La Rioja is a wine region in Northern Spain. It is famous around the world for it's production of fantastic red wine mainly from the Tempranillo grape. The La Rioja region is made up of 3 distinct sub-regions which are Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Oriental (Used to be Rioja Baja). The Rioja wine region also produces White and Rosé wines and very recently Sparkling wines are allowed to be produced under the Rioja umbrella. Cheers has always been a huge fan of Rioja wines and as a result we stock a wide range from this region.
Wines from La Rioja
Tempranillo generico - These are first or second year wines that retain their primary characteristics of being fresh and fruity.
Crianza - These wines are ones that have reached at least their third year and remained in oak barrels for at least one year. For white rioja and rose rioja wines the minimum ageing period in barrels is six months, with a minimum period in cellar of eighteen months.
Reserva - These are wines that have been aged in oak barrels and bottles for a total period of thirty-six months, with a minimum period of twelve months ageing in oak barrles followed by a minimum of six months in bottle. In white and rose the ageing period is two years with at least six months in the barrel.
Gran Reserva - These are wines that have been aged in barrel and bottle for at least five years with a minimum of two years in oak followed by a minimum of two years in bottle. For white and rose the ageing time is four years of which six months must be in the barrel.
Sparkling Wines - All Rioja Sparkling wines must be made using the method traditional and are categorised under three umbrellas. Generic where the minimum period for secondary fermentation is fifteen months. Reserva wines must have twenty four months fermentation and Gran Anada must have thirty six months minimum.
White rioja wines are predominantly produced from Viura, Tempranillo Blanco, Malvasia and Garnacha Blanca grapes with some international varieties now being used in minimal quantity such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Red rioja wine is produced mainly using the Tempranillo grape variety with four other varieties, Garnacha Tinta, Graciano, Mazuelo and Maturana Tinta making up the blend in some wines.
La Rioja Wine Region
The Denominación de Origen Calificada Rioja is located in the north of Spain, on both sides of the River Ebro. It is divided into three large zones: Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Oriental (used to be Rioja Baja). With more than 65,000 hectares of vineyards, each town and terroir has its own personality, making Rioja a unique land.
Rioja Alavesa is a zone of the DOC that extends over little more than 300 square kilometres in the south of the province of Álava on the north bank of the River Ebro. It consists of 18 municipalities.
Its land with mainly clay-limestone soils is divided into terraces and small plots. The climate has an Atlantic influence and it is dry and sunny.
Rioja Alta is the westernmost area of the DOCa Rioja. Its grapes grow under the influence of an Atlantic climate and on a great variety of soils (clay-limestone, ferrous-clay and alluvial). Its numerous towns carry a long history full of emotions and feelings that has turned them into one of the main wine tourism options in the world, featuring, among many other riches, the largest concentration of century-old wineries in Europe and the world.
Rioja Oriental is the easternmost zone in the DOCa Rioja. The geography, climate and soils of Rioja Oriental, formerly known as the Rioja Baja sub-area, make it a privileged land for growing grapes.
Wine culture is irrigated and closely linked to the personality of the villages in the area, where the values of wine, art and wine-related activities make a visit to Rioja Oriental a must.