Red Wine, Loire Valley, Rioja

The Loire Valley wine region lies between the center and the northwest of France, along the Loire river. It is home to some of France's most well-known wines, notably, Sancerre, Muscadet, Vouvray and Pouilly-Fumé.

The majority of output from Loire production is white wine, from grape varieties such as Sauvignon blanc, Chenin Blanc and Melon de Bourgogne grapes. There are in total 87 appellations in Loire, stretching from the Atlantic coast and heading inland near the city of Orléans. The region is commonly divided in to three subregions. The upper Loire is predominantly Sauvignon Blanc and includes the areas of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. Middle Loire is mostly under Chenin Blanc (and some Cabernet Franc) and includes villages of Touraine, Saumur, Chinon and Vouvray. Lastly in the lower Loire, to the west the Melon de Bourgogne grape variety thrives in the Muscadet region and is the most widely planted grape in the Loire.
Rioja is located in the south of the Cantabrian Mountains along the Ebro river in the north of Spain. The region also has a river called Rio Oja, which is where the region likely gained its name. There are three main regions in Rioja, with each of them producing quite unique expressions of Rioja wines.

To the west is Rioja Alta, in the higher elevated area. This sub-region is renowned for its old-world wines that are often lighter on the palate due to the higher altitude. The wines coming out of Rioja Alavesa on the other hand are fuller bodies, with higher acid levels than those from Rioja Alta. The third area, Rioja Baja is the warmest and driest of all, and can in summer months can be exposed to very high temperatures drought so irrigation is now permitted in the region.

The reds (tinto) wines of Rioja are generally blends of Tempranillo and Garnacha with lesser amounts of Graciano and Mazuelo. Amongst the white (bianco) varieties, Viura is the most common though normally blended with Malvasia or Garnacha Blanc. Plenty of interesting Rosé wines are produced, most commonly from the Garnacha variety. Note that wineries in Spain are commonly referred to as bodegas.
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  1. Alegro Rioja Crianza 2018
    A representative wine of the new Rioja style, interpreted from modernity. Elegant, balanced and reliable on any occasion, with classic aromas of red fruit and vanilla and subtle hints of liquorice and toffee. Versatile with all kinds of Mediterranean dishes ( ... Learn More
    pts
    Mark Faber
  2. Alegro Rioja Reserva 2015
    A clear example of the elegance and silkiness of Rioja Reservas but with a more modern profile. With the complexity of long ageing in the barrel and bottle, and the delicateness of the Tempranillo. A wine with intense aromas of ... Learn More
  3. Alegro Rioja Reserva 2014
    A clear example of the elegance and silkiness of Rioja Reservas but with a more modern profile. With the complexity of long ageing in the barrel and bottle, and the delicateness of the Tempranillo. A wine with intense aromas of ... Learn More
  4. Alegro Rioja Gran Reserva 2012
    A clear example of the elegance and silkiness of Rioja Reservas but with a more modern profile. With the complexity of long ageing in the barrel and bottle, and the delicateness of the Tempranillo. This Gran Reserva spends an incredible 24 ... Learn More
  5. La Rioja Alta Rioja Gran Reserva ‘904' 2011
    “Quite simply, these are some of the finest Riojas that can grace your cellar: complex, refined, classic but without compromising fruit intensity and to reiterate: wines that speak about where they come from.” Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate 90% Tempranillo and 10% ... Learn More
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    James Suckling
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