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Rioja Wine Region Featured in Wine Trends of 2020

Yahoo Lifestyle resident sommelier Sarah Tracey shares the wines and wine trends that beverage industry insiders are excited about.

Here’s what to drink throughout the year.

Rioja Wine Shot @brett_jordan
Rioja Wine Shot @brett_jordan

Wine Region to Watch: Rioja

Sommeliers are on a constant search to find the next big wine region worth paying attention to, and this coming year Rioja in northern Spain is set to be in the spotlight. Why? First and foremost, this historic wine region is not simply following tradition—winemakers there are actively innovating to keep up with current trends and consumer tastes (Unlike, say, Bordeaux—whose classification system hasn’t really changed in 160 years). Rioja has long been known for rich, age-worthy reds—but recent updates to local laws last year have enabled wineries to now make wines from single vineyard sites (i.e., the Burgundy model where the focus is truly on the land), to create white wines from international grapes like chardonnay and sauvignon blanc (they used to only allow native Spanish grapes), to make sparkling wines, and even make a more light and delicate style of rosé.

Rioja is also budget-friendly, especially when it comes to white wines and aged reds. White wine lovers shouldn’t miss Finca Allende Blanco Rioja 2015 ($29.99, wine.com), which is comparable in quality to a fine white Burgundy at half the price. And for red wine fans, you’ll be pleased to know that Rioja is one of the easiest wines to shop for thanks to a handy color-coded label system. “Crianza” Rioja wines have a red icon on the back label, signaling that they have been aged for two years with at least one year in oak barrels; and the price will be around $15. Try Bodegas Ontanon Crianza 2016 ($12.99, friartuckonline.com). “Reserva” Rioja has a brown icon on the back label which means it’s aged for three years (of which at least 12 months in oak and six months in bottle) and will cost $15-$30. We like Bodegas Muga Reserva 2015 ($27.99, wine.com). And the top tier, “Gran Reserva” Rioja, is aged a minimum of five years (of which at least 24 months must be in oak and 24 months in bottle) and will cost over $35. Consider trying La Rioja Alta Vina Arana Rioja Gran Reserva 2012 ($45.99, wine.com).

Wine Trends of 2020: Here’s What to Drink Throughout the Year, According to Our Expert
Martha Stewart Living
Sarah Tracey

United States