Appellation: Rioja Gran Reserva DOCa

Pairing: Presa Iberica (pork shoulder)

Sommelier: Mya Brown, Wine Director, The Fairmount Pacific Rim

About the Sommelier:
 Brown is a sommelier who has dedicated the past decade to a variety of perspectives of hospitality and the wine trade across Canada, including retail, import and sales. She spent 5 years managing wine bars and Michelin Star wine programs in London, England while completing her WSET Diploma and is currently based in Vancouver as an independent wine educator and Director of Wine at The Fairmont Pacific Rim

About the Pairing:

Gran Reserva Rioja is a representation of the highest quality expression of red wines in the region, typified by a savoury depth of character that can present as equally muscular and elegant. The wine is typically Tempranillo dominant, often with portions of Garnacha and Graciano in supporting roles. Traditional growers still occasionally include a small portion of indigenous white varietals such as Viura, with parcels selected from old vines for intensity of flavour, structure and finesse.  (may delete Viura for HQ sponsorship..)

The result is plush red fruit, further developed by extended ageing in usually  American  or French oak barrels (a minimum of 2 years  but as many as 3-5 years for some centenary  producers), followed by another minimum of 2 years in bottle before release. It is not unheard of for a current vintage to be a decade old before it reaches the shelves.


The Gran Reserva is mature, often heady and savoury in the glass with a moreish acidity ready to slice through rich, meaty fare like a smoky grilled cut of Spain’s iconic Iberico Pork, (a marbled portion of neck/Pluma or shoulder/Presa is ideal) alongside indulgent confit potatoes and the bright sweet spice of the peppers. 


Smoky Pork Shoulder (Presa)

4 to 6 Servings

3 lb boneless pork shoulder, skin on
Sea salt, freshly cracked
1 1/2 – 2 tbsp Pimenton (smoked paprika)
1 lb new potato, halved

 1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tbsp garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
Basque peppers, to serve


Directions: Place pork shoulder on a work surface and score the fat cap with a knife. Season generously all over with salt and pimenton. Place in oven preheated to 425  ̊F skin-side facing up. After 30 minutes and skin is crackling, lower heat to 350  ̊F, cover with foil and roast for another 4 hours; basting periodically. With an 1 hour and 15 minutes left to go place potatoes in a bowl with olive oil, garlic and rosemary. Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper. Add the potatoes to the roasting pan and roast in the pork juices. Remove pork from oven and let rest for 30 minutes before slicing. Serve with the confit (roasted) potatoes and Basque peppers.

*Cru by CAPS & the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers would like to thank and acknowledge the Rioja DOCs and other funding partners for supporting the production of this content.