Rioja red wines
From a qualitative and quantitative point of view, Rioja is one of the most important wine-growing regions in the world. On more than 60,000 hectares of vines, mainly red wines are grown here in the areas of Rioja Alta, Rioja Baja and Rioja Alavesa, where Tempranillo is the most important grape variety. For the red wines the grape varieties Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano are allowed, too. The style of the Rioja red wines has become more vigorous, fruity and less oxidative in the last decades, as the grapes are harvested riper than before and the barrel storage times have been reduced. Traditionally the Rioja is a cuvée of several vineyards, vines or even regions. More and more modern-oriented bodegas are also bottling single vineyard wines today. Red Rioja can be very long-lasting, even 100-year-old bottled can still be a pleasure.
Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva are the legally defined barrel and bottle storage time before the wine is released for sale.