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Rioja vintage spotlight: 2014 and 2004

A tasting of two very different vintages, 10 and 20 years on, proves that vintage is key to Rioja quality and ageability, with only the top estates coming up trumps in less favourable years.

There’s no doubt that the best Riojas improve with cellaring. The idea behind this spotlight tasting, therefore, was to see how these wines were performing after 10 and 20 years. However, the comparison can’t be based on age alone: the vintage factor is crucial.

In this instance, the differences between the 2004 and 2014 vintages are striking. While 2004 is considered to be one of the greatest Rioja vintages of this century to date, some producers would rather forget 2014 altogether.

As Pablo Franco, technical director of the Consejo Regulador DOCa Rioja, diplomatically puts it: ‘2014 was a heterogeneous vintage, but hard work in the vineyards paid off spectacularly.’

Scroll down to see notes and scores for some selected wines from the two vintages

Maturing well: vintage highlights from our tasting:

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