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Worth the wait: Rioja vintage guide

Should you be opening your Rioja to enjoy now, or is it best to keep it for a few more years? Here’s our guide to how different vintages fare over time.

The best Rioja wines are designed to be aged, first in barrel and then in bottle, for many years. Some of these wines, produced in exceptional vintages, develop great complexity over decades and stay in pristine shape even after a century or more. Such acclaimed vintages from the 20th century include 1948, 1952, 1955, 1964, 1982, 1994 and 1995.

The 21st century began with one of the greatest vintages ever, 2001, and since then it has produced other top vintages such as 2004, 2005, 2010 and 2012. Among the most recent vintages, 2021 and, most of all, 2019, are presented as great, but we’ll need to wait a couple more years to see if that promise becomes a reality.

The vintage guide below should be considered as a general guide. The region is large and diverse, and some producers will perform very well in lesser vintages.

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