your ads here



Despite all the excitement over the new discoveries in Spanish vineyards, Rioja remains atop the international community’s perception of Spanish wines, as it has for two centuries or more. Yet there is not one true style of Rioja; instead, several versions are valid. The ancient style of Rioja, exemplified by oxidative red, white, and rosé wines, may not be to everyone’s taste, but this mode remains legitimate, if more and more unusual. The modern school, with labels that came forward in the 1960s and onward, emphasizes time in oak for other reasons; these wines seek supple expressions and softer structures. And the new internationalist school of winemaking is in full effect in Rioja; there are plenty of producers with powerful wines, inky-dark and joltingly tannic from new French oak. So the bastion of Spain’s wine tradition has many rooms in its mansion, as it were, and each ought to be viewed as genuine.

Rioja’s regions are often just as wildly and confusingly championed as the styles of its wines, and from a similar misperception. Many people believe that the three subregions—Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Alta, and Rioja Baja—are distinctly different and hierarchical. The Alavesa is indeed distinct; its chalky soils and high elevation create wines of less color and greater perfume, more longevity, and less power at birth. The Rioja Alta and Rioja Baja regions carry more or less the same soil types. Both have iron-rich, limestone-clay soils, interspersed with alluvial soils from the many rivers that carve the area. The name Rioja is a contraction of one of the tributaries of the Ebro River, the Río Oja.

What differentiates the three subregions is elevation. The Alta, as the name says, is higher. Meanwhile, the Baja’s lower altitude compounds its hot and dry conditions. The soil structure of the Baja differs from that of Alta in only one important aspect: a hard limestone layer often is found less than a foot below the topsoil. Since the Baja is hot and dry, that hardpan makes it very difficult to grow grapes in hot and dry years. But the authorities are now allowing people to irrigate in the Baja, and a few have taken to ripping up that hardpan, allowing the vines’ roots to dig deeper and farther from the ravages of the sun.

So Baja is making some very good wine, despite its reputation. And the truly traditional wines of Rioja have always been blends of wines from all three areas, despite the modern focus upon certain regions or vineyards. With the marketplace all agog with more minute selections of vineyards and microclimates, the future of Rioja leads away from these blends. The best that can be hoped for by traditionalists is that the market will continue to embrace at least some wines made the old way.

The vineyards are more than 80% red grapes. Among the whites, Viura is the most widely planted and the ideal grape for those interested in a fresher, more modern style. But some of the traditionalists still love their old Malvasía vines.

The mainstay grape is Tempranillo. Much of the Garnacha of the area is clustered in the Baja, and so the reputation of Garnacha lingers far behind Tempranillo in Rioja. Small plantings of Mazuelo (Carineña) and Graciano attest to the traditional lack of interest in those two grapes. But Graciano is struggling to shine like a rising star—those wines with part or all Graciano in them can be spectacular.

More importantly, all three regions benefit from the angle of the mountains around Rioja: they are protected by the Sierra de Cantábria and the Sierra de la Demanda from the coldest, Atlantic air masses, but still influenced by that nearby ocean. Meanwhile, the opening of that mountainous angle allows for a Mediterranean influence from the south. Perhaps surprisingly, the ideal vintages are not those in which the Mediterranean has a great influence. Rather, the better years rest on a blending of influences of the north and the south, as it were; that’s what growers hope for in a perfect vintage—not too hot, not too cold.

Showing all 9 results

  • Campo Alto Joven

    Campo Alto Joven

    Campo Alto joven is a young red wine produced by Bodegas Valdelacierva in Rioja.  It is made from 100% Tempranillo.


    Colour: Crimson red colour with violet hues

    Nose: Very intense aromas with fresh and mature red fruits notes

    Taste: Medium structure, balanced and rounded. Fruity finish

  • Jarrarte Tinto MC

    Jarrarte Tinto MC

    Not to be mixed up with Abel Mendoza’s Jarrarte which is aged in oak.

    Abel Mendoza Jarrarte Maceración Carbónica (carbonic maceration) is a red wine made in the D.O.C.a Rioja by Abel Mendoza Monje in San Vicente de la Sonsierra.

    A lively and young wine marked by its explosion of flavours. This young wine stands out from the rest of young Rioja, showing a different personality. This lively and fruity wine, perfectly reveals the quality of the grapes that compose it, playing a magnificent symphony of colour, aroma and flavour.


