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Rioja: Reimagining Gran Reserva

Traditional, oaky-style Rioja gran reservas are making way for new interpretations of the genre, resulting in younger, less complex wines. Whether the trend is a good thing or bad is open to debate, but Sarah Jane Evans MW investigates what’s driving this change.

They say you can tell when you’re getting older because policemen start looking younger. I can’t say I’ve noticed. What I have noticed is that Rioja gran reservas are looking younger. Not just looking younger, but tasting younger too. Frankly, many seem to be reservas masquerading as gran reservas.

The tasting accompanying this feature only confirmed it. So too did our 2020 Decanter World Wine Awards tasting. Plenty of amiably juicy youngsters, some with distinctly tight tannins, many with showy fruit, belying the vintage shown on the label. But gran reserva, really?


Rioja gran reservas: Evans selects 10 to try


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