Movie & Wine Pairing


Pagos de Tahola 2017
Rioja DOCa, Spain

Baby Doll (1956)
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Since Tempranillo grapes ripen early and make a vibrant and fruit-forward wine at a young age, enjoy it with young Carroll Baker’s first leading performance. She’s a revelation in this controversial Tennessee Williams adaptation, depicting a young woman married off while still a teenager to a failed businessman (Karl Malden) and who openly flirts with rival factory supervisor Eli Wallach (in his screen debut). Just as the wine gets mellower over time, Baby Doll has only increased in estimation since the days of the Hollywood Production Code.


Rioja is Spain’s most famous region, loved for its perfectly mature, barrel-aged reds. But it’s also known for juicysmooth, fruit-forward reds like this classic, from a favorite family estate. Two generations of the Chavarri family currently run Pagos de Tahola – father Francisco and daughter Ruth (below). Winemaker Miguel Lopez Nuñez is the final part of this winning triumvirate. Rich limestone soil and higher elevation help Miguel coax deliciously deep flavor from the estate’s ancient, low-yielding Tempranillo. A perfect choice for roasted lamb, traditional paella, and more.


Tempranillo makes some of Spain’s (and the world’s) greatest reds. From the word temprano (‘early’), it ripens before most other red grapes, especially in warm, sunny climates. Dark and thick-skinned, it’s made to be barrel aged – typically in American oak (for a vanilla-rich complexity), though some winemakers prefer more subtly spicy French barrels. Either way – the longer the aging, the more mellow the wine.


WM_RuthChavarri_whitewineA 19-mile valley bordering the Sierra Cantabria mountains and the mighty rivers Ebro and Oja (‘Rio Oja’), Rioja has been producing wine since Roman times. But, it was only in the late 1800s that the Rioja wine we know and love began to emerge. The catalyst: the arrival of winemakers from Bordeaux, who helped introduced the art of barrel aging.


stew_paellaPagos de Tahola is an incredibly food-friendly wine. It will really sing with roast lamb or venison (bonus points for lots of garlic and fresh herbs). Or, enjoy it Spanish family style, with a large, traditional paella (saffron-flavored rice with shrimp, mussels, chicken, and spicy chorizo sausage), gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp), or red piquillo peppers marinated in olive oil.

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