Rioja puts more focus on origin and terroir, less on barrel ageing

Rioja is experiencing something of a renaissance right now. To some extent, it is thanks to young, dynamic producers who think it is time to refresh Rioja’s image in the world. Therefore, we have recently seen several changes introduced.

Many producers are now keener to put on the label the geographical location of the vineyard rather than a long ageing in barrel.

Traditionally in Rioja, it has always been the ageing in oak barrel and in bottle that has given the wine its identity (crianza, reserva, grand reserva). Now you see the region – Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa or Rioja Oriental (formerly Rioja Baja, sometimes called Eastern Rioja) – on the label and often also the name of the village and maybe also, if the wine comes from a single vineyard, viñedos singulares.

Rioja has a total of 65,326 hectares of vineyards. Rioja Alta is the largest sub-region with 27,347 hectares. The tradition of ageing the wines in oak barrels has made Rioja the wine region that has the largest number of 225-liter oak casks in the world, as many as 1.3 million.

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An old village in Rioja, Spain

An old village in Rioja, Spain, copyright BKWine Photography

This post is also available in: Swedish

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