There can be no doubt that Rioja is the most famous wine-growing region in Spain. The region has been producing quality red wines since the second half of the 19th century. Apart from a few rare wineries, all the quality wines were produced in Rioja until the 1980s. But faced with the fresh competition from Ribera del Duero or Priorat, the long-established bodegas have been forced to surpass themselves and now offer a new generation of wines to rival the legendary Clos Mogador, Vega Sicilia or Pingus, to mention only the most famous names.
The wine-growing district on the upper Ebro brings together several natural factors that are conducive to the production of extraordinary wines. Thanks to the nearby Bay of Biscay, the climate benefits from the influence of the Atlantic, while on the eastern side, the region is swept by currents of warm air from the Mediterranean. This delicately balanced climate, characterised by moderate temperatures, sufficient rainfall and a few frosts, creates the conditions required to make elegantly distinctive wines.
With its three production districts (Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Baja), which each have their own specific characteristics, the Rioja region produces a broad variety of fine reds that are both flavoursome and well balanced, like the Ibericos by Miguel Torres. (Alfavin.ch)
Total surface area of vineyards: 60,000 ha
Annual output: 2,800,000 hl
Wines: Rioja (DOC)
Established in: 1991
Main grape varieties: Tempranillo, Viura, Garnacha, Graciano, Mazuelo