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Wine Spectator School

Class 6: Traveling the Old World


Key Areas, Key Wines

Rioja's best wines are red blends based on Tempranillo, though Garnacha may also be an important component.

  • Rioja is divided into three sub-regions: Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Baja.
  • The wine is often a blend of wine from all three regions, but increasingly single-district and even single-vineyard wines are more common

Reds from Ribera del Duero are made primarily of Tempranillo and rank among Spain's best wines for their richness and intense flavors.

In the warm low-lying areas of Penedès, vintners produce reds from Garnacha and Monastrell, while in the foothills cava, or sparkling wine, is made. At even higher elevations, the cooler hillside vineyards yield an array of early-ripening international varieties, including Pinot Noir and Riesling.

The variety is often indicated on the...

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