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The Evolving Landscape of Rioja Wines

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In the Guardian Newspaper, Fiona Beckett discusses the evolving landscape of Rioja wines, highlighting a shift towards new styles that offer more fruity, less oaky notes in reds and introduce a breed of floral whites.

This change comes as a response to declining sales in the UK, despite its historical popularity. Innovations include higher altitude vineyards, diverse grape varieties and alternative aging processes. However, these premium Riojas command higher prices, paralleling prestigious regions like Burgundy and Barolo, potentially alienating budget-conscious consumers. Beckett also mentions affordable options but emphasises they don’t fully represent the current breadth of Rioja wines.

Five recommended Rioja wines are:

Artuke Tinto 2022: £14.50, or £12.95 in a case of 12 from Lea & Sandeman, 13.5% alcohol. A modern, young, Tempranillo-based Rioja.
Tremendus Clarete 2022: Priced between £12.38 and £13.60 from Les Caves de Pyrene, Buon Vino, and Cave Bristol, respectively, 13.5% alcohol. An affordable rosado, lighter and creamier than traditional Rioja rosé.
Victor Ausejo Parcela 333 Garnacha Blanca 2022: £30 from Chesters Wine Merchants, Abergavenny, 13.5% alcohol. An exotic, unoaked white Rioja made from Garnacha Blanca.
La Dula Sierra de Toloño Rioja 2021: £24.50, or £21.95 as part of a case of 12 from Lea & Sandeman, 14% alcohol. A new wave Garnacha with vibrant fruit flavours.
Carlos Sanchez Bienlarmè Lagrimas Bellas Rioja 2021: £31 from Sager & Wine, 14.5% alcohol. An intense, full-bodied, Tempranillo-based blend.