Surprisingly Rioja producers are only just fighting back.
The Rioja Region in northern Spain is situated on both the right and left banks of the Erbo river. There are 140 villages in the region across the three distinct regions Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa & Rioja Baja. But - the vineyards are forbidden, yes that's right - forbidden to include their sub region on their labels. Rioja is defined by it's length of ageing as Joven, Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva - but geography is not allowed. Of course there are many reasons for this, traditionally wines are blended from across the region. The climate is often harsh which lead to the blending necessity, when harvests are poor. Other wine producing countries proudly define their locality within the region - actually most French Regions have sub-regions!! But not Rioja.
This article by Jane Anson for Decanter Magazine is both interesting and informative . Her description of her chosen route into Spain, will have many planning a visit - and soon!
D'Arcy Wines offer several wines from the Rioja Region. Here are two to wet the appetite!
Campos de Hojas Rioja at £6.99 is an easy drinking wine with dark summer berry fruits warmed up with spice. Sela Rioja at £17.50 is concentrated, intense flavours of ripe red fruits, spicy vanilla with polished smooth tannins.