Rioja is a wine region situated in northern Spain. Rioja DOC (Denominacion de Origen Calificada) covers roughly 63,000ha and consists of three designated sub-regions: Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Alta and Rioja Baja.

There are about 1,200 wineries producing red (tinto), white (blanco) and rose (Rosado) wines from red grapes including; Tempranillo, Garnacha Tina and Graciano and whites including; Viura, Garnacha Blanca, Malvasía, Torrontés, Verdejo, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Rioja red wines are classified in four categories depending on length of ageing; ones simply labelled Rioja (formerly vin joven) are the youngest, spending less than a year in oak.

Crianza reds must be aged for a minimum of one year in oak and a few months in bottle before being released. For whites the minimum cask ageing period is six months.

Rioja Reservas are selected wines of very good vintages – they must be aged for a minimum of three years, one of which is spent in oak before being bottled for two years and then released. For the whites, minimum ageing period is two years with at least six months in oak.

Rioja Gran Reservas comes from outstanding vintages and are aged for at least two years in oak and three years in bottle before being released. For the whites, the minimum ageing period is 4 years with at least one in oak.




New Rioja president targets rise in exports

10th October 2013

Spain's financial crisis means Rioja must redouble efforts to find drinkers abroad, the new president of the region’'s ruling council has said.

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Rioja through the ages

Top Riojas through the ages

14th September 2013

Sarah Jane Evans MW explores the stylistic evolution of Rioja and suggests the best wines to look out for and buy from vintages spanning the last two decades...


Rioja's Roda releases new vintage of Cirsion

30th May 2013

Bodegas Roda, one of Rioja Alta's most renowned producers, has just launched the latest vintage of its flagship wine, the Cirsion 2010.

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Rioja winery sues architect for €2m over leaky roof

25th April 2013

The owner of Rioja's Ysios winery says it has 'no choice' but to file court action against renowned architect Santiago Calatrava Valls, after suffering from repeated leaks in a roof he designed...

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ygay 1925

Rare Riojas up for auction at Bonhams

26th November 2012

Rare Riojas dating back to 1925 and other rare Spanish wines go on sale at Bonhams in London at the beginning of December.

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Spain export growth 'substantial'

19th September 2012

Spain’s wine export business has shown substantial growth in the first half of 2012.

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Decanter travel guide: Rioja, Spain

30th August 2012

From avant-garde architecture to outdoor pursuits and culinary delights, this area of northern Spain is a traveller’s paradise, discovers Sarah Jane Evans MW. Taken from the April 2011 issue.

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Spain predicted smaller harvest, higher grape prices

23rd August 2012

As harvest gets underway in Spain, observers are predicting a reduction in quantity, while prices for bulk wine are already substantially higher than last year.

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Viura in Rioja

Rioja produces first commercial sweet wines

6th March 2012

Two Rioja producers have revived the region’s tradition of producing late-harvest wines.

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Rioja 2007

Rioja 2007: panel tasting results

2nd March 2012

On the whole, judges recommended this approachable vintage with particular praise for the reservas. The top Riojas were found to have drinkability, appeal and balance. See all 26 wines, including...