Rioja, located south of the Cantabria mountains in north-central Spain, is the country’s best known and most historic wine region. The emphasis in Rioja is squarely on Tempranillo, although Garnacha, Graciano and Mazuelo (all red grapes) are also grown and frequently blended with Tempranillo. As for white wines, Viura (a k a Macabeo) yields a basic, crisp wine with apple and green melon characteristics. Rosé wines made from Tempranillo and/or Garnacha also play a significant role in Riojano winemaking.
Rioja is divided into three subzones: Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Baja, with many of the region’s best wines hailing from Alta and Alavesa while the warmer, more southerly Baja region specializes more in Garnacha and darker, fuller-bodied Tempranillos.
Today, Rioja produces many of Spain’s best wines as well as many good values. Wine Enthusiast’s Rioja wine guide includes Rioja wine ratings and Rioja wine reviews.
Dark as night, pure as silk, and rich as a sultan. This one wine defines the best of the new wave; a great high-end product from a perfect vintage. It’s intense, spicy, racy and still soft enough to wrap yourself around. Licorice, crushed peppercorn, chocolate, espresso and blackberry are just some of what you can pull from this baby. Cellar a few years then explore.
The best new release in the Eguren family’s collection of modern Rioja wines is this small-production, 100% Tempranillo. It’s a true nuevo classico with proper touches of smoked meat, herbs and sweet black fruits as well as a lush, round mouthfeel that culminates in a mile-long finish. Destined to rock your socks off. Just over 300 cases produced. Imported by…
Solid as a battleship, with lemony oak, marzipan and layer upon layer of black fruit aromas. Almost syrupy in its richness but not fully; it’s chewy and creamy, with vital acids. The flavors are mega ripe and rich, emphasizing blackberry, black cherry preserves, fudge and fig paste. Yet at the same time it’s an ethereal wine; the epitome of modern Rioja. Drink now…
Talk about a wine that makes you take notice. This is simply great modern Rioja. The nose is creamy but honest, with black fruit, mocha and finely tanned leather. The palate gives the whole range of berry and tree fruits, with expansive tannins and just enough core acidity to make it stunning. Ultra stylish and delicious; another huge success for the Eguren family…
Made from old Tempranillo vines, this is a stunning wine whose density is matched by its finesse, resulting in an amazing taste and sense experience. Opaque in color, it displays deep cherry, earth and smoke aromas. On the palate, the flavors broaden to include blackberry and tobacco. Superbly balanced despite its heft, it closes with a long mouth-coating finish…
Miguel Angel de Gregorio makes wines that match his exuberant personality, and Aurus, with 85% old-vine Tempranillo and 15% Graciano, is his premier offering. The 2001’s exotic nose pumps licorice, clove, nutmeg and vanilla on top of the ripest black-fruit aromas going. With pillowy tannins, unmatched breadth and huge flavors of blackberry, plum and chocolate…
As expected, the wine exhibits a dense black color, with mineral, burnt toast and dark fruit on the bouquet. The flavor profile offers cured meat, leather, graphite and plenty of blackberry, mocha, caramel and coffee. Beautiful modern Rioja. 4,000 cases made. Imported by Tempranillo, Inc.
Dark as night, and dominated by meaty plum and beef jerky aromas. The palate is huge, with pure fruit, tannin and chocolate pooling at the finish. A new classic in every sense, with stellar balance and complexity. Less than 400 cases made. Imported by Tempranillo, Inc.