La Rioja

La Rioja is the smallest region of mainland Spain, bordered by Navarre, Castile & Leon and Aragon. One of the most important wine growing areas of Europe, it has a reputation bigger than its land area. Extending along the Ebro River, the region is practically split into two, Rioja Alta which has a great deal of rainfall and has a mild climate, and Rioja Baja which is a hotter and more arid area, similar to Aragon.

The wine produced in La Rioja goes well with the region’s ochre earth and vast blue skies, which seem far more Mediterranean than the Basque greens further north. In fact, it’s hard not to feel as if you’re in a different country altogether. The wine is known for its structure and tannins, similar to Cabernet Sauvignon, but it also has a fruity characteristic. This is a wine perfect for a drinker who loves Cabernet but is also looking for the dominant cherry flavor that’s often present in a wine like Pinot Noir.

Unlike other countries who have adopted grapes that were originally indigenous to France or Italy, Tempranillo was born and cultivated in Spain, and there is no region for which they are more proud, and taken more seriously, than La Rioja.
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