Characteristics unique to the region
The Rioja wine region is located in northern Spain, in the valley of the Ebro river. Situated in thethree provinces of La Rioja, Alava
and Navarra, it’s divided into three regions. These include the
Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa in the west, and the Rioja Baja in the east. The vineyards coverapproximately148,200 acres and vary in altitude from 300-600 meters. The Rioja region issheltered from the worst Atlantic weather-related influences by nearby mountain ranges, and theEbro River runs right through it to provide much needed water for the vines. The winters are coldand the summers warm but never real hot.Although Rioja covers a relatively small area, it holds several different types of soil and climaticconditions. The land slopes downwards moving from west to east, and the climate becomesincreasingly dry and hot due to the Mediterranean influence. Additionally, there are three types of soil found within the Rioja wine region. Half the area is Alluvial, which is found in areasthroughout the region near the Ebro river. These plots are large, flat, and have ideal depth andriver stones. One quarter of the region is ferrous clay, which
is sloping land that’s hard with deep,
hard rock and is also found in large plots across the area. Another quarter of the region is chalkyclay, found in specific areas in small, tarraced plots. These soil and weather conditions affect thedevelopment of the vines and result in the distinctive characteristics for which the wines from theRioja region are known.
Rioja wines are assigned to three categories: crianza
the youngest, most common, and leastexpensive; reserva; and the finest wines, gran reserva. Rioja reds are based on Tempranillo,