Where is Rioja?
Rioja is a wine producing region in the north of Spain and one of only two regions in the country with the highest classification of DOC (Denominación de Origin Calificada) in the country- the other being Priorat in Catalunya. There are 3 main sub-regions in Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Baja.
What Style of Wine is Rioja?
Over 90% of production in Rioja is red wine: the main grape variety being Tempranillo, with Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano typically playing supporting roles.
White wine accounts for about 9% of production, with Viura the most common grape variety.
Long ageing in oak is characteristic of traditional Rioja (both white and red wines) and has a legal definition for the use Reserva and Gran Reserva on the label.
The laws for red wines are follows:
JOVEN: Meaning 'Young' in Spanish. These are the lightest and fruitiest wines. They will be rarely be aged in oak, and if they are it will be for a very short period. They are meant for early drinking and can be enjoyed lightly chilled.
CRIANZA: The wine must spend a minimum of 1 year in oak barrel followed by 1 year in bottle. The winery can leave the wine in oak or bottle for longer than these minimums.
RESERVA: The wine must be aged for a minimum of 3 years between oak and bottle. As with Crianza, at least 1 year of which must be in oak barrel. Many traditional winemakers will age in oak for longer than this minimum.
GRAN RESERVA: This is the longest aged of all Rioja and will be made with a winery's best grapes, often only in the best vintages. The wine must spend at least 2 years in oak barrel and a further 3 years ageing in bottle.
Bodegas Riojanas was founded in 1890 and is steeped in Rioja's history. This flagship Reserva is made with 100% Tempranillo grapes sourced from the premium Cenicero vineyards in Rioja Alta. It is aged for an extended period of 24-30 months in American oak casks before resting in bottle for at least 12 months before release.
Traditional Rioja flavours of ripe strawberry and blackberry, a silky-smooth palate with layers of vanilla and sweet spice before a lovely savoury finish with fine oak lingering in the background. This is an impressive traditional Rioja Reserva.
Best Rioja Reserva Food Match
Rioja is one of the most popular styles of wine in Ireland, as it tends to suit our traditional fare, particularly the Sunday roast. Lamb is the classic match for Rioja Reserva, as the sweet spice and tannins from the American oak complement the sweet, succulent meat. But beef, pork, tapas and Mediterranean vegetable dishes work equally well with this versatile style of wine.
Please note: All prices correct at time of publication. For the most up to date prices please contact your local store or online www.obrienswine.ie.