Movie & Wine Pairing


Altos R Pigeage Blanco 2014
Rioja DOCa, Spain

Desire (1936)
Currently Not Scheduled

Marlene Dietrich is at her alluring best in this romantic crime drama from producer Ernst Lubitsch. After stealing a valuable necklace in Paris, she ensnares an unwitting Gary Cooper and heads to northern Spain – the home of this rich and delicious white wine – where she ends up being the one seduced.


While the region’s reds often steal the limelight, white Riojas can be real stars too. Take this stunning example, crafted with 100% Viura (Rioja’s top white), from boutique Altos de la Guardia and expert winemaker Jean-Marc Sauboua. Jean-Marc gave the wine every care in the cellar – including barrel fermentation and one year of aging in fine French oak barrels. His hard work was rewarded with a gold medal from the Catavinum World Wine & Spirits Competition. You’re in for layers of juicy-ripe, orchard-fruit flavor, plus a creamy-smooth vanilla edge (from the oak).


Jean-Marc trained at Bordeaux’s legendary Château Haut-Brion, and has made acclaimed wines all over the world. He loves Rioja (his mother’s homeland), and jumped at the chance to invest in the tiny Altos de la Guardia winery. Together with Hector Gómez (below right, with Jean-Marc), formerly of Villacreses in Ribera del Duero, he crafts fine, limited-volume classics. You’ll taste the attention to detail in this lovely white Rioja.


Vines were first planted in Rioja during the Roman Empire. In the 1860s, Bordeaux winemakers arrived and shared new techniques like barrel aging. The mighty Rio Ebro divides the region and cools the hot, arid vineyards. This effect helps the fruit ripen perfectly, yielding juicy, flavorful wines. While most people associate Rioja with reds, the region’s whites can be equally alluring.


In her book, The Wine Region of Rioja, Spanish culture expert Ana Fabiano suggests a plate of roasted white asparagus (a regional specialty) and mushroom aioli with barrelfermented whites like this. It’ll also be delicious with a plate of local cheeses (we like nutty Manchego) or your favorite seafood dishes – from fresh halibut to traditional paella to grilled squid.

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