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1997 vintage guide for Spain Rioja

drink soon

A sound but unexceptional year

Weather Conditions

This was a mild, wet winter with healthy growth in the vines early on and budding was copious, offering the prospect of a large harvest. However, the summer was wetter and cooler than normal, retarding the ripening process and increasing the risk of cryptogamic diseases. However, careful spraying kept the fungi at bay and September once again delivered the goods in terms of dry, sunnyweather to complete the ripening, albeit with some irregularity.

Best Appellations

The harvest took place throughout most of September and the first two weeks of October, and
the majority of grape was delivered to the bodegas dry, ripe and healthy. Higher vineyards (particularly in Rioja Alta and Alavesa) produced the best and ripest grapes, more suited to ageing. Lower vineyards with wetter soils produced grapes with less colour and concentration, and these were mainly used to make Jovenes

Best Producers

Only Roda reported a vintage rating of 5, with half a dozen top producers rating it as a 4. It was also the year in which Rioja asserted itself as Spain‘s leading export wine region (677,813 hectolitres – 13.5 million cases or 160 million bottles), the first to overtake Sherry in 2,500 years.

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