La Rioja

The D.O.C La Rioja Wine Region

La Rioja is a wonderful region for growing grapes and the making of high quality wines. It received the first designation of origin in Spain in 1925, where the D.O. Rioja Denomination of Origin of Rioja) was created to protect it from "usurpers and falsifiers".

Since 1991 the Rioja wines have had the DOCa designation, the finest of Spanish wine. The legislation of the area controls everything from the production area, the grape varieties that are allowed, maximum yield of the vines, wine techniques, aging, etc. There is a public Regulatory Board (Consejo Regulador), that aims to promote the wines and defend the interests of the wine sector.

Location and climate

La Rioja in northern Spain is divided between different municipalities of La Rioja, Basque Country and Navarra, and the Ebro River divides the area. La Rioja has 63,593 hectares of vineyards protected by the Denominación de Origen Calificada Rioja. These are distributed into La Rioja (43,885 hectares), Álava (12,934 hectares) and Navarra (6,774 hectares). The subdivisions of the region are:
  • Rioja Alta
  • Rioja Baja
  • Rioja Alavesa.

The climate is both Mediterranean and Atlantic, characterized by mild temperatures and medium to average rainfall. This climate gives ideal conditions for growing different varieties of grapes. The soils suitable for wine differs from calcareous clay to ferrous and alluvial.

Grapes used

The grape varieties authorized in the Denominación de Origen Calificada Rioja are:

Tempranillo, Garnacha, Graciano, Mazuelo, Carignan, Maturana tinta, Maturana and Monastrell.

Viura, Malvasía, White Grenache (Garnacha Blanca), chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, Verdejo, Maturana white, Tempranillo blanco and Turruntés.

The Tempranillo grape
Is the most characteristic variety and principal red strain, is considered native of La Rioja. It occupies about 75% of the acreage, thick skin is shiny black and his name is due to early maturity, giving versatile wines with long aging, balanced, soft and fruity palate that evolves velvety when ages. Is almost always used with other varieties.

General characteristics of wines of DOCa La Rioja
White wines: made primarily with the variety Viura. Young wines are faded yellow, fruity with herbal notes. The barrel-fermented white wines had a golden color and aromas of fruit with creamy notes of wood. Aged Whites are more golden with aroma and flavor of oak.
Red Wines: with Tempranillo grapes as the fundamental basis, a Rioja red wine is characterized by balanced alcohol content, color and acidity. The young wine is produced by carbonic maceration and therefore will be intense in color and very fruity. Others young red wines are light, fresh and easy drinking. Aged red wine characteristics are determined by the time spent in oak barrels. But in general have fruity flavor and aroma with notes of wood. The Reserva and Gran Reserva wines increases harmony and color tends to be orange.
Rosé wines: made from Grenache (Garnacha), have a pinkish color, in mouth are fruity, fresh and palatable.

