Rioja Classifications: know Your Reserva From Your Crianza

Here at Charles Rose Wines we love Rioja. There a few different types when classified by age.

If you have ever wondered about the difference between Reserva and Crianza then let us fill you in!

Oak

There are four classifications of Rioja. The differences centre on how long they have been left to age in oak.

It is impossible to talk about Rioja without mentioning oak.

Oak has been a part of Rioja production for around three centuries and is key in producing a Rioja’s hallmark vanilla flavours.

Originally it was French oak barrels which were used. Increasingly, American oak is now a popular alternative. Many producers use both. How many oak barrels might a winery own? Probably around 10,000… at least!

So, the four classifications of Rioja are as follows.

Rioja

Wines labelled as simply ‘Rioja’ have spent less than a year in an oak ageing barrel.

Crianza

Red wines must have been aged for a minimum of two years.

White and rosé wines must have been aged for at least a year.

For all three types a minimum of six months must be spent ageing in oak.

Reserva

Red wines must have been aged for a minimum of three years with at least a year in oak.

White and rosé wines must have been aged for at least two years with a minimum of six months in oak.

Gran Reserva

Red wines require a minimum of five years of ageing with at least 18 months in oak.

White and rosé wines require at least four years of ageing with a minimum off six months in the bottle.

What do we stock?

We carry our favourite Rioja, a Beronia Rioja Reserva because we believe it is offers the best balance between taste and price. This particular wine is aged in French and American oak for 20 months with a further 18 months in the bottle.

If you have a favourite Rioja then let us know! Get in contact by email or leave a comment.

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