Monday, March 5, 2012


In an effort to prepare for next Tuesday's Grand Tasting of Rioja Wines in China, HOFWs has been studying up on their wine knowledge.

Here are some facts about Rioja:
At 5,000 km^2, Rioja is only 1% of Spain's total area!!

There are three main regions:
                        Alta------>mountainous with mild climate and abundant rain, it produces unripe fruit flavors and a lighter wine on the palate
                        Alavesa----> similar climate to Alta, but produces wines with fuller body and higher acidity
                        Baja------>flatter, hotter and drier than Alta, it produces deeply coloured reds and sometimes very high (18%!) alcohol content.

As you can see independently these wines do not sound too appetizing, so they are often times blended to create the Rioja masterpieces we know and love.   What's your favorite blend??

Common Red Grapes:

Tempranillo- gentle berry flavours with hints of tobacco and herbs
Garnacha Tinto- peppery
Graciano- blackberry flavours
Mazuelo- tannins

Common White Grapes:

Viura- tart
Malvasia- nutty
Garnacha blanco- heavy

  1. Crianza------- at least one year in oak and two years total aging
  2. Reserva=====at least one year in oak and three years total aging
  3. Gran Reserva~at least two years in oak and five years total aging

DOC- Rioja is the only region in Spain that uses the Calificada certification! 

Share something new with us!!  Let us know what YOU know about Rioja!  Do you have a favorite Rioja wine??

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