June 9 is a special day in the small community of Rioja, Spain. Designated as an autonomous community after a long history of strife on June 9, 1982, Rioja celebrates its anniversary every year on the Day of La Rioja. Centuries of invasion and occupation kept Rioja under the jurisdiction of others including the Ancient Romans, Moors, and even French during the Napoleonic wars; not to mention various Spanish territories and provinces. During the 19th century the areas that make up La Rioja were incorporated as the province of Logroño, and remained so until 1980 when the name was changed to La Rioja keeping Logroño as the name of its capital. Despite its difficult past, Rioja has been a well known region of Spain with plenty of foot traffic due to its position on the route of St. James to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. Being a small community of around 300,000 people, Rioja manages to be a high mark in the world of wine with over 500 wineries and some of the world's favorite reds produced from Tempranillo and Garnacha.
Visit La Rioja region of Spain | © Miguel Ángel García / Flickr
Situated in northern Spain adjacent to Basque Country, Navarre, Aragon and Castilla y Leon; nestled between the Ebro river and Iberian range, with the Oja river for which it is named flowing through its west most region, La Rioja is protected from the cold wet air of the Atlantic creating an ideal climate for Tempranillo. La Rioja is known as Spain's fine wine capital, famous for red wines full of dark berry and spicy tannins on the palate with a strict classification system based on barrel aging.
Now, June 9 is celebrated each year as a public holiday in Rioja as a day of rest and community thanksgiving, with emphasis on local art, food, and of course wine!
June 9, 2023 at Creative Tastings
Patatas a la Riojana
Young Yukon gold potatoes simmered with spicy chorizo in paprika sauce
Pochas a la Riojana
White bean stew with Jamon Serrano
Rioja style Cod
Cod in fire roasted red pepper and tomato sauce
Braised leg of lamb with Menestra de Verduras
Slices of braised lamb over vegetables stewed in white wine
Rioja style pastry