The best wine Rioja
Our selections of the best Rioja wines
The Rioja Denomination of Origin is one of the oldest and most appreciated by wine lovers from all over the world. Coming from the Spanish region that bears the same name, these are wines with great organoleptic quality that take their flavor and aroma from a land rich in nutrients and mineral properties. Next, we select some of the best wines from La Rioja.
1. Old Crianza Red Wine DO Rioja
The Crianza de Antaño represents the personality of the wines of this Denomination of Origin. In this sense, it could be the best Rioja wine made with a selection of Tempranillo, Mazuelo, Garnacha and Graciano grapes, native to the area. Once hand-picked and pressed, the fermented must is matured for 12 months in American oak barrels.
During its aging, it acquires its unique appearance of an intense ruby color with a brilliant upper middle layer. In the glass it has a fruity aromatic profile, with hints of red berries and vanilla, with a spicy finish. On the palate it is soft, with many tannins, which give way to a pleasant flavor of cocoa, roasted coffee and a vanilla finish that balances it.
It is a wine to pair with strong meats, such as venison, as well as meat dishes in sauce, tuna empanadas or cheeses with a powerful flavor such as those from La Mancha.
2. Beronia Crianza Wine DOCa. Rioja
Beronia Crianza could be the best Rioja wine of the moment for lovers of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Mazuelo grape wines, typical of the area. The harvest is done by hand, the grains are pressed and a cold maceration is carried out, prior to alcoholic fermentation, for which it obtains unique colors and aromas. The final must is matured in French oak barrels, where it obtains its personality and organoleptic profile.
It is a wide wine, with a picota cherry color and a bright garnet rim, very clean and with a high robe. On the nose it is complex, with a fruity profile in which the aromas of cherry and raspberry stand out, with an herbal finish of thyme and rosemary, with notes of tobacco and cinnamon. On the palate it is fresh and sweet, with a lot of volume and flavors reminiscent of vanilla and chocolate.
As it is a fresh wine, it is suitable for pairing with roasts, grilled chops, Iberian sausages and cured cheeses with a powerful flavor.
3. Pata Negra Rioja Reserve
These could be the best Rioja wines of 2022 to give to a passionate of good wine. It is a selection of three bottles, among which you can find a red Pata Negra from DO Ribera del Duero, a bottle of Rioja and another of organic wine from Jumilla. The bottles are presented in a wooden case, with the logo of the García Carrión winery.
It is a very complete assortment, which includes red wines with very different aromatic and flavor profiles. In this sense, the Rioja wine has a deep and bright garnet color, with spicy aromas of tobacco and a finish of red fruits, common in the wines of this DO. In the mouth, it has a balanced and broad flavor, with fruit notes.
In total, it is a combination of several cheap, quality wines with varied profiles, ideal to give as a gift or enjoy at home, experimenting with the different flavors and aromas.
4. Azpilicueta DOC Rioja Crianza Red Wine
If you are wondering which Rioja wine to buy, the Crianza de Azpilicueta could be the best option. It is made from the typical varieties of the area that are Tempranillo, Mazuelo and Graciano. They are harvested by hand and the must is fermented at a controlled temperature for 12 days. Next, the must goes to American oak barrels, where it rests for 12 years to complete aging for 6 months in the bottle.
In the glass it has a cherry red color of great intensity, clean, bright and with golden sparkles. As for the aroma, it has a markedly fruity aromatic profile, with a background of toasted wood and a finish of vanilla, coconut and spices. On the palate it is sweet and fruity, with all the personality of La Rioja wines, balanced and with a long flavor.
It is a fresh wine, ideal for pairing with meats and sausages, as well as cured cheeses and hearty dishes.
5. Marqués de la Concordia Lagunilla Crianza Red wine DO Rioja
Lagunilla wineries are considered by many wine lovers as the best brand of Rioja wines. Created in 1885, they are among the oldest in the area and have traditional production methods. This Crianza wine is made with Tempranillo and Garnacha grapes, aged for 24 months in oak barrels, which spend another 3 years in the bottle, where it acquires all its traditional flavors and aromas.
