The Holiday Flavors of Rioja: Spanish Spiced Turkey

The Holiday Flavors of Rioja: Spanish Spiced Turkey

This post is sponsored by Rioja. While I did not create this recipe, photographs, or video, all opinions are my own.
Can you even believe that next week is Thanksgiving? I feel like two seconds ago it was the end of October and now here we are at the end of November. It’s official that the holiday season is in full swing. Before you know it your kitchen will be pumping out glorious platters of food and your dining room will be bustling with friends and family from near and far. But, as always, we cannot forget one of the most important things: the drinks.


The Holiday Flavors of Rioja: Spanish Spiced Turkey

This year, to pair with your favorite holiday fare, consider Rioja wines. I have been buying them frequently, and I have to tell you, they are really great.
Hailing from North-Central Spain, Rioja refers to the wine as well as the region it comes from. Made mainly from the Tempranillo grape, Rioja wines are one of only two D.O.C regions in Spain and all Rioja wines are always regulated so you can be sure you are buying a quality bottle every time. Why Rioja wine when there is Burgundy’s Pinot Noir or Piedmont’s Barbaresco? It’s simple. Rioja wines are versatile and affordable.The best part is that you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg on the wine for your holiday meals. And, even better – there’s no need to buy different bottles for each course. The juicy rosado wines, crisp blancos, or elegant reds are the only ones you need to choose from, each ranging from lighter to robust with spice.

The Holiday Flavors of Rioja: Spanish Spiced Turkey

If you really want to up your usual turkey recipe and take it to the next level, using Cosecha and Crianza Rioja wines can add some beautiful Spanish flair. Take your basic turkey and rub it with a blend of warm spices and smoked Spanish paprika. Then, stuff the bird with dried fruits soaked in an orange sauce and use the same sauce to baste the meat as it roasts. If it sounds incredible, you’re right. It’s even better than you imagine.


The Holiday Flavors of Rioja: Spanish Spiced Turkey

Cosecha wines act as a beautiful starter glass to your dinners. Fresh, fruity, and not too heavy, they pair well with appetizers, white meats, and simple pastas without overweighing the palate with rich flavors. And it’s the perfect wine to pour yourself while making your holiday dinner. Rioja’s Crianza classification lets you know that each and every wine is at least three years old and has been aged in casks for a year or more.


Lighter Rioja red wines often have hints of smoke, only slight notes of oak aging, and plenty of ripe berry flavors. They are the perfect complements to dishes like this turkey recipe. The orange zest and baking spices are natural pairings with these Rioja wines. I love a light wine while cooking and eating a big dinner, so they are perfect for holiday meals.


Check out the video below for holiday inspiration with Rioja wines:

Spanish Spiced Turkey


  • 1 Bird
  • 4 quarts water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Carrots & Onions for roasting
  • Fresh thyme
  • Orange Sauce
  • 2 Cups OJ
  • 1 sml yellow onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • Salt, to taste
  • Honey, totaste
  • 4 cups stock
  • OJ Zest
  • Stuffing
  • Prunes
  • Pine Nuts
  • Apricots
  • Spices
  • Fennel seed
  • Cumin seed
  • Smoked Spanish Paprika
  • White Pepper
  • Mustard Seeds
  • Chili flakes
  • Salt
  • Equipment
  • Cheese cloth
  • String


  1. Bring to a boil the water, sugar and salt. Cool and then immerse turkey in the brining liquid for about an hour.
  2. Toast pine nuts until golden on the stovetop.
  3. In another pan, saute onions & garlic until soft and fragrant.
  4. Add orange juice and stock and reduce by ?, stirring frequently.
  5. Season with honey and salt according to your preference. Pour over the apricots and prunes and allow fruit to soak.
  6. Strain fruit, reserving the liquid, and stir in the toasted pine nuts. Using cheesecloth and string, wrap and tie the prunes, apricots and pine nuts into a bundle.
  7. Combine spices in a bowl.
  8. Stuff bird, sitting in a roasting pan, with bundle and rub with spices. Arrange onions, carrots, and fresh thyme around the turkey.
  9. Roast at 375F for about 2 hours, or until done, depending on the size of the bird.
  10. Baste occasionally with the strained orange sauce while roasting.
  11. When serving, remove the cheesecloth insert and arrange its contents around the turkey with the carrots and onions. Garnish with fresh thyme.
The Holiday Flavors of Rioja: Spanish Spiced Turkey

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