Region 'Spain Rioja' - Year 1998
|drink now||A largely successful year with plenty of above average wines|
This looked to be a textbook year throughout Rioja after a mild, wet winter; in a frost-free spring the flowering went without a hitch and the summer provided excellent flowering weather. However, rain came in mid-September forcing an early start to the harvest, which began on September 15th, and the lack of sun also curtailed the final ripening period. By October 12th everyone was picking or had picked, but those who picked late saw the benefit of an Indian summer which allowed ripening to continue in excellent conditions until November 3rd.
These later-gathered grapes will, it's hoped make some excellent Reservas, whilst the early-picked Tempranillo made very good Jovenes.
Fernando Remírez de Ganuza, Roda and Finca Valpiedra rated the vintage higher, but most producers were happy with the Consejo Regulador's rating of 4, and it's interesting to note that this was the biggest year for quantity, ever, in Rioja, with production of 2,735,605 hectolitres (just over 60 million cases, or three-quarters of a billion bottles).