Important wineries in La Rioja

  • Agrícola Labastida. Top brands: Tierra Fidel , El Primavera , El Belisario , Tierra Fidel
  • Altos de Rioja Viticultores y Bodegueros. Top brands: Altos R Pigeage , Altos .
  • Antiguas Viñas de Rioja. Top brands: Audius Vendimia Seleccionada (tempranillo), Calavia Colección Privada (tempranillo), Calavia (tempranillo, garnacha, mazuelo).
  • Artuke Bodegas y Viñedos. Top brands: Artuke Maceración Carbónica (95% tempranillo, 5% Viura), Artuke Selección (90% tempranillo, 10% graciano), Artuke K4 (80% tempranillo, 20% graciano), Artuke (90% tempranillo, 10% graciano).
  • Baigorri. Top brands: Baigorri (90% Viura, 10% Malvasía), Baigorri (90% tepranillo, 10% otras), Baigorri Garnacha (100% garnacha), Baigorri Belus (70% tempranillo, 20% mazuelo, 10% garnacha), Baigorri de Garage (100% tempranillo), Baigorri (100% tempranillo).
  • Barón de Ley. Top brands: Barón de Ley Finca Monasterio (88% tempranillo, 12% otras), Barón de Ley (100% tempranillo).
  • Berberana. Featured wines: Carta de Oro (80% tempranillo, 20% garnacha), Viña Alarde (80% tempranillo, 20% garnache).
  • Bodegas Abel Mendoza Monge. Featured wines: Abel Mendoza Malvasía (100% Malvasía), Jarrarte (100% tempranillo), Abel Mendoza Tempranillo Grano a Grano (100% tempranillo), Abel Mendoza Graciano Grano a Grano (100% Graciano), Abel Mendoza Selección Personal (100% Tempranillo), Jarrarte (100% Tempranillo)
  • Bodega Aguila Real. Featured wines: B de Basilio (White Grenache), B de Basilio (62% Tempranillo, 32% Grenache, 5% Graciano).
  • Bodegas Altanza. Featured wines: Lealtanza (100% Tempranillo), Lealtanza Artistas Españoles Dalí  (100% Tempranillo), Lealtanza , Lealtanza (100% Tempranillo), Lealtanza Artistas Españoles Gaudí Reserva (100% Tempranillo).
  • Bodegas Altún. Albiker (95% Tempranillo, 5% Viura), Everest (100% Tempranillo), Altún (100% Tempranillo).
  • Bodegas Amaren. Featured wines: Amaren (80% Viura, 20% Malvasía), Ángeles de Amaren (85% tempranillo, 15% Graciano), Amaren Graciano  (100% Graciano), Amaren Tempranillo Graciano , Amaren Tempranillo .
  • Bodega Antigua Usanza. Featured wines: Balthus (100% Tempranillo), Carmelo (100% Tempranillo), Bau (90% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano, 5% Grenache)
  • Bodegas Antión. Featured wines: Antión Graciano (100% Graciano), Antión Varietal Tempranillo (100% Tempranillo), Barón de Oja , Antión Premium , Antión Selección .
    Bodega Contador. Top brands: Qué Bonito Cacareaba (Viura, White Grenache, Malvasía), Predicador (White Grenache, Malvasía, Viura), A Mi Manera , Contador (tempranillo), La Viña de Andrés Romeo (Tempranillo), La Cueva del Contador (tempranillo), Predicador (Tempranillo)
  • Bodegas Basagoiti. Featured wines: Nabari , Basagoiti .
  • Bodegas Berceo. Featured wines: Gonzalo de Berceo , Berceo “Nueva Generación” , Los Dominios de Berceo , Los Dominios de Berceo “Reserva 36” , Gonzalo de Berceo, Viña Berceo .
  • Bodegas Beronia. Top brands: Beronia Viura , Beronia Tempranillo Elaboración Especial , Beronia Graciano , Beronia Ecológico , III A.C., Beronia , Beronia .
  • Bodegas Breton. Top brands: Loriñón , Alba de Bretón , Dominio de Conte , Pagos del Camino , Loriñón .
  • Bodegas Bilbaínas. Founded in 1901, belongs to the Codorniu Group. Top brands: Viña Pacet (white wine), Ederra (red wine), Viña Pomal , La Vicalanda , La Vicalanda, and Royal Carlton (cava).
  • Bodegas Campillo. Top brands: Campillo , Campillo Reserva Especial , Campillo 1995, Campillo Finca Cuesta Clara .
  • Bodegas Campo Viejo. Top brands: Dominio Campo Viejo , Azpilicueta , Campo Viejo, Marqués de Villamagna .
  • Bodegas Castillo de Sajazarra. Top brands: Mati Kosher Elviwines , Herenza Kosher . Elviwines, Solar de Líbano , Digma Autor (100% Tempranillo), Castillo de Sajazarra (98% Tempranillo, 1% Graciano, 1% Grenache), Solar de Líbano , Castillo de Sajazarra .
  • Castillo de Cuzcurrita
  • Bodegas Corral
  • CVNE (Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España). Established in 1878, has an ultra-modern facility. Top brands: Corona semidry, Cune (white, red, rose wine), Monopole (white wine), Imperial (red wine) and Viña Real (red wine).
  • Bodegas Darien. Top brands: Delius (80% Tempranillo, 20% Graciano), Darien Selección (63% Tempranillo, 32% Mazuelo).
  • Bodegas Dinastía Vivanco. Top brands: Dinastía Vivanco , Vivanco Viura Malvasía , Colección Vivanco Parcelas de Garnacha , Colección Vivanco Parcelas de Mazuelo , Colección Vivanco 4 Varietales , Colección Vivanco Parcelas de Graciano .
  • Bodegas Domecq: created in 1973, is part of the famous house of Jerez. Top brands: Marqués de Arienzo , Marqués de Arienzo Vendimia Seleccionada , Marqués de Arienzo Reserva Especial and Viña Eguía (red wine).
  • Bodegas Faustino. Top brands: Faustino V (white, pink and red wine) and Faustino I (red wine), Faustino 9 Mil (100% Tempranillo), Faustino de Autor Reserva Especial , Faustino Edición Especial (100% Tempranillo), Faustino I 75 Aniversario , Faustino I 1998.
