Rioja (wine)

Rioja [ rjoxa ] is a wine region in Spain ( Denomination of Origin Calificada ). It is located in the autonomous regions of La Rioja, Basque Country and Navarre. The vineyard consists of the sub-regions Rioja Alta ( in the upper area of the Ebrobeckens ), Rioja Baja ( in the lower area of the Ebrobeckens ) and Rioja Alava (part of the Basque province of Alava, Basque Arabako Errioxa ). It is a member of the Great Wine Capitals Network.

The wine itself is called Rioja.

  • 4.1 Crianza
  • 4.2 Reserva
  • 4.3 Gran Reserva

Growing area

The wine region of Rioja is one of the most important in Europe. With a cultivated area of ​​60 882 ha ( in 2008), it is situated on the river Ebro in northern Spain. As soils predominate white lime and rotgrauer clay. About 20,000 winemakers who produce in 85% of red wine, but also rosé, Rotling and white wines. It is found mainly the red Tempranillo (61 % of the acreage ), Garnacha (18%), Mazuelo (3.5%) and Graciano (0.7%) and the white grape varieties Viura (15%), Malvasia (0, 25%) and Garnacha Blanca (0.09 % of the acreage ). The classic Riojas are either varietal Tempranillo wines or blends with Tempranillo share of well over 50 % and minor amounts of Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano. A few producers also varietal wines from Garnacha, Mazuelo ( when it comes to the variety Carignan ) and Graciano ago, in particular, the latter are a particular specialty.

A curiosity is that a few bodegas in the Rioja Spanish sparkling wine under the DO ( Denomination of Origin ) Cava produce.

Regulatory authority

The regulatory authority of the DOC Rioja is the Regulating Body de la Rioja Denomination Calificada based in Logroño. Its mission is to establish and monitoring of the needs of Rioja wines, such as allowable grape varieties, sugar and alcohol content, use of additives. In addition, it monitors the permitted acreage and production quantities.

See also Instituto Nacional de Denominaciones de Origen.



Apart from the predominant use of the Tempranillo variety, the winemakers of Rioja follow the example of the growing region of Bordeaux. The producers have a high proportion of red wine produced mature in oak barrels.

A typical red wine from Rioja is dry, dark red in color, has the characteristic Tempranillo taste.

Known wines

In addition to many very good modern Riojas especially the wines of Bodegas CVNE ( CompanÃa VinÃcola del Norte de España), Bodegas Riojanas, Faustino, Federico Paternina, Herederos del Marqués de Riscal, Rioja Alta, López Heredia Viña Tondonia, Marqués de Murrieta apply, Marqués de Cáceres and Muga as the classics of the DOC Rioja.

Individual layers

Individual layers are rare, but have gained over the 1990s increasingly important. Known vineyard wines are, for example, Finca Valpiedra from the house Martínez Bujanda or the " Paisajes " series, the. Miguel Angel de Gregorio, one of the great winemakers of Rioja, are vinified in small plots with character

Vinos de Autor

In cohorts with particularly good wine quality many Rioja winemakers use some of the better grapes to set a limited wine in addition to their conventional production. Such a wine is called vino de autor (Spanish for " author Wine "). There are mainly smaller, founded only in the last few years companies that are located in the main, in the Rioja Alava and follow this international trend of so-called garage wines. From ancient terraced vineyards very individual wines are produced and marketed in part at very high prices on a few acres. The winery Bodega Roda was founded in 1989 created the wine Cirsion achieved since 1997, the price of EUR 200 per bottle.

Wine maturity

After the primary fermentation in stainless steel, wood or concrete tanks is the high-order red wine ( joven span wine or vino de año ) not as young wine is brought directly to market in barrels of American and French oak ( the barricas or barrels ) and later matured in bottles in the cellar. The maturation takes, depending on wine quality level of different lengths. Depending on the length of storage hot these wines on Spanish Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva. The color and the text of the label of the Regulatory Board on the bottles give back to the many mature Rioja wines.

The oak barrels used in the Rioja have a volume of 225 liters and can be used before they finally lose their taste forming properties about 5 years.


The predicate Crianza ( from the Spanish criar, German "mature, raise " or " expansion " ) is reserved for wines that are matured for two years, including one year in oak barrels.


A Reserva (Spanish for " Reserve" ) is a wine that matures total of at least three years, of which at least one year in oak barrels.

Gran Reserva

A wine can be used as Gran Reserva (Spanish for "Big Reserve, important reserve" ) are referred to when it matures in the bottle at least two years in oak barrels and then three years. In trade, however, Gran Reserva are usually much older.

Some wineries offer wines aging for a few months in oak barrels, so as to achieve a better quality at a relatively low price. These are in accordance with the Regulatory Board still young wines, but also Semicrianzas or " roble " (Spanish for oak) are called. In addition, there are now a number of large and very large Riojas, their makers sometimes ostentatiously put on the traditional classification scheme of time. Be it that they do not want to dictate how long to mature their wine, or whether from open protest against the poor quality producers favoring classical system.


The winery is a winery in the first place the wine production facility, where the fermentation and bottling takes place. In addition, it is the place where the wine maker can mature the wines. Approximately 250 wineries in the Rioja wine maturity and carry out a use for it than 900,000 oak barrels. The underground storage permit maturity at constant temperature and humidity.

In addition, the tourism component of the wineries is emerging more and more that sell the qualified visits Rioja typical meals with wine tastings for groups. In addition to culinary incentives the wineries of Rioja are very concerned about their presentation. Most Bodega building follow the classic Rioja style and feature impressive gardens. Newer Bodega building some well-known companies were of prestigious architects such as Frank Gehry ( Marqués de Riscal in Elciego ) or Santiago Calatrava ( Ysios Laguardia ) designed. Many wineries have in the immediate proximity of the production own hotels.


Important places in the wine growing region of Rioja are:

  • Briones (La Rioja)
  • Cenicero (La Rioja)
  • Cordovín (La Rioja)
  • Elciego (Álava )
  • Fuenmayor (La Rioja)
  • Haro (La Rioja)
  • Labastida (Álava )
  • Laguardia / Biasteri (Álava )
  • Lanciego (Álava )
  • Lapuebla de Labarca (Álava )
  • Logroño (La Rioja)
  • Mendavia (Navarra )
  • Oion (Álava )
  • Ollauri (La Rioja)
  • San Asensio (La Rioja)
  • San Vicente de la Sonsierra (La Rioja)
  • Villa Buena de Álava (Álava )
  • ( Abalos )
  • Ternero (Rioja Alta)