'Rioja makes the best-value fine wines in the world', says Tim Atkin MW, as he and Sarah Jane Evans MW, tell Decanter.com seven of their favourite, best-buy red Rioja wines. All wines are rated over 92 points and cost under £30/US$50.

  • Scroll down to see the best buy Rioja wines

Sarah Jane Evans MW says:

As long as I have been drinking wine, I’ve been drinking Rioja. Back at the beginning there wasn’t a huge range to choose from. Today we are spoiled by a glorious diversity. Wherever you look, Rioja offers great value.

Much of today’s excitement is generated by producers who have chosen to avoid the traditional classification of Crianza, Reserva and so on. They appreciate that this classification venerates age, but does not recognise excellence. Yet the wines that simply bear a vintage don’t make it easy for the consumer either.

What to do? Take the guidance of wine publications you trust, such as Decanter, – and drink Rioja.

Go to tastings and winemaker dinners. Shop at good independent wine merchants and share their wines with friends. Explore wine styles and producers. If you haven’t already, make this the year you consider visiting the region: you will receive a warm welcome if you book winery visits ahead of schedule.

Tim Atkin MW says:

Rioja offers incredible quality at reasonable prices. You just have to know which brands to buy, avoiding ‘industrial Rioja’ and focusing on wines with a real sense of place. Most of the best are either sold as reservas (gran reservas often spend too much time in oak for my taste) or ‘generic’ wines.

The latter category covers nearly all of the region’s icon wines, as well as the maverick producers who don’t want to stick to the regulatory council’s strict rules. Thanks to a new generation of winemakers, greater focus on vineyard origins and the general availability of the 2010 vintage (the finest since 2005), this is a great time to fill your wine rack or cellar with Rioja. Just don’t expect prices to stay this low forever.

The best buy Rioja wines:

Valenciso Reserva, Rioja, Spain 2008

Valenciso Reserva 2008

Luis Valentín and Carmen Enciso’s Reserva is always a delight to taste, and ages brilliantly in...

Points 96