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Regional profile: Rioja Oriental

More than just an administrational tweak, the changing of this sub-region’s name from Rioja Baja to Rioja Oriental holds far deeper significance for its native wine producers. As the region undergoes a winemaking transformation, Simon Field MW explains how a new generation is reclaiming the higher ground – in every sense of the phrase

Rioja Oriental used to be known as Rioja Baja. It used also to be known, anecdotally at least, as something of a poor relation; think of the comparison between the Aube and the Côtes des Blancs in Champagne, or between the Mâconnais and the Côte d’Or in Burgundy. This reputation, it transpires, was born as much as anything from ignorance, political expediency and a physical distance from the seat of power which, historically, has centred on the northwestern sector of the Rioja DOCa, closer to the early French influences and location of the largest and most powerful houses.


A mixed dozen of Rioja Oriental

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