La Rioja has won by merits the title of Qualified Denomination of Origin. Today we want to pay a tribute to our land and wines by showing you all the grape varieties that are grown in La Rioja.
The grape varieties available in La Rioja
Tempranillo: This grape variety has its origin in La Rioja and is the most characteristic grape of our denomination of origin. It represents the main part of the vineyard as it covers three quarters of the surface. It is a very versatile variety that produces well balanced wines with a good colour and acidity. In addition, its qualities promote a long aging. As its name suggests, it is a grape with a short ripening cycle. It is one of the most popular grape varieties in Spain and is present in 28 denominations of origin.
Graciano: It is the second native Spanish variety of La Rioja in order of importance. It requires clay-limestone soils with freshness, low fertility and a late ripening. In terms of its characteristics, it allows us to produce wines with good acidity, intense colour and high polyphenolic content.
Mazuelo: Also known as Carignan Noir because of its French origin. It is one of the oldest grape varieties in La Rioja. Although today its cultivation is not very widespread (it occupies only 3% of the Denomination area), it is one of the most productive varieties. It is used as a perfect complement to the Tempranillo, adding tannins, high acidity and stable colour.
Garnacha: Garnacha is one of the most widely planted red wine grape varieties in the world and for many years, it was the most cultivated variety in Spain and in La Rioja. It is used as a perfect complement to the Tempranillo for its structure and aromatic characteristics.
Viura: The main white grape variety cultivated in La Rioja. Very productive and with good acidity, this grape produces fruity wines, both young and old ones.
In La Rioja we find other varieties and although they are not as recognized as the previously described ones, they enrich and complement our wines:
Maturana tinta: Variety with a compact and small cluster of berries. Has an intense red violet colour, a high content in anthocyanins and a high acidity, making its wines have a structured palate with a medium persistence.
Maturana blanca: According to the records, this is the oldest variety in La Rioja, and is tracked all the way back to the seventeenth century (1622). It is a fairly fertile variety with a small bunch, just like the red version of the grape. The main characteristic of this variety is a low pH, high acidity and sensitivity to botrytis.
Malvasía de Rioja: This variety of Malvasia can offer high quality white wines. Once it reaches maturation the cluster presents a pink-yellow colour with reddish glints, providing unctuousness and great aromatic intensity.
Garnacha Blanca: It is the variety that occupies the least surface of all authorized areas in Rioja. Very similar in its oenological behaviour to its sister of red colour, it offers alcoholic wines rich in extract with less aroma and acidity. It is cultivated in fresh areas producing a pleasant wine with good acidity.
Tempranillo Blanco: Coming from a natural genetic mutation from a Tempranillo Tinto branch, it has a medium-sized and loose bunch, with the berry slightly crushed. The acidity remains high, presenting a high concentration in volatile compounds with fruity aromas. It has a greenish yellow colour, the aroma is described as characteristic from the variety with intense fruity notes of banana, citrus fruits and tropical fruits. Its palate is balanced, with medium-long structure and persistence. It does not exist anywhere else in the world.