History, Luxury, Distinction: The Wines of Rioja Have It All


Curving along the Ebro river, Rioja represents the pinnacle of Spanish winemaking: Combining 2,000 years of history with a penchant for innovation, their distinctive wines have been captivating drinkers for millennia – and they are only getting more intriguing. 

Rioja’s legendary terroir contains multitudes: The ancient region remains at the forefront of Spain’s modern vinous renaissance, and its wines capture the singular essence of their arid origins. Like many European regions winemaking began in Rioja with the Romans, yet unlike its peers, Rioja’s early winemaking culture was expanded rapidly during the Middle Ages by Spanish monasteries. As soon as wine became a marketable and exportable product, the region developed the Real Junta de Cosecheros or Royal Board of Winegrowers in 1787. The group instantly began building crucial infrastructure and marketing Rioja wine in northern markets, laying the foundation for Rioja as a group likewise established Rioja as a premium wine production area. This early action and commitment to innovation laid the foundation for Rioja’s status as one of the world’s elite winegrowing regions – a distinction the region still proudly holds today. 

The forefathers of Rioja wine instilled a tradition of excellence and innovation into the appellation. These early vintners concurrently committed to quality and diversity within their wines – elements their modern counterparts adopted: From featherweight wine and rosé wines to powerful Gran Reserva reds, Rioja wines span the color and structure spectrum. Though Tempranillo remains Rioja’s key red grape, over a dozen varieties are cultivated across the region. This diversity, coupled with the high quality required to label wines Rioja DOCa, sets Rioja apart as a premier wine producing region in Spain and the world at large. 

The prismatic range of white, rosé, and red wines made in Rioja are uniquely suited to bring a taste of luxury to everyday moments and special occasions. For example, briefly aged Joven wines are ideal for classic dishes like roasted chicken or pork tenderloin, while Gran Reserva wines – which are aged for at least two years in barrel – are the perfect accompaniment to slow-roasted meats like lamb or prime rib. Even summer staples like hamburgers and fish have a perfect match among Rioja wines – especially when the region’s easy-drinking rosés and crisp whites land on the table.

Today, contemporary Rioja vintners have made discovering new Rioja wines effortless. With the launch of ShopRioja.com, an online directory of Rioja wines, connoisseurs can access Rioja’s world-class wines from anywhere in the world. 

As ShopRioja.com demonstrates, the vintners of Rioja aren’t giving up their tradition of blending history with modernity. Instead, they’re propelling the region forward with the same equation that’s been charming novices and collectors for centuries.