    Colour: A great, deep red colour

    Nose: Intense, super-ripe black cherries, liqourice and violet hints.

    Taste: Spicy finish

  • Medrano Irazu Blanco 2019

    Medrano Irazu Blanco 2019

    Medrano Irazu Blanco is a young white wine made at Bodegas Medrano Irazu from Rioja, using 80% Viura and 20% Malvasia grapes.


    Colour: Pale silver colour

    Nose: Youthful and floral with dried fruits

    Taste: Delightful freshness on the palate, soft sensation of green lemons to the finish.


  • Amador Medrano Rosado 2019

    Amador Medrano Rosado 2019

    Amador Medrano Viñedos de Altura Rosado is a young rosé wine made by Bodegas Medrano Irazu from Rioja produced with garnacha negra, tempranillo and macabeu.


    Colour: Clean and bright. Very pale salmon pink, orange flecks.

    Nose: Frank nose, notes of sour fruit and citrus notes.

    Taste: Fresh and acid, but without edges, elegant flavors of orange and stone fruit in the aftertaste.

  • Jarrarte Blanco 2019

    Jarrarte Blanco 2019

    Jarrarte Blanco is a young white wine produced by Abel Mendoza, from La Rioja.

    Abel Mendoza and his wife Maite Fernández gather the attributes of a great winegrower. Attachment to their land, passion for their vineyards, wisdom accumulated by experience, respect for tradition and an intense love for their work. In 1989 they labelled their first Jarrarte Maceración Carbónica, (also available in Malta) made from vineyards located in San Vicente de la Sonsierra (Rioja). Today they present their new Jarrarte Blanco 2018, a coupage of Viura and Malvasía with a small amount of White Torrontés and White Grenache. An initial and fresh white wine ideal as an aperitif glass or accompanying a spring and a summer meal.

  • Campo Alto Crianza 2016

    Campo Alto Crianza 2016

    Campo Alto Crianza 2016 is an aged red wine made by Bodegas Valdelacierva in Rioja from 100% Tempranillo. The wine is aged in American (80 %) and French (20 %) oak barrels for 12 months, being rounded in the bottle afterwards for at least 3 months.


    Colour: Cherry red colour with ruby gleam

    Nose: Medium intensity. Roasted notes with fruity finish

    Taste: Sweet and structured entry. Velvety finish

  • Medrano Irazu Crianza 2018

    Medrano Irazu Crianza 2018

    Medrano Irazu Crianza 2018 is an aged, dry red wine from Rioja, produced by Bodegas Medrano Irazu amde from 100% Tempranillo.


    Colour: Bright ruby red, full-bodied, dry and intense.

    Nose: Aromas of vanilla and hazelnut.

    Taste: A smooth wine with a distinct oaky flavour, which later gives way to the taste of ripe fruits.

  • Jarrarte Crianza

    Jarrarte Crianza

    Abel Mendoza Jarrarte Crianza is a red wine produced in the D.O.C.a Rioja by Abel Mendoza Monje in San Vicente de la Sonsierra from 100% Tempranillo.

    An expressive, mature red wine, with a medium body. With a good integration of fruit and wood. A gem affordable to all.


    Colour: Bright / Picota cherry red / Opaque / Intense / Clean / Purplish glints

    Nose: Toasty notes / Ripe fruit / Complex / Highly aromatic / Fruit aromas / Oak wood

    Taste: Powerful / Persistent / Long / Warm

  • Marques de Vargas Reserva

    Marques de Vargas Reserva

    The go to Rioja Reserva (Vintage 2015) that you need in your cellar. Made from 85% Tempranillo, 10% Mazuelo, 5% Garnacha, by Bodegas Marques de Vargas and aged 20 months in American, French and Russian oak Barrels from different coopers, this is a very special wine.


    Colour: Richly coloured, deep black cherry hue with violet rims.

    Nose: Excellent combination of red berries like wild strawberries and raspberries with undertones of sweet liquorice.

    Taste: The palate is full-bodied and luscious with velvety texture. Great well-balanced acidity together with silky tannins trigger warm velvety mouth feel. Exceptionally elegant wine, full of freshness and complexity.