A Guide to Rioja Classifications.

Posted on by Kris

Below is a really handy guide to how Spanish wines are classified, in terms of the minimum length of time they’ve spent in the barrel/bottle. Since terms such as Crianza and Reserva will frequently appear on bottles of red Rioja, but are infrequently explained, it’s useful to remember their definitions!

I have a simple mantra I learnt many years ago in order to memorize the length of time red Rioja’s are aged for. It is simply: 1&1, 1&2, 2&3.
The first number is the minimum amount of time a wine spends in the barrel, and the second number is the minimum length of time it spends in the bottle. Therefore:
Crianza = 1 year in the barrel, 1 year in the bottle.
Reserva = 1 year in the barrel, 2 years in the bottle
Gran Reserva = 2 years in the barrel, 3 years in the bottle

This chart, put together by the nice people at Snooth, explains in a little-more detail:Rioja-Wine-Classification-Guide

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