10 Rioja wines you should try at least once in your lifetime
Rioja, Spain’s most famous and popular wine region around the world, has wines everywhere. However, we want to show you some unique, different and special wines. Wines with history and a strong reputation that have made it into other countries because of their high quality. These are wines from legendary wineries that hide secrets that will never be revealed in order to keep their essence alive and ensure that, vintage after vintage, they surprise us when we take a sip. If you have the chance, you must try these at least once in your life...
What can we say about a wine that receives the best reviews from Robert Parker and Wine Spectator every single year? The star product of the century-old La Rioja Alta winery with a long aging in barrel and the bottle and a very reasonable price, no one has to miss out on this charming classic Rioja. There’s good reason this is one of our bestsellers!
You can’t talk about Tondonia without talking about Rioja. A historic winery, this was the first winemaking project in the legendary city of Haro and the third in Rioja. With more than 100 years of experience, one of their most legendary wines is Viña Tondonia Reserva. The perfect red for discovering that excellent balance between fruit and oak that is so key in traditional Rioja wines.
With a more modern style, Roda arrived in Haro’s Barrio de La Estación in the 1980s to revive the wine industry in the area. Their wines, which are exclusively single-vintage wines and very elegant, are characterised by the dominance of fruit and a light touch of wood that comes through in the background. Roda I Reserva is a great example of this.
La Cueva de Contador is the second wine from this winery in San Vicente de la Sonsierra. It is a single-variety Tempranillo that is faithful to the style that winemaker Benjamín Romeo has made famous. One of Robert Parker’s favourite Riojas, it perfectly expresses the origin of the terroir and combines elegance and power in equal parts.
If there is one thing that makes Muga, a legendary Rioja winery, stand out, it is their commitment to the most traditional methods, but using the most modern techniques. This way of doing things allows them to create unique wines with the unmistakable Muga character. One of these wines is Torre Muga, a modern, concentrated and fruity cuvée that you will likely fall in love with.
The result of a collaboration between two of the most prestigious winemaking projects in the world, the Rothschild family from Bordeaux and Vega Sicilia from Ribera del Duero, Macán is the result of their ambitious arrival in La Rioja. A château-style red wine whose complexity, power and concentration make it legendary.
In 1998, at the height of modernity in Rioja, the Eguren family created Viñedos de Páganos in an exceptional winemaking area in Laguardia. The project was a success and their La Nieta wine, a red from a small plot with loam soils lying at an altitude of 525 metres and with a unique microclimate, has become this winery’s star product.
Telmo Rodríguez needs no introduction. If you have the opportunity, you can’t pass up the chance to try one of his creations. So, if you’re interested, Las Beatas is an icon. Robert Parker has described this as the “Porsche of wines”, made through the experience and passion of one of the most prestigious winemakers who has rediscovered the taste of Rioja better than anyone.
And when it comes to naming wine legends, Álvaro Palacios is right near the top of the list. The Palacios Remondo family winery in La Rioja has the gift of combining varieties and landscapes in a spectacular way. This is clear to see in Quiñón de Valmira, a single-variety Garnacha that isn’t the cheapest, but will make you feel like you’ve died and gone to heaven.
Finally, and ending on a high note, we want to tell you about Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial Blanco 1986. A white wine from Marqués de Murrieta made from the native Viura grape variety and aged for 21 years in barrels and 5 more years in cement tanks. A great wine that is fit for a king and proves that Rioja is not just about red wine.
So, there are our 10 star wines from some of the legendary wineries that have given this famous wine region its high level of prestige and international reputation. Fortunately, however, there are so many more. Search for D.O.Ca. Rioja and you will discover a huge number of other wines to choose from.