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Best Rioja: Top wines to try

Some of the top Rioja wines recommended by Decanter's experts, plus some value alternatives...

Spanish wine experts Sarah Jane Evans MW and Tim Atkin discuss the future of Rioja…

Sarah Jane Evans MW:

‘Change is in the air in Rioja. Not just among those who are questioning the regulatory body’s rules. You will meet an encouraging new generation of Rioja producers starting their own bodegas.

It’s also worth pointing out that Rioja also has some exceptional whites.’

Tim Atkin MW:

‘In Rioja, all but a handful of the DOCa’s finest wines are comparatively inexpensive. There are oceans of cheap supermarket Rioja (I saw reservas on sale for £5.49 over Christmas), which suppress the prices of the good stuff, at least for now.

You don’t need to spend much more to trade up from something that’s simple, fruity and oaky to something that is complex, balanced and ageworthy.

How much longer will this continue? Changes are afoot. Rioja, not before time, is seriously debating allowing producers to use the names of individual villages and vineyards on their labels – ludicrously, such a thing is forbidden at the moment.

If that happens, I think the best terroir-focussed Riojas will start to attract the attention of wine collectors and investors. And we all know what happens then…’

Originally published in the March 2016 issue of Decanter

Best Rioja: Top wines to try:


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