D.O.Ca. Rioja approves regulation for identifying ‘single vineyard’ wines and producing top quality sparkling Riojas
Two years ago, it was announced how Rioja was facing a new era in response to the concerns of market demands and a search for new value arguments to reinforce its leading position as a world-class quality wine region, a prime objective set by its 2005-2020 Strategic Plan.
单一葡萄园 | Single vineyards
In keeping with this strategy, Rioja reaches a milestone today with the approval by the D.O.Ca. Rioja Control Board of the regulations regarding the identification of wines as ‘Single Vineyard’. This is in response to market interest in having more information on the specific plots where the grapes come from. This reconciles the interests of winemakers to highlight these wines, which were already available on the market, as well as those of opinion leaders and end consumers who demanded more information on the label.
A process is to be implemented to allow these mentions to be included in the back labels and trustseals of the already successful Rioja Wine categories (Young-Generic, Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva), which continue as basis for regulation. The added information, referring directly to the terroir and origins of the wine, will reflect the great diversity offered by Rioja wine today.
The new mention seeks to set specific vineyards apart from their surroundings, with requirements in tune with the Control Board quality and authenticity policy. For example, it will be necessary to demonstrate the natural limits of the “Single vineyard”, which will require long-time ownership, vines over 35 years old, and yields at least 20% below those allowed for the wine region as a whole. They will have to be well-balanced vineyards and will be required to be harvested manually. Production traceability will also be a requirement, with prior checks and double quality assessment (right after production and before being put on the market), with the later requiring a rating of “excellent”.
Likewise, the Control Board is about to update regulations regarding the mention of sub-areas and municipalities on the labels, aiming to provide more information for consumers.
里奥哈起泡酒 | Sparkling Riojas
Rioja is about to allow, for the first time, production of quality white and rosé sparkling wines bearing the region’s name. Thus, Rioja’s current range of still wines (red, rosé and white) will be complemented with a new product that will have both quality and prestige. The sparkling wines will be made according to traditional methods and this will be included in the guarantee documents (labels and seals) and specifically mentioned on the label.
All grape varieties may be used to make these wines and production parameters will be those which are generally accepted for this type of wine, with alcohol content between 11% and 13% in the finished product. The wines will be subjected to a dual rating process, including physical-chemical tests and sensorial tests before being sold. A minimum ageing period of 15 months for the second fermentation, increasing to 36 months for the top range, is indicative of the type of high quality sparkling wine to be offered to the market.