CIEE Alcalá- Fall 2012- Fausto Zamora: La Rioja red wine.
Next month Fall 2012 CIEE students and Staff are going to visit LA RIOJA. So, I want to give you some clues related to La Rioja wine.
La Rioja is a small area, but is the richest in production of table wines in Spain and has gained a world-wide reputation in the past few years. It is divided into sub-areas: Rioja Baja, Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa.
- Rioja Baja produces fruity, full-bodied wines of higher alcoholic content than the other two areas.
- Rioja Alta is the area known for one-year old red wines, calledañadas and for reservas, which are wines aged for at least two years in a barrel, plus one year in bottles. These are highly aromatic wines, balanced and with a flavor that cannot be mistaken. White wines, best drank young are also produced in this area.
- Rioja Alavesa is an area that produces young red wines.
As we mentioned, this area produces some truly high quality wines, called special reserves. They come in three categories, depending on the length of time that they have been left to mature:
Wines are aged for a period of at least one year in a barrel, then stored in bottles for one more year. As a rule, Crianzas are made from grapes of the third, fourth or fifth crop.
These wines are aged for at least two years in the barrel, then one additional year in the bottle.
Aged for at least three years in oak barrels, then one year in bottles in the underground cellars famous in La Rioja, called calaos.
There's a social tolerance for wine consumption and the atmosphere in which drinking is done - in bars, restaurants, with friends and family - is usually relaxed and more suited to slower drinking than in some other countries. It is rare to see alcohol-fuelled violence. You only have to go out at night in Alcalá to see that, generally, wine is well under control.