Categories of Rioja Wines

Is all Rioja wine red?

No, but mostly red. Some very quaffable rosés are made here as well as a broad range of whites, from squeaky clean sippers to barrel-fermented bruisers.

Crianza, Reserva, and Gran Reserva

Crianza, Reserva, and Gran Reserva refer to the aging process for red wines from Rioja, listed from the traditional terms for youngest to oldest. Crianza wines require aging in oak barrels at least 12 months with at least another year in the bottle. Reserva wines require 36 months aging between barrel and bottle, with at least 12 months in barrel. Gran Reserva requires 24 months aging in barrel and a further 36 months in bottle before release, though many winemakers allow for additional aging in the bodega. While these three classifications have strict aging requirements, there are so many new styles of wine making and aging that have been developed that the region has added a new class of wine called Joven. These wines can be released with almost no aging at all. Each of these categories has its own distinct taste that has been refined over the two hundred years that wine has been made in Rioja.

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