Thanks to its long aging process, it acquires unique properties, which begin with its intense ruby color, with a high layer and violet reflections. In the glass it has fresh aromas, typical of its varieties, with aromas of ripe plums that, in the end, give way to typical aromas of wood. On the palate it is fresh, with light woody flavors in which the oak tannins and the final notes of vanilla stand out.
It is an easy-to-drink wine, with a low alcohol content, which is designed to pair with sausages, rice dishes and mild meat dishes.
6. Ramon Bilbao Crianza
Ramón Bilbao’s Crianza wine is made 100% with Tempranillo grapes, harvested at dawn, at their optimum development time. The grapes are manually separated by payments and reserved at a controlled temperature, where they go on to be racked quickly, where a unique color extraction is appreciated. After fermentation, they are aged in American oak barrels, where they obtain their aromas and flavors.
In this sense, they are garnet red wines, with a medium layer, clean and bright, with dense tears. In the glass, they have aromas of black fruit, liquorice and a sweet finish of nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Finally, in the mouth they offer a great balance between acid and sweet flavors, with integrated tannins and a finish of black fruit and wood.
It is a wine to pair with cured meats, soft cheeses, white meats, rabbit stews and oily fish.
7. Paternina Banda Azul Crianza DO Rioja Red Wine
For all those who want to know which is the best Rioja wine, Paternina could be the answer. It is one of the most iconic wines of this DO, since it was the one used by figures such as Ernest Hemingway or Alfonso Suárez. Its label, with the characteristic blue band, is easily recognizable and its organoleptic properties are an example for Crianza wines.
Made with Tempranillo, Mazuelo and Garnacha grapes and 12 months in oak barrels, it has a bright ruby color, with a high layer and violet highlights. In this wine, the aromas of wood and dry grain stand out, which translate into a very broad flavor profile in which the typical fruit profile of the Rioja stands out.
It is a broad wine, suitable for wine lovers and for those who are just starting out in tasting. It is a broth to pair with soft meats and sauce dishes, rice dishes and frying dishes.
8. Montecillo Red Wine DO Rioja Crianza
The Montecillo wineries were created in 1870 in Fuenmayor and it is the third oldest winery in La Rioja. Made with a selection of native Graciano, Garnacha and Tempranillo grapes, it is aged in high-quality oak barrels and rested in the bottle, obtaining a red wine that represents the personality of the Rioja, complex and balanced.
It is bright cherry red in color, with a high layer and violet highlights. In the glass it has intense and elegant aromas, in which the aromas of black fruit, blackberry, currant and raspberry predominate. Finally, it has expressive flavors, sweet and structured at the beginning and an acidic, long and pleasant finish, which makes it a very balanced broth.
It could be the best quality-price Rioja wine, perfect to pair with tapas, pinchos, sausages and cured cheeses, but also with red meats and hearty spoon dishes.
9. Marqués de Carrión Reserve Red Wine DO Rioja
The García Carrión wineries have been an oenological reference worldwide since 1890. The wineries that began with the production and export of Jumilla wines are present today in more than 10 Denominations of Origin. Marqués de Carrión is one of the cheapest options for those who enjoy the personality and organoleptic breadth of Rioja wines.
Made with Tempranillo, Graciano and Mazuelo grapes from the Rioja Alavesa area, it has a pale ruby color, with brown reflections and a very clean appearance. In the glass it stands out for its soft aromatic profile, with notes of vanilla, tobacco, wild fruits and hints of oak. On the palate it is pleasant and long, with a harmony between the acid and fruit flavors, typical of the varieties.
Like all García Carrión wines, it is one of the cheapest options, although it is of high quality. It is ideal for pairing with poultry in sauce, game meats and strong-flavored stews.
10. Paulus Young Red Wine DO Rioja
It is a red wine made with Tempranillo grapes selected by hand from the brand’s vineyards. These grapes are pressed and go on to ferment in steel tanks for 21 days at a controlled temperature. This process allows the wine to be “tinted” with the tannins of the grape and acquire its own flavours, colors and aromas.
The result of all this process is a red wine with a ripe cherry color, with ruby gleams. In the glass it has a very broad aromatic profile that begins with the black fruits and evolves to a very marked varietal profile, reminiscent of the red fruits of the forest. On the palate it is a soft and elegant wine, easy to drink for those who are not used to red wine.
