With a winemaking history dating back 2,000 years, Rioja is amongst the world’s most famous wine regions and the only one to have achieved the prestigious DOCa (Denominacion de Origen Calificada) status in Spain, along with Priorat. View our selection.
Rioja’s Regions & Grape Varieties
Lying in the north-east of the country, it is protected by the Cantabrian Mountains and is divided into three regions: Rioja Baja, the warmest area to the east and Rioja Alta and Alavesa to the west. The latter two benefit from vineyards at higher elevation and cooler temperatures, producing some of the best wines. Traditionally, the reds are made with Tempranillo, Garnacha but recently local grapes Mazuelo and Graciano are seeing a revival. Many growers also produce whites from the Viura grape. Most of the large Bodegas buy in grapes, but some of the smaller producers run their estates along the lines of a French Château, growing their own fruit.
There are several styles of Rioja, a basic level which has little or no wood ageing; Crianza, which spends a year in oak and then one year in bottle; Reserva, one year in oak and the two years in bottle; and Gran Reserva, two years in oak and then three more in bottle before being sold.
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