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White Rioja: Panel tasting results

This tasting highlighted the quality potential of white Rioja and proved that aged Viura is the region’s star performer when it comes to whites.

Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW, Sarah Jane Evans MW and Pierre Mansour tasted 115 wines, with 7 Outstanding and 46 Highly recommended.

White Rioja: Panel tasting scores

115 wines tasted

Exceptional 0

Outstanding 7

Highly recommended 46

Recommended 54

Commended 8

Fair 0

Poor 0

Entry criteria: producers and UK agents were invited to submit current-release white Rioja wines of any style and any vintage

The category of white Rioja includes acclaimed wines such as Viña Tondonia Gran Reserva and Marqués de Murrieta Castillo Ygay – wines with exquisite elegance that can last longer than a human lifetime. There are also newer wines made in that model, as well as many other younger wines in a variety of styles, made from several different grape varieties. Probably because of this stylistic diversity, it can be hard for wine drinkers to pinpoint what ‘white Rioja’ is.

This panel tasting was excellent on two counts. First, because of the good scores. Second – and probably more importantly – because it helps us establish a definition of the most promising white Rioja style.

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

White Rioja panel tasting scores

Wines were tasted blind

The judges

Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW is a widely published wine journalist, educator and judge. He holds a degree in agronomical engineering and a Masters in viticulture and oenology, and is a DWWA joint Regional Chair for Spain

Sarah Jane Evans MW is an awarded journalist, author and broadcaster, a DWWA Co-Chair, and the chair of the Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino. Her latest book The Wines of Central and Southern Spain is set for release in 2025

Pierre Mansour is director of wine at The Wine Society, where he has worked for 23 years. Starting out with merchant Berry Bros & Rudd, he joined The Wine Society in 2000, moved into buying after four years and has been buying The Society’s Spanish wines since 2008

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