Rioja wines offer a range of diverse tastes

Rioja is Spain’s most renowned wine region, and consists of three distinctive sections. Located in the north of the country, it is surrounded by mountains that protect it from the heavy Atlantic rains and intense continental heat. Rioja is perfectly situated for the production of white, rose and red wines alike, and produces a diverse range of wines each and every year.
Rioja Alta is located on the western edge of the regions and is recognised for producing an “old world” style of wine. Its higher elevation means a shorter growing season, which results in bright fruit flavours and wines that are lighter on the palate. The wines produced by Rioja Alavesa tend to have a higher acidity level and a fuller body due to the low vine density of the area. Rioja Baja is heavily influenced by its Mediterranean climate which makes the area the driest and hottest. As a result, Baja wines are deep in colour, fruitier in taste, and can possess alcohol volumes as high as 18%.
Oak ageing is a distinct characteristic of Rioja wines. Bordeaux influenced winemakers introduced oak ageing in the 18th century and its use has become a recognised trademark of the region, along with the pronounced vanilla flavours present in many of the wines. Rioja red wines are separated into four categories. The youngest, Rioja, spends under a year in an oak ageing barrel, whereas a Crianza will spend at least one or two years there. Reserva ages for one year in the barrel and a further two outside it, with Gran Reserva ageing for a total of five years with two of those spent in oak. Gran Reservas are said to incite passion in those that drink them, so they’re ideal if you’re planning a special romantic dinner date.
White Rioja wines are light and crisp, and pair perfectly with light meals such as grilled chicken and salads with lemon-based dressings. A classic white Rioja is a beautiful Chardonnay substitute and complements rich salmon and shellfish dishes, strong garlic flavours and fruit-based mains and desserts. A Rioja Rose is perfect for quenching a hot summer thirst, and is also a tasty accompaniment to goat’s cheese.
A young Rioja Tinto red is a sensational sipping wine and goes great with a summer barbecue. It also works well with Chinese food, vegetable based curries and beef chillies. A Crianza is an everyday wine and serves as a fantastic aperitif with spicy foods. We carry a range of Rioja wines for every occasion. Reasonably priced and offering the varied delights of the Rioja regions, our selection includes the Rioja Vina del Oja Tinto, which offers gorgeous blackberry and apple notes for the fantastic price of £7.95.