Rioja and Ribera, Ribera and Rioja. Two of the largest and most famous Spanish designations leading the way for quality Spanish wines over the last few decades. This can be seen throughout the expansion of the land and the international recognition that they have received. Two leading designations, which furthermore share certain similarities that inevitably bring forth comparisons, especially between the rival fans.
What is better? Rioja or Ribera? How do both regions compare? To shed some light on this topic, here at Decántalo we have analysed their common attributes, and their differences. Will you join us?
Vineyards of the DO Ribera del Duero. © CRDO Ribera del Duero
It is impossible to speak about the similarities between la Rioja and Ribera del Duero without focusing on the Queen grape variety of both regions: Tempranillo.
This grape varietal is also known as Tinta del País or Tinta Fina in the Ribera, providing both regions with her fantastic character. Additionally, both regions plant goblet-trained vines (bush-trained/ en vaso)
However, not everything is so similar: The vineyards in la Rioja tend to be older than Ribera del Duero, this does have an effect on the yield per vine (younger vines produce more grapes). On the other hand, Ribera receives more sun than that of la Rioja, which translates into a riper grape.
Generally speaking therefore, we can say that wines from Ribera del Duero have more body, are riper and vibrant, meanwhile, Rioja wines tend to be less forceful whilst being that little bit deeper.
Would you like to know some of the best wines from these designations? Please take note:
Pesquera Crianza 2012. Bodegas Pesquera is without doubt, one of the standout names from the D.O Ribera del Duero, since its early beginnings in the 1980’s. This 2012 Crianza offers us a mature and spicy nose, and a very flavoursome and enjoyable mid-palate. This is typical of the region.
Matarromera Crianza 2012 Same vintage and ageing process as our previous recommendation, and of course, the same profile: 100% Ribera. A highly aromatic wine with a potent and fleshly attack.
Muga Crianza 2011. Again, we chose a Crianza, but this is no ordinary Crianza. This is a Muga Crianza, from Bodegas Muga, one of the most emblematic wineries in the Rioja Alta. Fleshly, wide, spicy and friendly. Fantastic!
Viña Real Reserva 2010. We close our recommendations list with Bodegas CVNE, another key winery in la Rioja, for Viña Real Reserva 2010. A potent, structured and flavoursome wine, with a quality to price ratio that is pretty much unbeatable.
What are you waiting for? You are going to love them!