An American Summer BBQ with Spanish Rioja Wine: LAN Crianza and Beronia Rosado #WinePW

With July 4 past, we’re solidly in summer BBQ season.

First off, let’s get something straight: there’s a difference between BBQ and grilling.

Grilling is direct fire underneath your food-– whether you use wood, propane, charcoal. It’s also a noun — where you put the food you’re going to cook and a verb that indicates someone is in for some heated questioning.

Barbecue is to cook by indirect heat: there’s no flames under the food and it’s usually smoked or cooked slowly over  along period of time. A barbecue is also a style of food and a gathering of people who plan to cook and eat out of doors.

While the English word “barbecue” comes from the Spanish word barbacoa. Wikipedia says that the indigenous people of the Caribbean and Florida used a word barabicu which, according to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), comes from Haiti and means “framework of sticks set upon posts.” The Spaniards saw this sometime after 1492, and in 1526, Spanish explorer Gonzalo Fernández De Oviedo y Valdés brought the word “barbecoa” to print.

This month the Wine Pairing weekend group of wine writers is also bringing “barbecoa” to print by focusing on the intersection of Spanish wine and barbecue — whether using direct or indirect heat or even a framework of sticks!

We have found over and over that “what grows together goes together” but this month we decided to do an American style BBQ with two wines from Rioja — red Crainza from LAN and a rose from Beronia. Both are made from the Tempranillo grape.


  • Cheese Plate
  • Grilled corn
  • Assorted grilled sausage from local market
  • Filet Mignon with blue cheese
  • Potato Salad

Sue’s potato salad

  • Boil 4-6 large russets in water until soft
  • finely chop 3 T onion
  • slice 1 can black olives
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped dill pickles (Sue used her homage refrigerator pickles)

Throw chopped olives, pickles and celery in a mixing bowl. Chop cooked potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes and throw into the bowl.  Add 3/4 cup to  1 cup mayo, 2 T mustard, and  2 T vermouth, 1 t salt and 1 t ground pepper. Mix all ingredients together. Top with 2 sliced hardboiled eggs, fresh parsley, and a bit of paprika for color.

2018 – Beronia – Rioja – 13% alcohol
60% Garnacha and 40% Tempranillo

What’s in a name?  According to the Beronia website, way back in the third century, a warrior people of Celtic origins named the Berones lived in Rioja “from the Canatbria mountains in the North to the Demanda mountain range in the South. This warlike population, also dedicated to agriculture, livestock, pottery and metallurgy, named this area Beronia.” Fast forward to 1973 when a group of friends and businessmen with a passion for good food and wine named their winery in homage to the former inhabitants and the land where they lived. Their rosado is made via cold-maceration on the Garnacha skins which extracts aromas. While Beronia does make certified organic wines, this rosado is not.

Gotta love a twist off cap at a BBQ!

Color:  Very pale, millenial pink; the crystalline clear color catches nicely in the light.

Nose: White stone fruit, bit of cherry, white peach, stoney minerals, river stone, river rock.

The minerality of a cold clear creek.

Palate:  There is a bit of effervescence that blows off quite quickly. Dry crisp light. Very clean and refreshing. There isn’t a lot to the finish, but it is pleasant.

Pairing: A great picnic wine, it loves brie, cured meats, smoked cheeses.

Sue: “I could totally have this wine with a bratwurst with grilled onion on a bun. So yummy with our potato salad.”

A grilled brat with a side of potato salad would be perfect. Grilled corn is a bit too sweet for the wine. Also lovely with our jalapeño cheddar grilled sausage. After that, Sue wanted this wine with a chicken rajas (chicken with a creamy green pepper chile sauce) served in a taco or burrito.

On a subsequent day, I paired the end of this rosado with a siracha sushi roll — wonderful pairing!


2015 – LAN – Rioja – Crianza – 13.5% alcohol SRP $14

Although not certified biodynamic or organic, LAN’s commitment to sustainability includes several important practices including integrated pest management:

“To avoid the much feared grapevine moth, we have used biological methods of sexual confusion involving pheromones for over a decade, using an innovation diffusion system that leaves no residue on the vines. In the case of the yellow spider mite, we are helped by the natural predators that live in Viña Lanciano, such as mites, chrysopids, ladybirds and other bugs. As for the smaller green leafhopper – of growing concern due to climate change – capsid bugs and other egg parasitoids that live in our estate help us.”

They also prune and “manage the soil without herbicides, through solely traditional labour with small implements. We fertilize, when necessary, to make up for the extraction of nutrients, with organic manure and the vine cuttings from our own estate,” says the LAN website.

Finally, LAN finds protecting the natural ecosystem around the vineyards benefits the grapes:

“We respect green corridors and we have created other spaces to protect small mammals, reptiles and even amphibians. In addition, the presence of wild plants that grow naturally in the rows between our vines is further evidence of our nurturing balance. This environment permits the presence of the typical flora and fauna of groves or riverbanks, as well as being a refuge and rest point for many birds.”

Color: Dense, plummy

Nose:  Tons of fruit, cherry, plum, dark red stone fruit, blackberry. There is also a bit of meatiness on the nose as well. Forest floor. Very expressive.

Palate: Tons of tannins, the fruit on the nose is very deceiving. Open this wine and let it breathe or lay it down for another 5-10 years. Cherry.

The more this wine opens, the better it gets!

Pairing:  With a manchego  cheese the creaminess of the cheese cuts the bold tannins of the wine.

Loving this wine so much more with food!

Really nice with the spicy venison sausage. For Sue there was an OMG moment when she had the wine with a cheddar jalapeño sausage. With the filet mignon, it was superb.  Especially because the steak had the blue cheese on top. There is such a nice fattiness to the steak which quickly cuts through the heavy tannins of the wine and brings out a fruit. This fruit is not present upon opening and only comes out as it has opened up. The fattiness of the meat and blue cheese combined tames the tannins in the wine and makes this combo sing. For this wine, most Americans need a ribeye, porterhouse, filet mignon, or rack of lamb to make it enjoyable. As a wine by the glass, it may be a bit too harsh for most Americans.

Curous about more pairings? Check out the hashtag #winepw on twitter! Here are posts from members of the Wine Pairing weekend group of influential wine writers:

What will you be putting on the grill tonight??


5 thoughts on “An American Summer BBQ with Spanish Rioja Wine: LAN Crianza and Beronia Rosado #WinePW

  1. I must agree that the LAN Crianza does need food and time to open up too. I liked reading about their sustainable practices, and thanks for including the recipe for Sue’s potato salad! Doesn’t sound like anything I’ve encountered before. Very unique!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ok, I think you must all starve yourself between events. There is no way you can feast like this each evening and still stay so wonderfully in shape. You and Sue certainly make an awesome team!!


Please Comment! I'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s