Rioja is Spanish wine in many aspects. 60% of the wine sold in pubs and restaurants all around Spain. As a result, you can expect that most Spaniards who go to their favourite tapas restaurant on a Friday night will order a Rioja wine.
First off, Rioja is a location rather than a grape. Spain calls its wine after the place it is from rather than the grape used, like most European nations. Frequently, the grape isn’t even visible on the label! However, you can buy Rioja wine online with the official best winemaking from Spain. Due to a lengthy history of producing top-notch wine Rioja was the first of just two regions to get the renowned denominación de origencalificada (D.O.Ca.).
What else about Rioja wine is distinctive?
Rioja is the Spanish word for oak. Few wines take to the wood, and Rioja does to other wines made worldwide. These wines may age for a very long time in oaks, producing complex and durable bottles.
As a result, labels on Rioja bottles specify the age of the wine. While Reserva, Crianza, and Gran Reserva signify time spent in wood, “joven” refers to a fresh, fruity wine.
What is the description of Rioja’s three primary soil types?
Three soils, in addition to the varying climates in the three zones, influence the region’s grapes in diverse ways.
The grapes from Rioja
Tempranillo is the emblematic grape of Spain, while Rioja is the emblematic wine. Seventy-five percent of the plantings in the area are of just one grape! Rioja, however, really shines when blended. Out of 14 allowed grape varieties, most vintage bottles include at least two different types of grapes.
Red grapes of Rioja
In Rioja, red wine grapes account for 90% of plantings and 87% of sales. Naturally, Rioja is red wine for most people. However, there are five red grapes allowed in Rioja, including:
White grapes of Rioja
White Rioja is becoming increasingly famous, despite white grapes making up just 10% of plantings. And with the advent of sparkling wines to the region, that will undoubtedly increase. Only three types of wine were formerly allowed in Rioja:
- malvasia de Rioja
For a total of nine authorised grape types, Rioja introduced six more grapes in 2023.
The maturation of oaks
One of the characteristics that make red Rioja wine distinctive is oak ageing. When the presently Marques de Riscal and Marques de Murrieta introduced Bordeaux fermenting techniques to Rioja in the late nineteenth century, it became a common practise.
Longer ageing times in wood impart additional flavours and textures to the wine while mellower some more abrasive grape tannins. Although American wood is the most prevalent, more and more contemporary designs are using French oak.
Ages classified accordingly
Given the significance of wood for the wine, each bottle of Rioja is categorised based on how long it has matured. There are four types:
- Granada Reserve