine, spirits, and beer.

I aim to educate in an informal, enlightening, and engaging manner. As well as maintaining this blog to track my latest enthusiasms, I provide educational tastings for restaurants and for private groups. Details can be found on the website, and collaborations are welcome.

Wine is my primary interest and area of expertise and this blog aims to immerse the reader in the history of wine, to understand why wine tastes like it does, and to explore all the latest news. At the same time, beer and spirits will never be ignored. 

For the drinker, whether casual or professional, today is a good time to be alive.

Olivier Rivière Gabaxo 2014

Olivier Rivière Gabaxo 2014

Although winemaking in Rioja goes back centuries, its international reputation was made in the mid-nineteenth century by French producers fleeing the phylloxera which was ravaging Bordeaux at the time. They introduced practices such as attention to quality, site selection, and ageing wine in oak. The wines of Rioja developed from young, fruity wines drunk by pilgrims on El Camino de Santiago de Compostela to serious, mature wines drunk around the world.

Here’s a modern Rioja which combines these different elements of Rioja's history. It's made by a Frenchman from near Bordeaux, continuing that relationship between the two great wine regions. Olivier Rivière moved to Rioja in 2004 to work as a winemaker at another winery, before quickly setting up his own in 2006. He's one of the Rioja'n'Rollistas, a small group of young, dynamic winemakers determined to showcase the less traditional side of Rioja.

A mixture of old and new is at the heart of "Gabaxo," which is an unflattering local word for a Frenchman who's moved across the border into Spain. It's lush and fruity, with a ripe, juicy palate that makes me think of those thirsty pilgrims walking across the north of Spain, their palates quenched by the red wine they'd picked up while travelling through Rioja. But this wine also has a serious structure; aged in old oak barrels, there's a firm grip, some spiciness, and depth to those ripe aromas. It's only three years old, and there's a youthful immediacy to the wine which makes it very enjoyable to drink now -  or if you have the patience, another five years will soften the ripe aromas and add some earthy maturity. This is Rioja at its most engaging and drinkable.

Price: $22

Vintage: 2014

Grape Variety: 50% Tempranillo, 50% Garnacha

Region: Rioja, Spain

Alcohol: 14%

Ageing: 12 months in large, old oak barrels

Rating: ✪✪✪✪✪

Drink: now-2025.

Food pairing: pizza; lamb; hard cheese.   

Salvatore Mollatieri Vigna Cinque Querce Taurasi 2006

Salvatore Mollatieri Vigna Cinque Querce Taurasi 2006

Quinta do Infantado Late Bottled Vintage 2009

Quinta do Infantado Late Bottled Vintage 2009