Rioja can be a complex region to describe – particularly in relation to other fine wine territories. With many different climates and soils, as well as vineyards with every possible exposure, it does not follow clear geographical guidelines in the way that, say, Bordeaux does.
In addition, Rioja producers have traditionally blended several different grape varieties, which puts them far from monovarietal Burgundy.
Scroll down to see tasting notes and scores for 12 top Riojas from the 2001 and 12 from the 2010 vintage
What’s more, there’s no ‘typical’ Rioja producer, but instead a mix of large companies, family-owned wineries, cooperatives and small growers that moved into winemaking. All of them operate across almost every price segment, which is idiosyncratic.
Wine lovers can find Rioja at a wide spectrum of prices, from everyday bottles at £5 to exclusive jewels costing more than £200. And all of them share the name, Rioja – quite unusual when compared with other appellations.
The taste of two decades: 12 top Riojas from 2001 and 12 from 2010
Wines are listed in score order starting with the 2010s