As it is a young wine, it is perfect for any daily lunch or dinner. It is designed to pair with red, white and game meats, as well as rice dishes, stews and spoon dishes.
Origin and Use
After our comparison of Rioja wines, so that you can better understand the organoleptic profile and properties of this type of wine, we will talk about its history. We will also talk about the possible mixtures, as well as the best way to preserve them once the bottle is opened and their nutritional value.
La Rioja is possibly the best known and most appreciated Denomination of Origin in all of Spain. It is also one of the areas with the longest wine tradition, as wine containers from pre-Roman times have been found. In this sense, Iberians and Celts already produced wines in this area before the arrival of the Romans.
However, the first written notes on La Rioja wine date back to the year 873 and come from the sanctuary of San Millán de La Cogolla, the place where the first documents in Spanish were written, which is why it is considered the cradle of the language. In these old documents, a donation of wine to the monastery of San Andrés de Trepeana is noted, the wine came from the harvest of the King of Navarra located in the territory of the monastery.
At that time, there are nineteen documented vineyards in the Nájera area, which were owned by the monastery of San Millán and whose wine production was destined for clerical wineries, since it was sacramental wine, which used to be sent to other monasteries. Over time, part of these vineyards would become the property of the monastery of Santa María La Real.
At this time, Don Gómez, bishop of Nájera, granted part of his wine lands to the townspeople, through the “Longares Population Charter”. In this letter, the bishop imposed on the residents of the town, the servitude in favor of the monastery of San Martín de Albelda, forcing them to spend two days plowing, two digging, two entering, two cutting and one harvesting. With this, for the first time in Spain, a population was linked to the exclusive work of the vineyard and the production of wine.
In 1102, King Sancho I legally recognized the wines of La Rioja and gave the towns the authority to regulate their production and trade. At this time, the wines of La Rioja became the economic axis of the crown of the kingdom of Navarra, even being mentioned by Gonzalo de Berceo, a friar from San Millán and the first Spanish poet, in one of his verses.
At the end of the 13th century, La Rioja wine began to be exported to other parts of the peninsula, beginning what would become a long commercial tradition. From the fifteenth century, the entire area specializes in the production and elaboration of wines.
In 1786 the use of oak barrels was introduced, whose initial objective was not the maturation of the wine, but its conservation for the transport of wines to America. Later, maceration and fermentation techniques imported from France were introduced to increase productivity and already in the 19th century, Basque industrialists invested in Riojan wineries to industrialize and modernize the production of their wines.
We continue with this guide to buy the best Rioja wine, explaining some mixes and cocktails. In this sense, the red wines of La Rioja, made with native varieties such as Tempranillo, Graciano and Garnacha, usually have a markedly fruity flavor profile. Therefore, they are suitable for fresh cocktails such as the Blackberry Cola, which mixes brandy, dry and sweet sherry, red Rioja and Cola.
It is also an ideal wine to prepare El Obispo, a cocktail made with lemon and orange juice, powdered sugar, Rioja red wine and ice. Mix everything in the shaker, pour into a glass full of ice and stir.
La Rioja wine, no matter how much it costs, is marketed at its optimal moment of consumption, so it should be drunk before two years. However, as long as the bottle remains closed, it can be stored for up to 4 years, as long as it is kept in a horizontal position, so that the broth bathes the cork and prevents it from drying out. It should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from sunlight, in an environment with a constant temperature and without vibrations.
Once opened, even the cheapest wine can be stored for up to a week. In this case, it should be kept vertical, covered with its own cork, always in the fridge. If possible, it should not be left on the door, since opening and closing the refrigerator will cause the wine to move and spoil it.
A 100 ml glass of La Rioja wine contains 10.8 grams of alcohol and provides 75.6 kcal, which would be 3.44% of the daily caloric intake for men and 2.6% for women.
In this sense, it also provides 1.25 g of sugar and 5 g of carbohydrates.
The wine contains alcohol, so it is not recommended for minors or pregnant women. Also, you should never drive after drinking wine or any alcoholic beverage.