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Autumn Newsletter 2014



Shop Rioja 

This October sees the launch of Shop Rioja. Over 100 independent and online retailers will be participating in a month-long celebration of Spain’s flagship wine region. Shop Rioja will offer everyone across the UK the opportunity to experience Rioja’s diverse and exciting wines via hosted tastings, price deductions and many more enticing promotions held in independent merchants around the UK.

Leading wine retailer, Laithwaite’s, will be offering customers a wide selection of Rioja wines to taste every day, free of charge, throughout October in each of its 12 branches across the UK.

Shop Rioja will be taking over Northern retailers, with the likes of Martinez wines, Lancaster Wine Company, Corks Out and Rodney Densem Wines Ltd offering some great opportunities to customers. Martinez Wines will be offering 10% off all Rioja wines, with the opportunity to enter a ‘Great Rioja Raffle’ when six or more bottles are purchased. Both Corks Out and Lancaster Wine Company will be following suit, offering customers exclusive purchase offers.

Southern retailers also have a diverse range of opportunities to offer. To name just a small selection of promotions available, Alexander Hadleigh Wine Merchants, located in Southampton, will be hosting two tastings on the 17th and 18th October, showcasing a variety of styles from the region.

On 1st October Lymington’s Solent Cellars will be holding a fantastic Rioja and Spanish food matching evening, offering customers the chance to learn about the food compatibility of Rioja wines and The Wine Reserve will host Rioja ‘n’ Roll – a night to celebrate Rioja and discover the diversity of the region and its different ages, colours and styles.

Stay tuned for further updates on further Rioja promotions and more events at @RiojaWine_UK / 


How much do you really know about Rioja?


Did you know that it’s currently harvest time in Rioja ? Or that Rioja is divided into three different sub-regions -  Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Baja? If not, then perhaps it’s time to brush up your knowledge! To find out more, head to the ‘Learn about Rioja’ section of our website.

Tell us what you’ve learnt on Twitter and we’ll re-tweet our favourites!




Partridge for Autumn



Partridge is in season now, and it’s one of the most delicious game birds you can buy. One partidge per person is the rule, and it’s best cooked just slightly pink; but if you prefer it well done, that’s fine.

It has a delicately gamey taste and a fine texture, and you can play on those autumnal notes with this gratin of root vegetables, which is deliciously sweet and nutty – and rich. Don’t skimp on the cream; it really is worth it.

It’s also worth taking the trouble to cut the vegetables thinly and evenly. A mandolin can save time here, but a sharp knife (get it really sharp!) works perfectly well.

Partridge is a treat, so push the boat out with a fine, mature Gran Reserva Rioja.

Serves 2
2 oven-ready partridges, cleaned and trussed
4 rashers streaky bacon
salt and pepper

For the gratin
2 parsnips, peeled
1 small celeriac (or half a bigger one), peeled
salt and pepper
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
284 ml double cream (the pouring kind, not the extra thick)
200 ml milk

Preheat the oven to 150º/gas 2. The idea is to cook the gratin first, and then keep it warm while the partridges – which need quicker, hotter cooking – go in.

Season the birds and drape the bacon rashers over the breasts. Put them in a roasting tin and leave them aside for the moment.

Slice the parsnips and celeriac. This is what takes the time, and the more even your slices are in thickness, the more evenly the gratin will cook. They must be thin slices, or they might not cook through. A hard gratin is horrid.

Butter a wide, shallow gratin dish and layer the vegetables, with a layer of parsnip followed by a layer of celeriac. Season each layer with salt, pepper and a little garlic, but don’t overdo the seasoning. The idea is to have it seasoned all through, not over salty. Stop layering before you get to the top of the dish: you want the vegetables to be a few millimetres short of the top. Now pour the cream over – yes, all of it – and top up with milk. You don’t want it to be absolutely awash so that it runs over in the cooking, but the top layer must be in the liquid.

Bake it in the oven for 40 minutes, or until soft and browned, with all the liquid absorbed. Check it halfway through: if it’s getting a bit too brown put some foil over it. And if the top layers are looking a bit dry, top up with milk.

When the gratin is cooked, take it out and put it in a warming oven. Increase the oven heat to 180º/gas 4, and put the partridges in. Half an hour should be fine for them; check them after 20 minutes by sticking a fork between thigh and body. If they run red, they want another ten minutes.

Serve with something green: some runner beans dressed with lemon zest and parsley, perhaps, or a watercress salad.




Win a case of Rioja wines!

To be in with a chance of winning a case (six bottles) of Rioja wine, please answer this question:

Which independent retailer will be hosting 'Rioja 'n' Roll' this October for #ShopRioja? The answer can be found in our newsetter and on our website here

Please email your answer, along with your name and email address to

Good Luck!



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