Wine Awards Go Virtual
The Master of Wine Tim Atkin has just announced the eagerly awaited and influencial 2021 Rioja Report. The highly detailed report was compliled in 2020 in the middle of the pandemic via hundreds of virtual tastings and presented online via Instagram but this didn’t take away any of the excitement nor the anticipation.
Tim is huge lover of Rioja Wines and the people involved in its production and probably knows more about the sector than many of its own producers.
This year Tim Atkins sent out an encouraging, positive message for Rioja and its future stating that it was in the “good hands”of a group of young winemakers and growers. These experts are acheiving a grand diversity and according to Tim they are creating a level of creativity and quality that is unseen in other winemaking regions in Spain.
Innovation & Tradition
Alongside traditional methods such as crianza, reserva and gran reserva there is now an ever greater variety of wines available. Such as, sulphate-free wine, wines made in clay anphora, carbonic maceration and new tendancies in monovarietal grapes that reflect the varying climates and landscapes of La Rioja DO. An example of which being Miguel Merino’s Mazuelo 2018 which picked up 96 points as well as the prestigious title of Legendary Winemaker going to Miguel Sr. himself.
Climate Change in La Rioja
Climate change is also reflected in Tim’s report as highland areas in La Rioja that were traditionally too cold to produce certain wines, such as Alto Najerilla, Sajazarra or Moncalvillo, are now producing superior quality wines like Ojuel’s Supurao 2018, 95 points.
Regarding the classification of wines, there is the recently created category of Singular Vineyards. These are vineyards that are a minimum of 35 years old, with low production, manually harvested and the wines achieve high marks in a double organoleptic test. Sínodos Los Tollos 2017, 95 points is a perfect example of a Singular Vineyard.
Best Value Rioja Red 2021 goes to Zinio’s Sancho Garcés Crianza 2017
This year Zinio Winery picked up the Best Value Rioja Red Wine 2021 and we’re thrilled that Zinio have recently joined up to offer their virtaul tastings on the platform and will be available really soon. So keep your eyes peeled.
Rioja’s first 100 points from Tim Atkin
The big news to come from the Rioja Report this year was about a white wine. Whilst La Rioja is internationally famous for its red wines most of its whites don’t often come into consideration. This is a real shame as there are many hidden gems as shown by the first Rioja wine to pick up 100 points, Viña Tondonia’s Blanco Gran Reserva 2001 as well Miguel Merino’s White 2015, 95 points.
On the Verge of Greatness
The overall message that Tim wanted to give was one of unity. A call for the Riojan winemakers to work together to make the area one of the elite winemaking regions in the world. In turn this would mean being able to set higher market value as todays prices do not refelct the quality of the region’s wines. Tim concludes that now is the moment to invest in Rioja’s wines and has added that 2019 has been an exceptional vintage. But don’t just take Tim’s word, try some of the winning wines right here on the Tasting IN platform and meet the experts online.
You can buy the full report 2021 here