JWL Issue #067: A Primer on Rioja

September 3, 2019

Hello Wine Listers!

First up: a favour. Can you help promote The Wine List on Product Hunt? It’s a product announcement platform and the more upvotes you get, the higher the chance of it going viral!

It has launched today, just head to this product page and click the ‘Upvote’ button. Thank you so much.

Box two of The Wine List should be hitting customers on Friday or Saturday of this week. Let me know what you think when you get it.

September is upon us, which means it’s one of the big times of the year for wine trade & press tastings. I’ll be attending a few to hopefully build up a bit more of a catalogue of wines to share with you.

What have you been drinking this week?


Sketta is a stony, dry and slightly bitter orange wine from Sicily (£18 from All Good Beer). Really powerfully rounded, some tannic structure, but importantly – fantastic flavour. Tasted with a few others who thought this was great too.

Francois Raquiellet felt like crowd pleasing red Burgundy when I tried it the other day. This was ripe and fruity, smoky, rounded, with edges of earthy & musky leather. Wow, what a treat. Probably the best red B. I have tasted that you can buy for under £30 (Vin Cognito). I guess everything they say about Mercurey is true.


Love Rioja?

“I love Rioja, what else should I try?”

This is a great starting point. There’s a few things going on with Rioja that are worth exploring.

Tempranillo. The dominant grape in red Rioja, it is often combined with garnacha as both complement each other well. So one starting point would be to hunt down other tempranillo form around the world. Tempranillo is grown in places including other parts of Spain, Argentina, North America, Portugal, and Chile.

Another thing to consider is that Rioja is mostly both oak aged and bottle aged. This gives it certain aroma characteristics of vanilla, earthiness, and then with age, tobacco, leather and more.

I’d try and find an unaged tempranillo to have alongside in a tasting, to see if it’s the grape or the ageing style that you love.

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