A growing band of Rioja ‘reformers’ want change, believing that the current level of classification is too simple for such a complex region of terroirs. Adam Lechmere picks 11 top Rioja wines from these new radicals.

Exciting ‘reformer’ Rioja wines to try

Remelluri Blanco 2011Remelluri, Blanco 2011
Rating: 19.25/20pts (97/100)
Field blend including Viura and Albariño. White flower aromas and round palate of stone fruit, peach, exotic spice and honey, pierced by bracing acidity and fine mineral length. Luscious, triumphant.
Price: £40-£50 DBR Wines, Ellis Wharton, Hedonism, Harrogate Wines, Indigo Wine, Vin Cognito
Drink 2015-2020
Alc 14.5%


Marqués de Murrieta Capellania 2010Marqués de Murrieta, Capellania White Reserva 2010
Rating: 18/20pts (93/100)
Full-bodied palate with dancing acidity plus aromas and flavours of roast almonds, white fruit and a delicate creamy finish. Fresh and clean.
Price: £13.95–£22 widely available via UK agent Maisons Marques & Domaines
Drink 2015-2020
Alc 13.5%



Marqués de Cáceres Excellens Rosado 2014Marqués de Cáceres, Excellens Rosado 2014
Rating: 17/20pts (90/100)
Strawberry and red cherry flavours with brisk, balancing acidity. Drink young.
Price: £5-£10 Forth Wines, Inverarity Morton, Jeroboams
Drink 2015-2016
Alc 13.5%



Contino Reserva 2005Contino, Reserva 2005
Rating: 19.25/20pts (97/100)
Youthful, floral aroma with black cherry top notes. On the palate there’s bright dark fruit, damson and hint of black olive. Fine acidty and lovely dry tannic length.
Price: £23 Berry Bros & Rudd, Lay & Wheeler, The Wine Society
Drink 2016-2030
Alc 14%



Palacios Remondo Propiedad 2011Palacios Remondo, Propiedad 2011
Rating: 18.75/20pts (96/100)
This 100% Garnacha has aromas of roses and liquorice on the nose then a classic, linear palate whose tannins show steadily increasing grip alongside redcurrants and pink grapefruit.
Price: £18-£20 Berry Bros & Rudd, Divine Fine Wines
Drink 2015-2030
Alc 14%


Artadi El Carretil 2012Artadi, El Carretil 2012
Rating: 18.5/20pts (95/100)
Bright dark fruits, blueberry and damson plus notes of leather and exotic spice. Insistent tannins. Superb energy.
Price: £72 Berry Bros & Rudd, James Nicholson
Drink 2018-2035
Alc 13.5%


Navajas Reserva de la Familia 2005Navajas, Reserva de la Familia 2005
Rating: 17.75/20pts (92/100)
Splendidly juicy and velvety dark fruit with old-fashioned grippy and leathery tannins. Flavours of quince, polished saddles and liquorice. Very fine in a traditional style.
Price: N/A UK www.bodegasnavajas.com
Drink 2015-2030
Alc 13.5%


Ontañon-Ecologico Ecologico 2013Ontañon, Ecológico 2013
Rating: 17.75/20pts (92/100)
Blackberry fruit on the nose and dry, fresh tannins. A lovely characterful Rioja, classic, restrained black fruit but with charming hints of red cherry.
Price: £9.99 Define Food & Wine, Drinkmonger, John Hattersley, Philglas & Swiggot, Vinomondo
Drink 2015-2022
Alc 13%


Ysios Reservas 2007Ysios, Reserva 2007
Rating: 17.75/20pts (92/100)
Lovely, dense briar nose with sweet black fruit, fine dry tannins, powerful but with great restraint.
Price: POA Pernod Ricard
Drink 2016- 2030
Alc 14.5%



Ramón-Bilbao 2011Ramón Bilbao, Viñedos de Altura 2011
Rating: 17.5/20pts (91/100)
50% Garnacha gives perfumed freshness, with raspberry on the nose and juicy blackcurrant on the palate. Textured, tannic finish. Mouthwatering.
Price: £11.99 Fraziers
Drink 2015-2019
Alc 14%



Paco Garcia 2014Paco García, Seis 2014
Rating: 17/20pts (90/100)
Tempranillo with a dash of Garnacha. Red cherry and redcurrant fruit, very bright with earth and leather. Fine, ripe juicy tannins.
Price: £10-£12 General Wine Co, James Nicholson
Drink 2015-2020
Alc 13.8%


  • WineBuffer

    Thanks for the list of wines to check out but how about an accompanying article that explains to those not in the know exactly why “the current level of classification is too simple for such a complex region of terroirs”?