Top Rioja Reserva Wines

5 great wines of classification


Next » 1 of 7
Top Rioja Reserva Wines People tend to assign a lot of weight to words. We use them every day and we take care in crafting our messages in a way so that they will be clearly understood. In truth, a little obfuscation is often the object. Yes, you look great in those bell-bottoms.

While the wine world is rife with undefined terms, many regions have clearly defined words that seem to be designed to clear up any confusion that their use may cause. Take for example the classifications of Rioja: Crianza, Reserva, Gran Reserva. These reflect increasing steps on the quality ladder, right?

Wrong, big time wrong. This is the uninformed kind of wrong I recently mentioned in my article about consumers getting ripped off. Let’s make one thing clear here, Rioja Reservas spend more time in wood and in barrel. They are not better than Crianzas because they are Reservas. Some producers’ Reservas are better than their Crianzas simply because they took the time and effort to make a better wine. As you might notice, that logic does not prevent other producers’ Crianzas from being better, if you catch my drift.

Here are some top picks from recently released Reservas. It’s worth revisiting my notes on recent Crianzas to compare the quality and value of these wines.

Photo courtesy chamay2001 via Flickr/CC

Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: EMark
    Hand of Snooth
    847804 7,293

    I really enjoy these comparative articles, but I'm going comment on something. ABV's are consistently highlighted in the headers of these reviews. I know that I'm in the minority on this, but I find no use for that information at all. What would be helpful, however, is knowing the suggested price. This may be difficult, because Snooth readers live around the world, and, so, are not particularly expert with US currency. My reason for making this recommendation is completely selfish. Cost is a factor in my buying decisions.

    Nov 09, 2011 at 1:14 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 238,749

    Thanks for the kind word Mark.

    We used to include the mean US price for these wines, we can start doing that again easily enough. I agree that ABV is really not very important but people asked for it and it's easy to find, though some producers seem intent on making the ABV print as small as possible, so I just add it to the wine name.

    By the way, since we're talking about Spain and cost, I tasted some 2001 Gran Reservas last night that i will not be writing up until Monday. Rioja Alta's Vina Ardanza and CVNE's Vina Real are both sub $30 bottles that are superb. Worth every penny and blows the doors off of almost all the world's wines for value, if you like the style of Rioja of course.

    Nov 09, 2011 at 1:30 PM

  • Snooth User: EMark
    Hand of Snooth
    847804 7,293

    I've been traveling the last few days and am not on-line very much. I do look forward, though, to the report on the Gran Reservas. No doubt that Spanish wines are just about the best values around.

    Nov 10, 2011 at 5:36 PM

Add a Comment

Search Articles

Best Wine Deals

See More Deals

Snooth Media Network