Rioja

One of the most famous wine regions in the world, and arguably the UK's favourite. The region has produced wines that have a venerable history, stellar ageing ability and a surprising capacity for innovation .

The main grapes  here are Tempranillo, Garnacha (Grenache), Mazuelo and Graciano for the reds and  Viura, Garnacha Blanca, Malvasia and Tempranillo Blanco for the Whites.

 

 

Rioja’s traditional  classification has 4 categories each denoting mandatory ageing requirements

 

 

Cosecha – a pale green logo on the back label – denotes a younger wine that may have no time at all in oak or more likeley  just a few months in barrel meaning it won’t qualify as a Crianza

 

 

Crianza – a bright red logo on the back label -denotes a wine which must be aged for a minimum of 12 months in oak and a further 12 months in bottle before release  

 

 

Reserva – a burgundy coloured logo on the back label  -denotes a wine which must have a minimum of 3 years ageing of which I year minimum must be in oak before release

 

 

Gran Reserva – Usually only made in great vintages and with the best grapes  -this has a navy blue logo on the back label denoting minimum ageing of 5 years of which 2 years minimum must be in oak .

 

 

In practice many of the best traditional producers regularly exceed these minimums.

 

 

Read what our Rioja Expert has to say here