Rare indeed are the fine wine regions that can compete with Rioja in their capacity to hold amazing historic tastings. Marqués de Riscal (with wines made in the 19th century), Marqués de Murrieta, La Rioja Alta, Viña Tondonia and Martínez Lacuesta, to mention a few, can share with confidence very old wines that today show vividness and complexity.
It was not always the case. In 1833, Cyrus Redding published A History and Description of Modern Wines. Although he visited Spain, he wrote nothing about Rioja. At that time, it was not a fine wine region. There was certainly a long tradition of cosechero (carbonic maceration) wines, which can be delicious over a few months, but tend to decline quickly. These wines were all but destroyed when they were sent to consumer regions in wineskins on the back of mules.
Scroll down to see 12 old Riojas from 1890, 1895, 1920, 1928 and others – all built to last
Rioja grapes need care, know-how and equipment to produce great wines.