A guide to the Rioja classifications system and their styles

Not just any wine can be called Rioja; as well as being made in the Rioja classified area wines must pass a series of analytical and organoleptic tests to determine if the wine is worthy or not of the Denominación de Origen Calificada status. The numbered back label or seal on a bottle of Rioja is your guarantee of quality as well as the origin, vintage and ageing category of the wine. Rioja wines are classified according to the amount of time they have spent ageing in the winery; meaning that they are never sold until they have aged to perfection. Here’s a guide to what the words ‘Crianza’, ‘Reserva’ and ‘Gran Reserva’ mean:

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