Whether it’s to the Left Bank of Bordeaux, France, or the rolling hills of Stellenbosch in South Africa, tasting a wine made in a particular region instantly envelops the drinker in that place’s culture. We are taking you on a journey to Spain with Marqués de Cáceres, a winery that embodies the fun, vibrant Spanish lifestyle and gastronomy.
This family-owned bodega has deep roots in Rioja where, in 1970, Henri Forner established the now-renowned winery that changed the course of winemaking in the region and earned its title as leader of the “Rioja Renaissance.” Since 2007, Cristina Forner (Henri’s daughter) has served as President and CEO, carrying her years of experience in the wine business and her family’s winemaking legacy, commitment to quality, and pioneering ethos.
From the elegance of aged Tempranillo in the Reserva, influenced by high-altitude mountain ranges from D.O Rioja, to the bright, luscious acidity of the Verdejo from the high-plateau region of D.O. Rueda, Marqués de Cáceres’s portfolio features a stunning array of high-quality wines that typify Spain.
While the wines are perfectly delicious on their own, they are elevated even more when paired with a meal. We asked some experts in the field — from sommeliers to beverage directors to fine-dining professionals with decades of experience — what they would pair with each wine.
So get your pots and pans ready (or ready your phone to make reservations). These are the expert-approved dishes that really let Marqués de Cáceres wines sing.
Andrea Morris, a sommelier and beverage director in New York, knows that summer is the season for this bottle. “This is a perfect barbecue wine. The ripe red fruit complements the smoke and any sauces, while Tempranillo’s natural acidity cuts through fattier meats,” she says. “In a perfect world, I’d put a slight chill on the bottle to emphasize the juicy qualities and to keep it refreshing tasting while hanging out in the sun.”
For the Crianza from Rioja, grapes are hand-harvested, and the wine spends 12 months in French and American oak barrels. This helps this red blend to blossom its intense aromas, complex plum, red fruit, spice, and leather notes.
“I’m a big what-grows-with-it-goes-with-it kinda guy,” says David Sawyer, a wine photographer and former beverage director at various high-end restaurants across the country. “For this, I love [it with a] char-grilled pork tenderloin, grilled spring onions, and a Romesco sauce. Subtle, yet tasty, meats here will be enhanced by the fresher fruit notes and youthfulness of the wine, with the slight extra grip from the tannins refreshing the palate between bites.”
Sean Palmer, a sommelier and founder of a beverage consultant company in Salt Lake City, is pouring a glass and firing up the grill. “This medium-bodied, fresh red brings me to the backyard every time,” he says “This is superb with grilled chicken or pork and pairs perfectly with grilled vegetables. With notes of plum and cherry and hints of spice, it complements the grilled flavor without being overpowering.”
Morris is choosing a vegetarian-friendly mushroom and bean stew full of umami-rich flavors for the Reserva. “The earthy, savory mushrooms and the creamy texture of the beans are mirrored by the mellow tannins of the wine, while the natural acidity of the Tempranillo refreshes your palate,” she says.
The Reserva, which contains 90 percent Tempranillo like the Crianza, spends 20 total months in French oak barrels and another two years in the bottle before release. This deepens the flavors and elicits a black fruit complexity, matures the tannins, and provides a silky finish.
Sawyer recommends this wine with braised lamb shanks, adding that the food has “a hearty richness that will keep pace with the inherent complexity and concentration of flavors in this Reserva. Neither will overwhelm the other, but rather will unite to elicit a truly memorable meal.”
It’s always the right time for rosé. The Marqués de Cáceres Rosé from Rioja is made from Tempranillo and Garnacha Tinta. This light-bodied, pale coral wine is excellent for the last few days of warm weather. Fresh red fruit flavors mingle with a hint of aniseed herbaceousness and citrus undertones.
Palmer notes that the “bright and zippy rosé is a great complement to your favorite charcuterie board.” With notes of strawberry, raspberry, and brilliant acidity, it’s the perfect pairing to cured meats and a variety of cheeses.
“I’m ready for clams in garlic sauce,” Sawyer says, opting for a richer, more savory dish with this wine. “The bright acid will cut through the richness of the garlic and butter, and the delicate fruit nuances of the wine will complement all around. Off to the beach, please!”
Sawyer keeps it Spanish with his pairing of charred octopus with a side of patatas bravas, a spicy potato dish. “[It needs] something that can live up to the richer quality of this wine that stems from the lees contact, overall ripeness of fruit, and higher alcohol, but this dish won’t overwhelm the wine’s subtleties,” he says.
Palmer is going for a California coastal favorite: fish tacos. “Or paella,” he adds. “Melon and grapefruit lead the way to hints of minerality and a very complex finish.”
For Marqués de Cáceres’s sparkling option, the Cava is divine. The grapes, 50 percent Xarel-lo, 30 percent Macabeo, and 20 percent Parellada, come from vines that are 25 years old or older, which gives the wine a delicate bouquet of brioche, apples, and white flowers. Perfect with fried or crunchy food.
“I love fried anchovies or clams with Cava because the savory, rich, salty flavors are both highlighted and washed away by the bubbles,” says Morris.
Sawyer adds that whenever Cava is uncorked it’s “aperitivo time, por favor!” He recommends pairing it with a handful or two of Marcona almonds. “The salty, oily quality is contrasted by the dryness and bubbles of the wine, and the added crunch gives that wonderful third dimension to your palate,” he says.
The next time you uncork a bottle of Marqués de Cáceres wine, whether it’s at a sunshine-soaked picnic or a dinner party replete with homemade dishes, you’ll know just what to pair it with, expert style.
This article is sponsored by Marqués de Cáceres.