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Collecting, Cellaring and Serving

Spotlight On: Rioja

Rioja is perhaps Spain's best-known wine region, and the reds that emerge from that part of northern Spain are worthy of a place in any collection.

If you’re looking to add a little Spanish panache to your wine cellar and would like something that offers a little break from the norm, why not opt for a sumptuous bottle of claret from one of old Espana’s most celebrated vino regions?

Rioja (best pronounced in a lilting Iberian accent, the ‘J’ sounded as a ‘K’) is a region of northern Spain, its vineyards found dotted along the Ebro River under the shelter of the imposing Cantabrian Mountains. Rioja is best known for its output of beautiful reds, many of which are squeezed from Tempranillo grapes, but can be mixed with other fine varieties that grow at different elevations and terroir of the region.

The reds of Rioja will make for an outstanding addition to your wine collection, as the Tempranillo grapes are renowned for their great ageing potential.

Indeed, the region of Rioja was the first in Spain to adopt the idea of barrel ageing, long before others such as Jerez followed suit.

It’s not just the fact that Rioja is a fine ageing wine that gives appeal to the collector.

The personality, style and taste of the vino are three characteristics that have steadfastly remained the same since the vintage’s creation, so you’ll know precisely what you’re getting when you pick up a bottle of the good stuff. The old adage of not fixing what isn’t broken is never truer than with Rioja.

There are four core varieties of Rioja, determined by the amount of time that they have been ageing in oak vats:

  • Rioja Joven (‘joven’ is Spanish for ‘young’) spend very little to zero time in the vats, and are best enjoyed within two years of purchase.
  • The Crianza variants sit for at least a year, and then another 12 months in a bottle.
  • The standard Reservas rest for a year in a barrel, but are kept bottled for at least two more before being sold.
  • It’s the Gran Reservas, though, that will really get the wine aficionado’s attention: After two years mellowing in oak, the vino is kept in a bottle for a further three years before being considered for consumption – and what a velvety flavour it delivers.


Posted by The Vintec Club

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The Vintec Club is the private club for owners of Vintec and Transtherm wine cellars, and the ultimate online ressource for wine enthusiasts who wish to learn more about the arts of wine collecting, cellaring and serving.
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