On the Trail

RIOJA VINTAGE GUIDE

Click on each vintage to see what we currently have in stock on our main website:

  • 2015 - Everyone absolutely adores the 2015 vintage in Rioja, and most of Europe as a whole.  It’s reminiscent of the clamor that surrounded the legendary 2010 vintage in Bordeaux and Italy.  Rioja saw plenty of sun and just enough water to set the tone for a potential knockout vintage.  By all accounts it looks like 2015 could give 2005 and 2010 serious a run for their money. 

 

  • 2014 - Similar to the difficult yet successful vintage of 2013, 2014 had to contend with the elements but saw more warmth down the home stretch.  It’s seen as a very drinkable vintage in the near to mid-term.  We advise you to drink your ‘14s while waiting for the spectacular ‘15s to develop in the cellar.

 

  • 2013 - The growing season in Rioja in 2013 was rather complicated. From rain to hail, many villages in and around the area were hit hard with both.  Despite the spats of ominous weather, the vintage produced some wonderfully aromatic wines.  For those with old-world palates and appreciate leaner wines, this classically styled vintage is tailored for you.   A very strong vintage for whites and value appeal across the board.

 

  • 2012 - 2012 marked the fifth straight vintage marked by arid heat and low yields. This year however, sporadic rain fell in the weeks leading up to harvest which substantially increased the water tables.  Despite the pattern of heat in 2012, alcohol levels remained under control and virtually no wines wound up stewed or flabby.  Overall one of the best vintage in years.

 

  • 2011 - 2010 was followed by another successful vintage in 2011.  While it wasn’t compared to the great 2005 vintage as often as 2010, it was another dry, sunny vintage that produced a line of powerful and ripe reds.  Due to the heat in 2011 maintaining acid levels in certain regions was an issue, leading to some inconsistencies in warmer regions such as Rioja Baja.  However by and large, the vintage was another home run.

 

  • 2010 - Nearly every winegrowing region in Europe enjoyed massive successes in consecutive vintages with 2009 and 2010.  There were many parallels between ’09 and ’10 in the growing season in Rioja – warmer conditions and no major storms.  Lighter styled Crianzas were drinking wonderfully upon their release in 2012 and are largely seen as a forecast for the Riservas and Gran Riservas that will follow.  Excellent vintage as a whole.

 

  • 2009 - A marvelously hot and dry vintage resulted in lower yields and ripe, polished wines from Rioja Alta and the surrounding appellations.  From the onset the overwhelming majority of wines from ’09 were open and aromatic while still capable of further development.   A very strong vintage after a string of good but not great ones.

 

  • 2008 - 2008 is viewed as a step up from a more difficult 2007 vintage, but similarly chocked with expressive, linear styled wines.  2008 is a classic vintage, often boasting leathery, spicy notes as opposed to richer, fleshier flavors that are found in warmer vintages like 2010.   Like its predecessor, 2008 was a very strong vintage for Viura-based whites, many of which age very gracefully.  It’s always advisable to keep an eye out for wines from Rioja Baja if you prefer fleshier styled reds, even in racier vintages such as ‘08.

 

  • 2007 - A cool and protracted growing season gave way to light, fresh and aromatic wines for many producers.  Achieving optimal ripeness was the challenge and those who delayed picking were rewarded.  A vintage of vast opportunity in terms of price to quality, there are still many bargains available in the market today. 

 

  • 2006 - Uneven ripening conditions during harvest created some concern for the 2006 vintage.   Rioja’s Regulatory Counsel swiftly addressed and mitigated the matter by implementing yield limitations and mandatory cluster thinning practices (amongst other vineyard management guidelines).  The end result was another strong vintage as a whole; with most wines featuring great purity and flash, these are short to mid-term drinkers – we advise you to open these while waiting for your 2005s to mature.

 

  • 2005 - Rioja enjoyed two consecutive nearly-perfect vintages in 2004 and 2005.   2005 was a shave cooler than 2004 and seem to be ageing slower in turn.  Expect great length (10 – 20 years) from top quality producers, even those that tend to be more forward and modern in style. 

 

  • 2004 - 2004 is a warm, supple vintage that started off cold and rainy.  Low temperatures early in the season stunted fruit growth and created concern.  Thankfully the weather was pristine by mid-September and immaculate conditions carried into harvest.   Rioja Alto fared the best in terms of ubiquitous quality, but there is no shortage of lovely, textured and rich reds throughout the entire region. 

 

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