What could have been better after hours of traveling, then arriving at a peaceful and calm place in the evening. The dinner, of course with a Rioja wine pairing took place in the Venta Moncalvillo, a well-known gourmet restaurant and one of the regions most recognized eateries. We were greeted by the Echapresto brothers who own and run the restaurant. One in charge of the pots and pans and the other was so called the „Rioja Pope“ and a walking Rioja wine lexicon.
After being asked in and a look on the very good wine selection, including some Germans, we enjoyed our reception in the garden. The chef was growing a lot of herbs and veggies there which are also implemented for the seasonal cooking. The sun was standing really low, a car would barely pass by so no noise at all and I was sipping a glas of well temperatured Lalomba 2017, the first Rioja wine. Chef Echapresto slowly started to serve some memorable bits and bytes and I gently fell into local mode.
Amongst these little dishes have been items like a crispy and creamy cauliflower tube, deconstructed peas or the best from my point of view, an onion ice cream on toast. Everything was well balanced in taste and textures and always served with a bit of serenity. The Lalomba made from Garnacha and Viura was very fresh and fruity as it was grown in rather heights. The peachy color with apricot notes and lychee make this wine a definite favorite for my next summer gathering. Looking back, I can still remember each item served while enjoying the little hidden backyard and its surroundings.
Before taking a seat in the restaurant, glasses were replaced and poured with another Rioja wine. This time it was a Edición Limitada Verdejo Lías 2016. The hand-picked grapes for this Rioja wine are 100% Verdejo. Taste and nose in this case were getting a bit more complex compared to the first wine. A creamy texture with notes of stone fruit, spices and white chocolate made this a good preparation for some stronger dishes from the chef.