Rioja is the epitome of fine Spanish wine, the gold standard, and offers reds and whites in a wide array of styles. Incredibly affordable commercial brands, noble traditional blends with a heavy oak-aged tinge, dynamic modern fruit-driven crowd-pleasers or tiny production single-vineyard super-cuvées, the choice in Rioja is mesmerising.
Here you can feel the influence of Bordeaux, which lies just 400km to the north. In the mid-19th century the Bordeaux industry was devastated by the Phylloxera epidemic and production plummeted. The Rioja bodegas obligingly picked up the slack and supplied everything they could to thirsty customers in France and abroad, causing an unprecedented boom in business, at least until the bug arrived in northern Spain in the 1890s and all but wiped that out too. During this time many French wine families had broadened their interests south to Rioja and set up trading links, and winemaking practices were also shared. If Rioja is a huge consumer of French oak barrels today, and the wines resemble claret to an extent, it is thanks in part to the Phylloxera bug.
The Rioja region is divided into three sections, running east to west they are: Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Alta and Rioja Baja. As the River Ebro flows east, the valley broadens out and the land flattens, the size of the vineyard parcels grows as the topography allows, and the style of the wines changes. There is also a noticeable change in climate, from cool and mountainous in the Basque Álava Province, to the more temperate and even vaguely Mediterranean Rioja Baja.
Our Rioja Selection
|Tempranillo Blanco, Emporia Ekho, Rioja, 2016|
|Tempranillo (7 months), Emporia Ekho, Rioja, 2015|
|Tempranillo (14 months), Emporia Ekho, Rioja, 2014|