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Iberian Regions


Despite La Rioja's 2 thousand years of wine making history, it was not until the mid 19th century that the region's exceptional potential was unleashed when innovative bodegas (particularly Marquis de Riscal and Marquis de Murrieta, both of which are still important today) began producing wines for aging. When phylloxera devastated Bordeaux in the 1870s, Rioja's vineyards received another impetus as French vintners crossed the Pyrenees in search of land to cultivate. Although the French returned home when Rioja eventually became inflicted with phylloxera, their influence continued. In 1926, Rioja became the first wine region in Spain to be awarded a denominación. Three subzones are recognized: Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Alta, and Rioja Baja. The first two are located at higher altitudes facing the Ebro River and have temperate climates and soils. Both produce balanced and fragrant wines from the noble Tempranillo varietal. Rioja Baja is at a lower altitude, which is hotter and drier. Mostly softer Garnacha wines for everyday drinking are produced in Rioja Baja. While retaining its patrimony of historic bodegas with highly individual winemaking styles, Rioja has recently seen the emergence of a wave of new, more extracted prestige cuvées and a consequent renaissance of worldwide interest in its wines.

View the wines in Frontier's portfolio from Rioja.