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Built to last: The wonders of Rioja’s old wines with tasting notes from 1890

Producing great wines for the long haul is one of the hallmarks of Rioja. There’s a fascinating backstory here, spanning almost 200 years and leading to classic vintages to enjoy today and for many years to come.

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

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