All About Rioja

Part two of this week’s Spanish offer takes us to Rioja (see Part 1, our Priorat offer here), a region which in many respects is a victim of its own success.  Considered as reliably top end of basic – “the running-late-to-dinner, grab-from-corner-shop-for-£7 sort of wine” – Rioja often struggles to rise higher in the consciousness of the drinking public.  This is of course a shame as there is unrivalled value at the Reserva level and above from the region as well as some smaller, more artisan producers who make fabulously characterful Crianza, increasingly and unusually solely from their own vineyards.

For those of you who like your wine to come from a similar vintage as your first car, Tom is presenting an incredibly fun trio of 1970s reds, whilst James is talking about two slightly more contemporary, but still beautifully aged wines that privilege fruit over Rioja's trademark oak.

Your Rioja Backgrounder:
Spain’s Rioja region is divided into 3 regions: Rioja Alta, known for producing more Old World style wines, Rioja Alavesa, where the wines are often have a fuller body and higher acidity, and Rioja Baja, generally used for blending with other Rioja regions.
Traditionally, wines produced in Rioja are characterised by oak ageing. For a Rioja to be categorised as a Crianza, it must have been aged for at least 2 years, with at least one year in oak. For a wine to be characterised as Rioja Riserva, it must have been aged for at least 3 years, with at least one of these years in oak. Finally, for a Rioja Gran Reserva must have been aged for at least two years in oak and three years in bottle.

Drink Fruit Not Oak – our favourite Riojas from Bodegas Nubori.

Being somewhat contrary, we love these Riojas from Bodegas Nubori precisely because they’re about fruit not oak.
Since inception in 1898, Bodegas Nubori has stayed true to their philosophy of ageing wines whilst maintaining fruit presence and quality. Pascal Chatonnet is now in charge (the famed French wine maker of Chateau La Sergue of Pomerol), and he has brought his huge level of knowledge of some of the purest fruit expression in Bordeaux to the operation.
These wines are a marriage of tradition and modernity - rich, textured and pure. The Crianza is the perfect grilled meat or tapas wine – think cheeses, slow cooked pork, spicy chorizo and padron peppers. The Spanish would drink the Reserva with Cochinillo Asad (roast suckling pig) but try this on Sunday Lunch with a slow roast or pork belly, casseroles and venison.
Crianza_webreserva_web Crianza
Fully Mature 1970s Riojas: Not Just a Privilege, Actually a Pleasure

Our Wine Director, Tom Says:
At the same tasting at which we tried the wonderful new vintage Priorat wines from Ester Nin the other week, we sampled some fully-mature Riojas which were every bit as much of a pleasure as a privilege.  Sourced from the cellars of the Bodegas by an enterprising outfit who have good access to these rare gems we thought we’d offer a mixed case or half case of the three Bodegas below which were our favourites.  For around £37 a bottle (inc VAT) these represent extraordinary value and are perfect to guarantee bragging rights at dinner parties.


Old Rioja Case £225 in VAT for a mixed case of six bottles, including buy_now_200

£450 inc VAT for a mixed case of 12 (4 bottles of each wine).

NB – if you have a preference for a particular Bodega then we can also sell the wines individually in half cases (6 bottles)