The passage of time and the experience of winegrowers and processors have allowed a natural selection of those grape varieties that showed better qualities of adaptation to the climate and soils of Rioja and, at the same time, were able to To provide wines of the highest quality. As a result of this historical process, the seven varieties authorized by the Rioja qualified denomination of Origin regulations.
But in addition, in 2007 the innovative impulse of the sector, always attentive to the evolution and the demand of the markets, led to the authorization of seven new varieties, being the first time since the creation of the denomination in 1925 which incorporate new varieties with the The main objective is to seek greater competitiveness in white wines and to contribute diversity to their wine production, maintaining identity and differentiation.
So the grape varieties currently authorized by the regulation of D. O. Ca. Rioja are:
- Inks: TEMPRANILLO, GARNACHA, GRACIANO, MAZUELO and MATURANA Tinta.
- WHITE: VIURA, MALVASIA, GARNACHA BLANCA, TEMPRANILLO BLANCO, MATURANA BLANCA, TURRUNTÉS, CHARDONNAY, SAUVIGNON BLANC AND VERDEJO.
The Tempranillo variety occupies a growing area of more than 75% of the Rioja graded D.O., with a progressive increase in recent years to the detriment of other varieties. It is considered autochthonous of Rioja, and it is recognized internationally its Spanish origin.
It is very safe in curd, very sensitive to pests and diseases, and low resistant to drought and high temperatures. It produces a balanced must in sugar, color and acidity, although the latter is sometimes scarce. It has a frank palate, interesting in young and velvety wine when evejece. It is considered a preferential variety and for some years it is the variety that occupies the largest area in the denomination.
According to some studies, the synonyms can be considered very safe: Cencibel de la Mancha, Tinto de Toro and Tinto de Madrid of Ribera del Duero. The rest of the synonyms that appear in the literature and in the Ampelographic collections from all over the world are the following: Aragonez, Arganda, Cencibel Chinchillaa, Escobera, Garnacho, Foño, Jaciuera, Mesa Negra, Santiago ink, Tinta Montereiro, Red Fino, Red country, Red Rioja, Red de Toro, Tinto de Madrid, Ull de Llebre, Valdepeñas, Verdiell and Vid de Aranda.
With 9,150 hectares approx., which represents 18% of the wine-growing area of the denomination, the Garnacha variety has a progressive decrease in favor of Tempranillo. Internationally it is recognized a Spanish origin. It is the red variety that occupies the largest area in the world and which in Rioja complements the Tempranillo by its aromatic characteristics and body.
Sensitive to the bleed when it is cultivated badly, it is very rustic, resistant to drought and also quite resistant to some of the pests and important diseases of the vineyard like Aryanis and Oidium. The product obtained depends much on the environmental conditions (thermal integral) and cultivation (production).
In warm areas it gives the type of wine for which it is most known (alcoholic, little acid and with a lot of body), but in cool areas it gives a very interesting and balanced product. It is not possible to speak of Garnacha wine irrespective of the cultivation area, since the results are very disparate. It tends to be overly criticized for its quality when you don't have enough knowledge and experience about your possibilities. It has had a great presence in the Rioja wines during the most part of the twentieth century.
The synonyms collected in the ampelographic collections around the world are the following: Abundant, Alicante, Cannonaddu, Cannonaddu Nieddu, Cannonao, Cannonau Selvaggio, Canonazo, Carignane Rosso, Garnaccho Negro, Garnatxa país, Giront, Granaccia, Granaxa, Grenache Rouge, Lladoner, Retagliad, Nieddu, Rivesaltes, Rousillon Tinto, Rousillon, red Aragonese, Tinto Navalcarnero, UVa di Spagna.
The cultivation of this variety occupies an area of only 3% of the Rioja qualified D.O., although there is evidence of the cultivation of this variety in Rioja for several centuries. Internationally it is recognized its French origin with the denomination of Carignan Noir.
It is more productive than the previous ones and extremely sensitive to oidium. It needs greater thermal integral than the rest of the varieties. In cool areas not ripe properly. produces abundant color and acidity, hard and scarce aromas. Wines rich in tannins and Broncos on the palate.
In the world it is known with the principal denomination of Carignan Noir and the registered synonyms are the following: Babonenc, Bois Dur, Boue Duro, Cagnolaro Red, Carignan meow, Carignano, Cariñena, Catalan, Cencibel, Crujillon, Crusillo, rotate, Legno duro , Mnuelo Tinto, Mataro, Mazuelo, Mollard, Monestel, Plant de Ledenon, Roussillon, Samso, Samso Crusillo, Patna Blau, Red Carignan, Uva di Spagna.
Graciano is a very rare autochthonous variety in other areas, whose demonstrated complementarity with the Tempranillo for ageing has made it a variety of future for Rioja, where the cultivation surface has increased considerably in The last years, although without reaching the prominence that had before the phylloxera.
It has a greater resistance to pests and diseases than the Tempranillo variety. It produces a bright red coloured must, an important acidity, a pleasant and very peculiar aroma; It is the most aromatic of all our varieties. It is interesting to increase the knowledge about this variety before a predictable increase of its surface in our denomination in the next years.
The synonyms collected in the ampelographic collections around the world are the following: Bastard Nero, Bordelais, Cagnolale, Cagnovali, Negro, Cagnulari, Cagnulari Bastard, Cagnulari Sardo, Caldaredou Caldarello, Cargo Muol, Couthurier, Graciano Red, Gros Negrette, Minustello, Morrastel, Tinta do Father Antonio, Tinta Miuda, Tintilla, Xerez, Zinzillosa.
Its cultivation occupies 15% of the total surface area, making it the main white variety cultivated in Rioja. It is recognized its Spanish origin.
