The Denomination of Origin Rioja is one of the regions with more prestige and quality at global level. It has always been pioneer in technological innovation and posses a great diversity of wines with diverse contents, obtaining a great response at international markets. It’s historically considered as one of the top winegrowing regions.
Currently, the DOCa Rioja is located in the north of Spain, on both banks of the Ebro River. It is divided into three main areas: Rioja Alta, Alavesa and Oriental. Its more than 65,000 hectares are distributed in 144 municipalities (118 in La Rioja, 18 in Alava and 8 in Navarre) that reach a maximum altitude of about 700 meters. The most representative variety is Tempranillo, the symbol of the region and the more harvested grape, undoubtedly the icon of La Rioja.
In 1991, it became a Qualified Designation of Origin. It was the first to achieve this. Currently, of the 70 Spanish DOs, only Rioja and Priorat have this higher qualification.
The wines are characterized by its distinctive bouquet, with a perfect balance between alcohol, acidity and color. The body and the structure are accurately compensated with its elegant and smooth flavor. Young wines with fruity character that becomes more velvety as the ageing process is going on. The zone takes profit from the confluence of two opposite climates, Atlantic and Mediterranean, with moderate temperatures and soft annual rainfalls. The Atlantic climate predominates on the northern zone, La Rioja Alta, where the soils are argillaceous, calcareous and alluvial. Rioja Baja posses a drier climate due to the Mediterranean influence, the soils are alluvial and sandy. Finally, the Rioja Alabesa that has the vineyards divided mainly in small plots and terraces with argillaceous and calcareous soils, dominated by the Atlantic climate.
There is the following classification of wines according to the aging process followed by the wines:
Wine Rioja Genérico: it guarantees the origin and vintage of the wine. They are usually first or second year.
Wine Rioja Crianza: These are wines at least in their third year that have been at least 1 year in oak barrels.
Wine Rioja Reserva: Corresponds to wines with a minimum aging period between oak barrel and bottle of 3 years, of which at least 1 year in oak barrel and a minimum of 6 months in bottle.
Wine Rioja Gran Reserva: These are wines from great vintages that have been aged for a total period of 60 months, with a minimum of 2 years in barrel and 2 in bottle.
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