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Flashcards in Just Rioja Questions Deck (10):

What are the three sub zones of La Rioja and what are their soil types?

Rioja Alta
Rioja Alta's northern areas are characterized by yellow calcareous clay (arcillo-calcareo), whereas the lower slopes south of the Ebro River contain reddish, iron-rich clay soils (arcillo-ferroso).

Rioja Alavesa
This subzone has the highest concentration of calcareous clay soils, the dominant soil type between the Cantabrian Mountains and the north bank of the Ebro River.

Rioja Baja
Rioja Baja has some iron-rich clay, but most of the lower, flatter areas in Baja are characterized by alluvial, silty soils.


Authorized grapes and styles of Rioja and minimum POTENTIAL alcohol levels:

Authorized Grapes:

Principal White Grape: Viura
Secondary White Grapes: Malvasía, Garnacha Blanca, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Verdejo, Tempranillo Blanca, Maturana Blanca, Turruntés
Principal Red Grape: Tempranillo
Secondary Red Grapes: Garnacha, Mazuelo, Graciano, Maturana Tinta

Minimum Potential Alcohol:

White Grapes: 10.5%
Red Grapes: 11%

Styles Produced:

Blanco: 100% authorized white grapes (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Verdejo combined must account for less than 50% of the blend)
Rosado: min. 25% combined Tempranillo, Mazuelo, Garnacha Tinta, Maturana Tinta and Graciano
Tinto: min. 95% authorized red grapes (if destemmed), min. 85% authorized red grapes (if whole clusters or whole berries are used)


Rioja DOCa Minimum Acquired Alcohol:

Rioja (without subzone designation):
Blanco/Rosado: 10.5% (11% for Reserva or Gran Reserva)
Tinto: 11.5% (12% for Reserva or Gran Reserva)

Rioja (with subzone designation):
Blanco Alta/Alavesa: 11%
Blanco Baja: 11.5%
Rosado Alta/Alavesa: 10.5%
Rosado Baja: 11%
Tinto Alta/Alavesa: 11.5%
Tinto Baja: 12%

Chaptalization: Illegal


Rioja DOCa Aging Requirements:

Crianza Blanco/Rosado: min. 2 years, including at least 6 months in oak (remainder may be in bottle, oak or stainless steel)

Crianza Tinto: min. 2 years, including at least 1 year in oak

Reserva Blanco/Rosado: min. 2 years, including at least 6 months in oak (remainder must be in bottle or oak)

Reserva Tinto: min. 3 years, including at least 1 year in oak

Gran Reserva Blanco/Rosado: min. 4 years, including at least 6 months in oak (remainder must be in bottle or oak)

Gran Reserva Tinto: min. 24 months in oak and 36 months in bottle


Rioja DOCa Permitted Training Methods:

Cordon (single or double), "en vaso" (bush vines), "vara y pulgar", Double Guyot (the latter may be used for all white varieties except Viura, Malvasía, and Garnacha Blanca.)


Rioja DOCa Maximum Yields:

White Grapes: 9,000 kg/ha (vineyard), 70 liters/100 kg (press)
Red Grapes: 6,500 kg/ha (vineyard), 70 liters/100 kg (press)


What river and its tributary flow through Rioja?

The Ebro River emerges from the western Cantabrian Mountains, and flows on a southeasterly course toward the Mediterranean, passing though the historic Rioja DOCa, Spain’s premier red wine region. Rioja, named not after the Ebro but for the Oja, a smaller tributary, was the first region in Spain to be christened as Denominación de Origen Calificada—in 1991—and has been a viable wine-producing area for over 2000 years.


What is another name for Mazuelo?



What is another name for Viura?



Discuss the differences of Rioja's sub regions:

Rioja Alavesa is the smallest, northernmost zone (it is located within Basque country) and Tempranillo here often produces vino joven wines for early consumption. Carbonic maceration may be employed for such wines. Rioja Alta is the southwestern zone, and with its slightly warmer climate the zone is capable of producing classic, ageworthy Tempranillo, Mazuelo and Graciano. Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa share a similar soil structure, with a high proportion of calcareous clay, whereas Rioja Baja, the hottest subregion, contains more alluvial soils and ferrous clay. Garnacha performs best in Rioja Baja’s hot climate. Many producers will source blends from all three subregions to create a base style, combining the freshness of Rioja Alavesa, the extract and alcoholic warmth of Rioja Baja, and the acidity and structure of Rioja Alta. Others, however, prefer the typicity that results from single region and single vineyard bottlings: staunch traditionalist López de Heredia produces single vineyard wines from estate vineyards such as Bosconia and Tondonia; and Ysios—a modern winery renowned for its avant-garde architectural design—produces pure Tempranillo from its estate vineyards in the Rioja Alavesa region.