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.

Rodolfo Bastida, Ramon Bilbao, Rioja

Rioja: Blend it like Ramon Bilbao

14th April 2015

As you sip away at your glass of Rioja, do you ever consider the steps that led to your enjoyment of it? Decanter's associate editor, Tina Gellie, recently turned winemaker for the day to put her...

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The many faces of Rioja

26th January 2015

Rioja is all things to all wine lovers: from simple unoaked wines, through traditional Tempranillos aged in American oak, to more modern blends and terroir-driven examples. Sarah Jane Evans MW...

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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'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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Faustino releases Rioja Chardonnay

20th February 2012

Rioja bodega Faustino is the first large-scale producer to make a white Rioja using Chardonnay in the blend alongside Viura.

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Vega Sicilia

Vega Sicilia to release Rioja wine

13th December 2011

Renowned Spanish producer Vega Sicilia will release its new Rioja wine – a joint venture with a member of the Rothschild family – next year.

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Marques de Murrieta

Marques de Murrieta €20m rebuild nears completion

20th November 2011

Marques de Murrieta, one of Spain's most renowned estates, is completing a €20m renovation project that has involved tearing down and rebuilding the entire bodega.

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Rioja bodegas slow to embrace white varieties

10th November 2011

Nearly five years after Rioja bodegas were allowed to use international white varieties in their blends, only 150ha of new white vineyards have been planted.

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Fire in rioja

Fire destroys Rioja bodega

8th November 2011

A devastating fire has entirely destroyed Rioja's Bodegas Señorio de Villarrica.

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Spain and Portugal begin harvest after 'difficult' year

30th September 2011

High temperatures in August and September have led to an early harvest across Spain.

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Spain loses 'Rioja' name battle with Argentina

4th May 2011

Spain has lost its 12-year battle with Argentina over use of the name La Rioja.

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