About the Region
Spain’s most famous wine region, yet the least populated. Located in the north of the Spain, its capital is Logrono with the two other main towns are Haro and Alfaro. The region has a continental climate and whilst the main river is called the Ebro, it's the Oja river (Rio Oja) that gave the region its name. There are three main wine areas – Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Alta and Rioja Baja with the latter being the most southerly, and driest of the three.
Whilst white and rose wines are produced, it’s red that dominates at around 85% with most being a blend of predominantly Tempranillo with Garnacha, Graciano and Mazuelo being the other varietals used.
There are four classifications/categories for the red wines. Rioja – young (joven) wine, Crianza – a wine aged for at least two years, Reserva – aged for at least three years and lastly, Gran Reserva – at least five years of ageing.
For white wine, the principal grape is Viura (also called Macabeo) however Malvasia and Garnacha Blanca are also sometimes used. Rosés from the region are mainly produced from Garnacha.
Rioja wine has the highest classification within the Spanish wine system, DOC (Denominacion de Origen Calificada) and shares this designation with only one other region, Priorat.