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Rioja Viñedos Singulares: Panel tasting results

A tasting of wines celebrating individual vineyard expression proved that while some producers are hesitant to join this relatively new category, there are treasures to be found among those wines that are on offer.

Beth Willard, Matthew Forster MW and Pierre Mansour tasted 48 wines, with 3 Outstanding and 20 Highly recommended.

Rioja Viñedos Singulares: Panel tasting scores

48 wines tasted

Exceptional 0

Outstanding 3

Highly recommended 20

Recommended 20

Commended 2

Fair 3

Poor 0

Entry criteria: producers were invited to submit up to two current release wines, red and / or white, classified as ‘Vino de Viñedo Singular’ as per the regulations of DOCa Rioja

This was an intriguing tasting that threw up some surprises, much like the viñedo singular category itself. Since the 2017 harvest, producers in Rioja have been permitted to classify specific vineyard sites, shifting the focus from the ageing process to the wine’s origin. In this tasting, we assessed wines from the first five vintages produced within this designation.

The highest scoring wines offered the clearest varietal character and sense of place. Among the three Outstanding wines (see below), the Garnacha-dominant blend of Quiñón de Valmira displayed the red cherry fruit that’s typical of the variety, accented by the flinty freshness of the higher zones of Monte Yerga. Meanwhile, Tronco Negro – from 90-year-old vineyards – exemplified the old-vine concentration that’s demanded by the category (vines must be at least 35 years old and yield at least 20% below the average for the rest of the DOCa).

Scroll down to see tasting notes and scores from the Rioja Viñedos Singulares panel tasting

Viñedos Singulares panel tasting scores

Wines were tasted blind

The judges

Beth Willard is involved in sourcing wines for both the on- and off-trade in the UK, with a particular focus on Spain and Eastern Europe. Formerly buying manager at Direct Wines, she is a DWWA Co-Chair and also a member of Spain’s Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino

Matthew Forster MW is an independent wine consultant and education specialist, and founder of The Wine Partnership. A former director at the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, he has a particular passion for the food and wine cultures of Spain and Portugal

Pierre Mansour is director of wine at The Wine Society, and has been buying The Society’s Spanish wines since 2008. He is a member of Spain’s Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino, and a DWWA joint Regional Chair for Spain

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