La Rioja Wine Regions Guide

Embark on a journey through the soul of Spanish winemaking - a guide to the Rioja wine regions where tradition meets innovation, and every glass tells a story


Last updated: March 21, 2024


Spain’s premier fine wine region is in a state of flux. Its historic winemaking culture has been called into question – the debate surrounding the value of blending versus terroir began here – while growers in Rioja Alavesa have toyed with the idea of creating a new, breakaway appellation in the Basque Country. Indeed, few great wine regions span so many terroirs, and yet, historically, Rioja marketed a single, overarching wine style: silky reds aged in wood for many years. This state of affairs is now simply intolerable from the perspective of younger winemakers.

However, that does not mean tradition is moribund in the hills of Rioja. Indeed, plenty of single-site cuvées and groundbreaking wines are made in the appellation today. Their high scores and growing popularity suggest this isn’t simply a flash in the pan. Yet long-aged Reservas – and Gran Reservas – are still astonishingly popular with oenophiles, not least because they offer such tremendous value – a complex and velvety red that is not released (unlike Bordeaux) until the wine is ready. The quality of Rioja Blancos (whites) has also soared recently. In the 20th century, Rioja had the Spanish, fine wine market to itself. Those days are long gone. But this spectacular region’s internal variety, traditions, and adaptability have kept it in the front rank.

La Rioja Wine Region Map

Download La Rioja Wine Region Map


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James lawrence

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