We asked Sarah Jane Evans MW and Tim Atkin MW for their favourite reds from Rioja that represent the best of the region today. Here are their top 10...

Sarah Jane Evans MW and Tim Atkin MW were tasked with sniffing out the best Rioja wines to form a conclusive top 50.

With Atkin focussing on reserva and generic wines, and Evans on gran reserva, crianza and non-Tempranillo wines, the full breadth of the region is covered.


Read our experts’ thoughts below


Best Rioja- 10 top wines:


Sarah Jane Evans MW:

‘Change is in the air in Rioja. Not just among those who are questioning the regulatory body’s rules. You will meet an encouraging new generation of Rioja producers starting their own bodegas.

In making my choices, I was asked to focus on crianza, gran reserva and non-Tempranillo red wines, but it is worth pointing out that Rioja also has some exceptional whites.’

Tim Atkin MW:

‘In Rioja, all but a handful of the DOCa’s finest wines are comparatively inexpensive. There are oceans of cheap supermarket Rioja (I saw reservas on sale for £5.49 over Christmas), which suppress the prices of the good stuff, at least for now.

You don’t need to spend much more to trade up from something that’s simple, fruity and oaky to something that is complex, balanced and ageworthy.

How much longer will this continue? Changes are afoot. Rioja, not before time, is seriously debating allowing producers to use the names of individual villages and vineyards on their labels – ludicrously, such a thing is forbidden at the moment.

If that happens, I think the best terroir-focussed Riojas will start to attract the attention of wine collectors and investors. And we all know what happens then…’

The full list of 50 top Riojas from Sarah Jane Evans MW and Tim Atkin MW was publsihed in the March 2016 issue of Decanter. Subscribe to Decanter here.


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  • Some great choices and some I don’t know – will need to do some reading.

    The López de Heredia wines maybe aren’t for everyone. Or at least you need to change your mindset before trying them – and probably not best approached right after a 2014 Contador!

    But once you get into them you certainly have to respect what they are continuing to do.

  • jayne 885

    Contador is one of the best Riojas around but the price is a little bit high at 290€ a botttle