Rioja Wine

The Rioja region of Spain produces one of the world’s finest, and most long lived wines: Rioja. Rioja's renaissance, in the latter half of the 19th century, was a direct result of the phyloxera bug that decimated vineyards around the globe. While English merchants came to Rioja to replace their French imports, the wines here actually have much more in common with Chianti. Both wines are blend relying heavily on one grape, in this case Tempranillo. Like Chianti’s Sangiovese, Tempranillo usually produces a relatively high acid wine of medium to medium-full body. Tempranillo tends to produce wines with a dusty, leathery edge to their raspberry and blackberry fruit tones. With additions of Graciano, Mazuela and Grancha the wines of Rioja can take on additional layers of flavor and aroma but the tradition of extended oak aging for Rioja's great wines contributes an even more obvious imprint. While the Spaniards have traditionally been a fan of the strong vanilla and coconut component that American oak Read more »

Mentor for Rioja Wines

Richard Jennings

Wine writer (and HR exec). I write a weekly column for Huffington Post, wine book reviews for NY Journal of Books, and my blog is I have over 38,000 tasting notes on CellarTracker, where I'm the most "favorited" TN author.

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Popular wines made in Rioja under $20

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Varietals Produced in Rioja View all

  • Tempranillo

    History of the grape: Origins of Tempranillo are murky. It could be indigenous to the Spanish countryside, or it coul...

  • Malbec

    History of the grape: Some believe Malbec is named after a Hungarian peasant who spread plantings along the French co...

  • Macabeo

    Macabeo is Spain’s most widely planted grape. From there, it has made its way to southern France’s Roussillon region,...

  • Graciano

    Though it is easily the most interesting and unique red grape in Rioja, its yields are low, it is prone to downy mild...

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

    “King of the Red Wine Grapes.” The colonizer of the vineyards, pushing native wine grapes into its shadows. The Caber...

  • Grenache

    You’re a member of the ‘Rhône Ranger’ band. Your groupies think you’re ‘hot’, even when you're boozy and "strung out"...

Subregions of Rioja

Popular Wineries in Rioja View all

  • Bodegas Primicia

    Casa Primicia, the oldest building in the town of Laguardia, is the place where, from the 15th ce...

  • Señorío de San Vicente

    One winery, one wine, one vineyard and one variety. Respecting the tradition which has been p...

  • Bodegas LAN

    Year… 1972. Bodegas LAN is founded and named after the initials of the 3 provinces in the Rioja D...

  • Bodegas Baigorri

    "Bodegas Baigorri bases its work on a value of duality and on the xcellence of its products and ...

  • Bodegas Ramón Bilbao

    Bodegas Ramón Bilbao was established in 1924 by wine trader Ramón Bilbao Murga in the Rioja re...

  • Bodegas Beronia

    Bodegas Beronia is a winery in Rioja founded in 1973 by a group from the local gastronomic soci...

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Rioja on Snooth

  • Viña Tondonia G.r. Lopez de Heredia 1968


    An evolved nose greets the nose with seaweed and iodine tones to the fore. There is a nice seared cherry tone but the nose is more about the musky tones of men's cologne, wood spice and coriander notes, and dusty gravel. In the mouth there remains perfectly ripe fruit that offers a fine bitter/sweet contrast with the slightly candied tart red c... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz

  • Vina Bosconia 1970


    What a superb nose, the purity of the raspberry fruit here is compelling but the notes of hung game, limestone, smoldering grapevine and the classic background notes of tobacco, vanilla, herbs, and citrussy fruit are really intriguing. Sweet and rich in the mouth this retains almost chunky fruit that is deep, fresh and layered. It is big and eve... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz

  • R. López de Heredia Tempranillo Blend Rioja Gran Reserva Viña Bosconia 1970


    This has a fantastic nose with sweet plums, toasted spices popping in a hot cast iron skillet, coffee tones and an enchanting candied violet/rose tone. The wine moves through stages alternately gaining a more roasted, caramelly tone and then reverting to cinnamon and tobacco spice dried raspberry, either way it smells great. In the mouth it is r... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz

  • Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Rioja Blanco Gran Reserva 19 1957


    Very soft and sweet smelling with figgy fruit over a bed of slate, gains lovely spice notes that recall Chinese 5-spice with a strong star anise element and an effusive lanoline note. With air there emerges am iodine element that turns rather seaweedy with time. Resolved and relaxed in the mouth yet with great depth of flavor. The fruit is deep ... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz

  • Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Rioja Blanco Gran Reserva 19 1970


    Fresh and intensely aromatic with layered fruit that suggest mangosteen and waxy yellow cherry, there is a nuance of starchy vegetal that resembles sunchoke but the notes of smoky bacon, almond, licorice all wrapped up with a saline edge are completely intriguing. Smooth and showing excellent integration in the mouth this has a gentle core of ho... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz

  • Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Rioja Blanco Gran Reserva 19 1973


    This opens with a rather intense asparagus note over sweeter braised celery tones. There is an emerging floral note but of a sturdy sort recalling carnations and the vegetal component takes on a fave bean note. Nuances of water chestnut, smoke, and waxy lipstick emerge with air. Freah and coiled on the attack with a burst of yellow cherry fruit ... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz

  • Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Rioja Blanco Gran Reserva 19 1981


    Very honied on the nose with note of dried earth and old wood. Turns a bit vegetal with notes of braised radicchio and anise ut there is a nice core or waxy quince, bitter orange and lime that struggles to emerge. This shows a lot of evolution and is not a particularly fresh bottle with a soft top note of vanilla cream, caramel and tea. Bright a... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz

  • Zolo Torrontés Famatina Valley 2006


    i've recently had this a second time and noted a nose of Fruit Loops with a lingering taste in the mouth of lemon-lime zest; still amazingly elegant and dry with white peaches on the nose also. so yummy, soft, and easy drinking. so far the best i've had. Read More

    Wine review by barri0s1872

  • Bodegas Navarro López Palacio de Oriente Crianza Rioja 2004


    No written review

    Wine review by MichaelBNL

  • Zolo Torrontés Famatina Valley 2007


    a wonderful nose remeniscent of fruit loops; so tropical and citrus notes on the nose with a soft, elegant, long, and dry finish that will leave you coming back again and again. Read More

    Wine review by barri0s1872

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