01423 566009

Phone number for Harrogate store

The Blog

Traditional White Rioja - Spains rebel white

3 Sep 2019 by Des

Traditional Rioja Blanco is a great European original. 

Put a Traditional Rioja Blanco into a selection of modern whites and it's the odd man out, certainly not reading from the same score. Indeed, novices may point and say "that one's faulty! Modern Rioja Blanco is normally squeaky clean, crisp" (and boring), what a shame.

If Chardonnay is the string section - broad, swoopy, comforting (and Riesling the winds) tradition Rioja Blanco is the Brass, resonant and rousing - Alison Balsom here played by the Marques de Murrieta's Castillo Ygay, and the Lopez Heredia Tondonia Blanco 1987 we had not long since, an old Dennis Brain recording - a classic everyone should be acquainted with.

But diversity is all in Rioja. Many producers favour Russian or Hungarian oak to the traditional American and costly French is firmly in the game too, as in our superb Oscar Tobia blanco. As Tony the importer classifed it " Traditional, with all the mod cons." Dreamy with 5 plus years.

Abel Mendoza produced a blanco blending all 5 native white varieties and it's terrific, unmistakeable. The contributory/complimentary necessity of each is (as with Moutard's excellent 6 cepages Champagne) taken on trust in the winemaker's judgement.

Finca La Emperatriz have an old vine, single vineyard viura that's Traditional Rioja Blanco at a hundred paces and great value. They all are. They age wonderfully too, far longer than White Burgundy for example, so cellar with confidence.