The merits of aged Rioja



There has been a lot of coverage on the growth of Spanish wine in the press recently. The Guardian states “Spain has outstripped France and Italy to become the world’s biggest wine exporter, exporting 22.8m hectolitres in 2014, a 22% rise on the previous year”. Although much of this growth is driven by bulk sales and the increased number of tapas restaurants, this is “leading to predictions that Spanish wines will soon account for a greater share of the British market than their French rivals, sacre bleu!” (The Telegraph).

The pleasure of Rioja is that you do not need to pay the earth to experience the delights of a 10, 20 of even 50 year-old bottle. The shocking truth we learnt at a recent tasting is that the Spanish don’t like aged Rioja! They favour a younger, more fruit driven style. Well, all the more for us then.

Rioja has 44,000 hectares under vine, running 100km along the Ebro river from the town of Haro in the East to Alfaro in the West. There are 3 main regions attached to the Ebro, Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Baja. The stand out vintages to note in the last decade are 2004, 2005, 2010 and 2011.

Our tasting included vintages ranging from 1968-1995, featuring the best vintages of this period from some of Spains top Bodegas. So if the Goedhuis team cannot now explain the age-worthiness of Rioja, we’re in the wrong job! We did try 15 wines so we have selected some of our favourites giving you an idea of the taste profiles of these wines.