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Region: Rioja

Notable Wineries: Lopez de Heredia, Castillo Ygay, Marques de Riscal

Red Wine
Spain’s premier red wine region. Rioja, named not after the Ebro but for the Oja, a smaller tributary, was the first region in Spain to be christened as DOCa (Denominación de Origen Calificada) —in 1991—and has been a viable wine-producing area for over 2000 years. Here, as in many of the other major winegrowing regions of Europe, Christian monks guided viticulture in the Middle Ages. Further decrees protecting the wines’ regional identity were issued by the 17th century, and in the 19th century the style of Rioja wines shifted, subject to French influence. Aging in American oak barrels became a standard, and the red wines started to resemble what is now considered the classic style: soft, with muted red fruit, firm acidity and the unmistakable oak aromas of dill, vanilla and cedar. Today, however, a new spectrum of styles emerges from Rioja, as many producers are emphasizing French oak, more extraction and riper, darker fruit. A similar dichotomy exists in the region’s white wines: some are produced in a clean, fruity, modern style, whereas others are wood-toned, oxidative and textural. Occasionally, Rioja white wines may be off-dry.

Our Partners

We owe a debt of gratitude to our partners. We wouldn’t be who we are if not for them.

United Producers

The French Laundry
Per Se
Surf Club