  • Bodegas Federico Paternina
  • Bodegas Franco-Españolas. Featured wines: Baron D’Anglade , Rioja Bordón , Rinsol , Diamante, Viña Soledad, Royal, Excelso, Barbaro.
  • Granja Nuestra Sra. del Remelluri. Featured wines: Remelluri, Remelluri Colección Jaime Rodríguez .
  • Bodegas Izadi. Top brands: Izadi , Izadi Expresión , Izadi El Regalo , Izadi .
  • Bodegas La Emperatriz. Top brands: Finca La Emperatriz Viura , Finca La Emperatriz Viura Cepas Viejas , Finca La Emperatriz Garnacha Cepas Viejas , Finca La Emperatriz Parcela No. 1 , Finca La Emperatriz Terruño .
  • Bodegas Juan Alcorta
  • Bodegas Lan. Featured wines: Lan D-12 , Lan Edición Limitada , Culmen .
  • Bodegas Lar de Paula. Top brands: Merus 4 , Lar de Paula , 4 Besos Tempranillo , Lar de Paula Cepas Viejas .
  • Bodegas Luis Cañas. Top brands: Hiru 3 Racimos (100% Tempranillo), Luis Cañas 90% Viura, 10% Malvar), Luis Cañas , Luis Cañas Selección de Familia , Luis Cañas .
  • Bodegas Marqués de Cáceres. Founded in 1970 by Enrique Forner. Top brands: Marques de Cáceres (red), Gaudium (red) and MC (red). Featured wines: Marqués de Cáceres Antea , MC Marqués de Cáceres , Gaudium Gran Vino , Marqués de Cáceres , Marqués de Cáceres .
  • Bodegas Marqués de Murrieta. Founded in 1870, the winemaking is done the old way. Top brands: Marqués de Murrieta (white and red wines), Castillo Ygay (red wine) and Dalmau (red wine), reserve de alta gama. Featured wines: Capellania (100% Viura), Capellania , Dalmau (Tempranillo, Cavernet Sauvignon, Graciano), Dalmau , Marqués de Murrieta , Castillo Ygay (93% Tempranillo, 7% Mazuelo).
  • Bodegas Marqués del Puerto
  • Bodegas Martínez Bujanda
  • Bodegas Martínez Lacuesta
  • Bodegas Monje Amestoy
  • Bodegas Mil Ciento Dos. Top brands: Óbalo , Altino .
  • Bodegas Montecillo
  • Bodegas Muga. Family business founded in 1932. Top brands: Muga (white, pink, red), Torre Muga (red), Aro and Prado Enea (red). Wines: Muga , Muga , Aro , Torre de Muga , Torre Muga , Aro , Prado de Enea .
  • Bodegas Murúa. Wines: Murúa, M de Murúa, Veguin de Murúa.
  • Bodegas Olarra
  • Bodegas Orben. Wines: Malpuesto , Orben .
  • Bodegas Ostatu. Wines: Gloria de Ostatu , Ostatu Laderas del Portillo .
  • Bodegas Palacios. Wines: Cosme Palacio , Glorioso .
  • Bodegas Palacios Remondo. Founded in 1948. Leading brands: Plácet, La Montesa.
  • Bodegas Museo Ontañon. Wines: Arteso , Ontañón , Colección Mitología .
  • Bodegas y Viñedos Pujanza
  • Bodegas Remírez Ganuza
  • Bodegas de la Real Divisa. Top brands: Marqués de Legarda.
  • Bodegas Riojanas. Featured wines: Viña Albina Semidulce Rerserva, Gran Albina Vendimia , Gran Albina TR, Viña Albina , Monte Real , Viña Albina
  • Señorío del Líbano
  • Bodegas R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia
  • Bodegas Roda. Founded in 1989 in Haro. Leading brands: Roda I, Roda II, Cirsión. Featured wines: Sela , Cirsion , Roda I , Roda , Roda I .
  • Bodegas San Pedro
  • Bodegas Sierra Cantabria. Featured wines: Sierra Cantabria Organza, Sierra Cantabria Colección Privada , Murmurón , Finca El Bosque , Finca El Bosque, mancio, Amancio, Sierra Cantabria Cuvèe Especial .
  • Bodegas Monje Amestoy
  • Bodega Solabal. Top brands: Muñarrate (100% Tempranillo), Solabal (Tempranillo), Solabal (Tempranillo)
  • Bodegas Valsacro. Featured wines: Valsacro , Valsacro Dioro .
  • Bodegas Vinícola Real. Featured wines: 200 Monges , Confesor , Viña Los Valles Ecológico , Cueva del Monge , 200 Monges Selección Especial , 200 Monges 1999.
  • Viña Ijalba
  • Viñedos del Contino
  • Bodegas de los Herederos del Marqués de Riscal. Founded in 1860, yet the original variety is grown Cabernet Sauvignon, which make up a large part of the Barón de Chirel. Top brands: Finca Torrea (Tempranillo, Graciano), Marqués de Riscal , Marqués de Riscal 150 Aniversario , Marqués de Riscal , and Barón de Chirel , Barón de Chirel .
  • Bodegas Ysios. Owned by Allied Domecq. Located in a facility designed by architect Santiago Calatrava. Top brands: Ysios Ars Vinum.
  • El Coto de Rioja. Featured wines: El Coto , Coto Real , Coto de Imaz .
  • Finca Allende. Featured wines: Mártires (100% Viura), Allende (80% Viura, 20% Malvasía), AVRVS (85% Tempranillo, 15% Graciano), Calvario (90% Tempranillo, 8% Grenache, 2% Graciano), Allende (Tempranillo)
  • Finca Egomei. Featured wines: Egomei Alma , Egomei .
  • Finca Valpiedra
  • La Rioja Alta. Top brands: Viña Alberdi, Viña Arana, Viña Ardanza, Gran Reserva 904, La Rioja alta Gran Reserva 890.
  • Finca Valpiedra
  • Señorío San Vicente
  • Unión de Cosecheros de Labastida

Details and numbers

  • Vineyards: 63,593 hectares
  • Number of Wineries in La Rioja: 1,202
  • Production: 280 - 300 million liters each year. 90% of red wine and 10% white and rosé wines.
  • Export/import of the wines: 69% are sold in Spain, 31% are exported
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