Off your Rioja…?
During this month of October, we are focusing on the gorgeous wines from Rioja, the most recognised region throughout the world for producing quality Spanish wines.
We have a number of wine producers from the different sub-regions of Rioja, Alta, Alavessa and Baja. Alta is the northern most region and recognised for producing premium quality Tempranillo grapes that can age well, whilst Alavessa is the middle region and Baja the most southerly. In Baja, the climate is warmer as the Atlantic influence is less and takes on a more continental climate. However, to offset the slight increase in temperature, the vineyards are the highest within the Rioja region, up to 600 metres above sea level, and this factor helps maintain the acidity levels and ensure grape ripeness.
We stock the complete spectrum of Rioja wine styles:
- Jovens, or young wines, that are released without barrel or bottle ageing, that are fresh red berried fruits.
- Crianzas that have had at least 12 months ageing, some in oak barrels and time in bottle.
- Reservas that have had ageing of 3 years plus.
- Gran Reservas – ageing of 5 years plus.
Rioja Wine Producers
Bodegas LAN is one our longest standing Rioja wine producers whom we have dealt for some time… and produce consistently drinkable wines of the highest standard. When they established in 1972, they made the conscious decision to reduce the volumes the grape growers were producing and wanted lower yields, but better quality of fruit, which they would pay more per kilo for. They admit it took a while for the growers to understand what they were trying to achieve. However, they now new relations with eight more growers and have long standing relationships now totalling some thirty three. Whilst they do own the largest single vineyard (Lanciano) on one of the bends of the Ebro River, like most medium sized producers they rely on these growers for the grapes.
Bodegas Urbina & Lopez de Heredia, however produce wines that come from all estate grown grapes and are based in the Rioja alta region. There wines are of a more traditional style with longer ageing. Vina Tondonia single vineyard curent vintage is 2004 and the Urbia Gran Reserva is 1996!
Bodeags Ontonan who also are still family owned, run like the two estates above and have the majority of their vineyards outside the village of Quel in the southern district of Baja. They produce the Artesa label and their organic Rioja is currently wine of the month, and at only £9.50 a bottle.
Online and in our Stratford Upon Avon Wine shop we have Rioja wines ranging from £7.95 to over £150 a bottle. Please pop in to see us this month… we have lots of Rioja wine to share!