PREMIUM

Ructions in Rioja

Allowing Riojas to be bottled under a new, vineyard-led classification seems an obvious step in defining quality. But, says Sarah Jane Evans MW, the Viñedos Singulares initiative has led to heated debate in the region.

‘It’s a disgrace – una vergüenza,’ exclaimed a Riojan winery owner a couple of months ago. He was expressing in the strongest terms his frustration with the new regulations recently introduced by Rioja’s governing body, the CRDOCa. Appellation rules are frequently unpopular, but rarely have I encountered such criticism, ranging from the extreme above, to a more generalised lack of enthusiasm.