Highly regarded for distinctive and age-worthy red wines, Rioja is Spain’s most celebrated wine region. Made up of three different sub-regions of varying elevation: Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Oriental. Wines are typically a blend of fruit from all three, although specific sub-region (zonas), village (municipios) and vineyard (viñedo singular) wines can now be labeled. Rioja Alta, at the highest elevation, is considered to be the source of the brightest, most elegant fruit, while grapes from the warmer and drier Rioja Oriental produce wines with deep color and higher alcohol, which can add great body and richness to a blend.
Fresh and fruity Riojas labeled, Joven, (meaning young) see minimal aging before release, but more serious Rioja wines undergo multiple years in oak. Crianza and Reserva styles are aged for one year in oak, and Gran Reserva at least two, but in practice this maturation period is often quite a bit longer—up to about fifteen years.
Tempranillo provides the backbone of Rioja red wines, adding complex notes of red and black fruit, leather, toast and tobacco, while Garnacha supplies body. In smaller percentages, Graciano and Mazuelo (Carignan) often serve as “seasoning” with additional flavors and aromas. These same varieties are responsible for flavorful dry rosés.
White wines, typically balancing freshness with complexity, are made mostly from crisp, fresh Viura. Some whites are blends of Viura with aromatic Malvasia, and then barrel fermented and aged to make a more ample, richer style of white.
Artadi Pagos Viejos 2003Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
Marques de Arienzo Crianza 2003Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
R. Lopez de Heredia Rioja Vina Tondonia Reserva 2003Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
Currently Unavailable $38.99Try the 2006 Vintage 43 995038 99Save $11.01 (22%)
Campo Viejo Crianza 2003Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
Sierra Cantabria Rioja Tinto 2003Other Red Blends from Rioja, Spain
Bodegas Araco Araco Reserva 2003Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
Sierra Cantabria Cantabria Coleccion Privada 2003Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
Finca Allende 2003Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
Bodegas Baigorri Rioja Reserva 2003Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
Bodegas Lan Rioja Edicion Limitada 2003Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
Bodegas Valdemar Conde de Valdemar Reserva 2003Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain