Classic Rioja wines: robust and round with balancing acidity
The total 2001 harvest in Spain is expected to be down 20% on 2001 at around 35 million hectolitres, although this is still about 10% higher than recent average vintages. The reason for this is a long, hot and dry summer after prolonged winter rains, which has also meant that picking started early in many places – in some cases up to fifteen days before the usual date. The rains came with a vengeance on Saturday and Sunday 22/23 September.
Picking started sporadically on the 18/19 September in excellent weather, although Jesús Madrazo at Contino (Rioja Alavesa) was only picking from his oldest vines (70-year-old Graciano already showing potential alcohol of 13.5% abv) and was negotiating with the vineyard workers to stop picking after Thursday 20 and restart in the week beginning 24 September. Barón de Ley (Rioja Baja) also started picking on the 18 and reported excellent quality with very healthy, ripe grapes, bit Marqués de Riscal (Rioja Alavesa) and Marqués de Cáceres (Rioja Alta) were both holding off until end of the month. Regardless, the grapes appeared to be in good health, fully ripe and very sweet throughout the region
This will unquestionably be the second-biggest harvest in Rioja‘s history. It is likely that that some great wines will be made – quality is predicted to be MB – Muy Buena (very good) or perhaps even E – Excelente.
Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Alta