It is certainly the best known and most qualified area in Spain for the production of wine . Historical testimonies prove that the production of wine in the Rioja was already practiced since the times of the ancient Romans. The region is located in the northern part of Spain, north of Madrid, therefore the influence of French enology is pretty strong, in particular with Bordeaux, and this has been crucial for the development of its wines. La Rioja is currently the only wine region to which the DOC denomination has been recognized, the highest level of the entire Spanish quality system. A peculiarity of the production of these wines is the long maturation, very long, if compared with the average of other countries, of the wine in oak barrels. While the average suggests times between 2 and 4 years, in Rioja these values are between 4 and 10 years and it is not difficult to even double. Recently there has been a turnaround and some wineries produce red wines aged for 2 or 3 years in cask. This has given rise to 2 distinct styles of wines, the traditional and long aged in cask, with aromas and flavors of vanilla, earthy and soft, and the modern ones with fresher and more fruity flavors and aromas. The region is divided into three zones: the Rioja Alta , the Rioja Alavesa (the best areas) and the Rioja Baja . The main red grape is Tempranillo , which together with Garnacha , Graciano and Mazuelo make up the traditional blend for red wines of the region. Naturally, international varieties such as cabernet are also used and blended, with excellent results.

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