A Bodegas LAN Lunch with Paella and Tapas


I have a growing proverbial stack of posts that I’ve been meaning to write forever – I’m sure this is not an uncommon problem among bloggers. A lot of them are about wine events I went to in the Before Times, and right about now I’m looking back on these bygone days quite longingly. One such event was a wonderful lunch I attended exploring the wines of Bodegas LAN at Bellota Restaurant in SF in November of 2019.  Since we’ve been taking a look at Rioja recently, now seems like the perfect time to take a look back at this lunch too. It was really a lovely way to better get to know the wines.

LAN’s wines are pretty easy to be found in the US and they have wines at many price points. They have been around since 1972 and they’re a  medium-sized operation with a lot of reach, but they’re conscientious about the environment and how they work, paying close attention to things like water usage, soil erosion, pollution, and they do not use chemical herbicides in their vineyards. Their winemaker María Barua has been a big driving force behind many of their initiatives. We’ve actually explored LAN on this blog before in Cooking to the Wine: Bodegas LAN Rioja Reserva with Smoky Seared Octopus, so please take look at that post for a little more info, as well as to grab a very tasty recipe. You can also learn more about their sustainability practices here.

Now let’s jump right into the lunch and line-up. Even though the wines were tasted a while ago now, many of these age very well, and of course newer vintages are available of the wines that are intended for younger consumption. It’s also a good way to see how the different styles and age classification levels affect the wine. Here’s a infographic from Winefolly.com as a refresher:

The wines were paired with a really beautiful menu of updated Spanish classics prepared by Bellota, and since both the wines and food were quite classic, the pairings can easily continue to provide inspiration. I really loved the food and absolutely hope to go back in the After Times (fingers crossed). They are currently offering takeout and delivery. 

Here's what was on the menu:

  • Heirloom Tomato Salad with stone fruits, cucumber, migas, jimmy nardello peppers, six-month aged manchego.
  • Patatas Bravas (always a favorite!) - crisped potatoes, chipotle brava salsa, and smoky aioli.
  • Tortilla - Spanish omelet, swiss chard, green garlic, chorizo, potato, goat feta, pimenton aioli.  
  • A beautiful Paella filled with fall vegetables including wild mushrooms, autumn squash, broccoli di ciccio, sunchokes, chestnuts, pickled red onions, and pomegranate.
  • Chuleton - Wood-grilled, dry-aged Flannery beef, basque tximitxurri, bone-marrow holandesa, and shallot butter.
  • Queso - Three Manchego Flight with quince paste, celery, and grape picos.
  • Churros with dulce de leche and salted chocolate sauce - Yum!

And here are the wines tasted (click the links for additional details on each wine):

Santiago Ruiz O Rosal Rías Baixas 2018 (Average price $21) - Round peach and citrus notes, backed up by saline and stones.

You might be wondering what a Rías Baixas is doing in this line-up. It turns out Bodegas LAN owns this winery in NW Spain as well. 

This wine made a lovely aperitif and it was excellent with the tomato salad!

D-12 Rioja 2015 (SRP $18) - Violets, bright black cherry, a touch of tobacco, dill. Easy drinking and juicy with a little grip on the finish.

D-12 Rioja 2016 (SRP $18) - A little plusher than the 2015, showing notes of raspberry and red plums, a hint of cinnamon. It also shows a little more tannic grip and structure than the 2015.

Blend: 100% Tempranillo.

Historically at LAN, wines that stood out as being particularly good after fermentation were assigned to vat number 12. The D-12 is an homage to the legacy and the place. The 2016 is 10th vintage of this wine.

Both of the D-12’s were really nice with the tortilla dish. They were also solid with the salad, particularly the bright 2015. The 2016 was also nice with the potatoes.

Viña Lanciano Rioja Reserva 2012 (SRP $25) - Red plums, black cherry, baking spice including cinnamon, black tea, and herbs. Elegant and smooth, with a grip from dusty tannins on the finish.

Blend: 90% Tempranillo, 8% Graciano, and 2% Mazuelo. Vines come from 30+ year old vines from their Viña Lanciano estate vineyard.

This is their original flagship wine. It’s always a reserva and made with the intention of being respectful of the traditional regional aromas associated with the wines. I really enjoyed this with the potatoes, including the lightly spicy sauce. 

Edicíon Limitada Rioja 2013 (SRP $43) – Classic nose with savory tertiary notes, cherries, berries, and plums. Tobacco on the palate, the fruit still shows freshness despite the age.

Blend: 82% Tempranillo, 10% Mazuelo, and 8% Graciano. 2013 was a  difficult vintage, but still a very nice wine.

Edicíon Limitada Rioja 2016
(SRP $43) - Ripper fruit notes, a mix of red and black fruits, in comparison to the 2013, with hints of dusty earth and baking spices in the background. Smooth and elegant.

Blend: 87% Tempranillo, 9% Mazuelo, and 4% Graciano. An easier vintage than the 2013, and it comes out in the ripeness of the grapes.


The two Edicíon Limitadas were particularly good with the paella. The 2013 got brighter in the pairing, and the richness of the 2016 was perhaps even better.

Xtrème Organic Rioja Crianza 2014
(SRP $18) - Chocolate on the nose, with light moist tobacco and cedar. Black cherries, raspberries, and plums. Silky with nice acidity, and dusty tannins. Tastes like it could easily age longer.

Xtrème Organic Rioja Crianza 2015
(SRP $18) - Exotic notes of musk on the nose, sandlewood, dark plums, black raspberries. It was plush with an uncurrent of brightness.

Blend: 100% Tempranillo

The Xtrème Organic line was spearheaded by María Barua, and it shows her and the winery’s commitment to the land and a more sustainable future. These are the first two vintages of the line. The grapes come from a special parcel on the Viña Lanciano Estate.

The wines sang with the steak, in particular the 2015. Sooooo good!

It’s been so nice to reminisce about these beautiful wines and this delicious lunch. If we ever make it back to Rioja in the After Times, LAN will definitely be on my visiting list.

And for one more pairing and LAN wine exploration, check out Chuck-it-all-in-there Paella paired with their Culmen Reserva.

The churros weren't paired, but they were good, so we'll use them to end on a sweet note.

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