This variety presents a small number of clusters but of large size. It is more productive than the red varieties and its fruit is susceptible to rot. In cool areas it produces an acidic must, pleasant and of particular flavor.
Its wine is considered very suitable for ageing in wood, which constitutes a traditional way of elaborating the white wine of Rioja.
The synonyms found are the following: Alcannon, Forcalla, Gredelin, Lardot, Macabeo, Macabeu, queue de Renard, Ross.
It occupies 127 hectares, representing 0.25% of the cultivated area of the denomination. The Malvasia, in general, comes from Asia minor and was introduced early in Europe. There are many malvasias in the world, but they are not considered synonyms of the Malvasia de Rioja.
The cluster is reddish-yellow in ripening, which gives rise to some of the synonyms for which it is known in Rioja. The fruit is susceptible to rot. It produces an interesting must, endowed with unctuosity and special aroma. The possibilities in Rioja are not well known because of the little area that is cultivated.
The only Sinonima accepted internationally is that of Sibirat Parent, but in Rioja it is known others that allude to the color of the ripening cluster as Redl, white red and Blanquirroja.
It is the variety that less surface occupies all the authorized in Rioja with 44 hectares, which represents 0.09% of the Riojan vineyard. It is recognized its Spanish origin and may come from a mutation of Garnacha Tinta.
It is a rustic variety and very similar in its behavior to the Garnacha Tinta. It produces an alcoholic wort and, cultivated in fresh, pleasant and acidity-friendly areas. Nor is it a sufficiently known variety in Rioja because of its scarce significance.
The synonyms registered in the Ampelographic collections from all over the world are the following: Alicante Blanca, Garnacha, Grenache Blanc and Lanca saddle.
The new varieties
It presents a small and compact cluster, as well as also small berries. Very sensitive to Botrytis, sprouting is late, but maturation is precocious. As for the parameters of the wine, its intensity of color and content in anthocyanins are high, has a high acidity and average probable degree. The sensory analysis highlights its violet-red color; Aromas of vegetal character typical varietals, with a predominance of green peppers and also balsamic and spices; Palate structured in which it stands out the acidity and astringency, with medium persistence. As it is not cultivated anywhere else in the world, its cultivation is very interesting to increase the originality, differentiation and diversity of Rioja wines.
This variety comes from a natural genetic mutation from a single branch of a red Tempranillo grape, located in 1988 in an old vineyard of Murillo del Río Leza (La Rioja). The cluster is medium sized and loose, with the berry also medium and slightly crushed. The sprouting is late and the Envero and ripening early. The total acidity remains elevated, emphasizing the high content of malic acid. Its wines have a high concentration in volatile compounds with fruity aromas. In the analysis Organoleptic presents an excellent quality, as the Tempranillo ink from which it comes. A greenish yellow color, the aroma is described as a characteristic varietal, intense fruity to plantain, citrus and tropical fruits, and also floral and terpénico. Its palate is balanced, with structure and medium-long persistence. It doesn't exist anywhere in the world.
It is the oldest variety of which one has written knowledge in Rioja, since it is already quoted in 1622. It is a fairly fertile variety with small cluster, also small and elliptically shaped berry. It has also proved to be precocious at all stages of development. It presents the disadvantage of its high sensitivity to botrytis. The most notable characteristics of the Maturana Blanca variety are its low pH and high acidity, with a high content of tartaric acid and low potassium. These characteristics compensate for the high degree that this variety can reach. In the analysis organoleptic presents very good valuation. Maturana Blanca wines have been described as yellow-green; Fruity aromas of apples, plantains and citrus fruits, as well as herbaceous notes; Palate light, but balanced, with a feeling of acidity and mild bitterness final, with medium persistence.
It is frequent the confusion of the name Turruntés with the Galician variety Torrontés and it has nothing to do with the variety cultivated in Argentina. According to DNA analyses the only similar variety would be the largest existing albillus in Castilla-León. The cluster is medium and compact in size, with medium and spherical berries, and the most exposed when maturing acquire a golden color with dark spots. It is of early sprouting and ripening. The degree is low and the high acidity, with low pH and high concentration in tartaric acid and low in potassium. The wine is described in straw-yellow colour with greenish tones; Fruity aromas with predominant apple notes, also highlighting its vegetal and somewhat herbaceous character; Light palate, with acidity and bitterness, as well as medium-short persistence.
It is the best known variety in the world, equivalent to the Cabernet in the Reds, the most cultivated for quality white wines in the world. Of Borgoñón's origin, it is also known with the names of "Morillon Blanc", "Beaunois", "Weisser"... Although "Chardonnay" is the most internationalized. The vines are not very productive, with small or medium-sized clusters, which produce fine wines and aromatic intensity, yellow with greenish reflections. Its high dry extract and low oxidation level make this variety suitable for ageing in barrels.
It is a variety that is part of the international cast of varieties of quality of white wine, considered after the Chardonnay the finest variety among whites of French origin. Its cluster is very small, compact and winged, with very short peduncle. Small berry of spheroidal form, skin of medium consistency and yellow-green color. A consistent pulp with a high aromatic intensity. Small Orbiculada and bulging leaf. The underside of the limbo is fuzzy, in ball. It produces elegant, dry and acidic wines.
Native variety of the Rueda denomination of origin, it is the Spanish white variety that has undergone a greater development. Small cluster, visible peduncle and medium-small berry with short elliptical shape, thick skin of green-yellow color and orangey pulp. The leaves are orbicularis dark green with some glitter. The aroma and taste of the Verdejo has nuances of grass of low mount, with fruity touches of feeling slightly sweeteneded by its potent alcohol and counterbalanced with its excellent acidity. The extract is perceptible by its volume and its characteristic bitter touch, which projects in the mouth a gleam of originality, accompanied by a great fruity expression.