top of page

Rioja - Spain's Most Iconic Wine Region

Located in the northwest of Spain, Rioja is one of the oldest denominations in the country. One of the world's most recognizable wine regions Rioja has been creating Tempranillo and Viura based wines in the styles we know for well over 100 years and grapes have been planted there since the Middle Ages with wine having been exported to other regions since the 13th Century! Today it is the perfect intersection of tradition and modernity with a range of styles able to appeal to almost any occasion.

One key characteristic of the wines of the Rioja DOCa is that they are aged at the winey and released when the winemaker feels they are best ready to drink. This saves the consumer from having to purchase and cellar the wines themselves. They are also a great way to enjoy back vintage and older wines at very reasonable prices. We currently have Rioja wines dating back to 2010 for under $40.00 a bottle. Not too many regions can offer that kind of value and quality!

Tempranillo plantings dominate across the three sub-regions accounting for nearly 75% of all plantings and 88% of red plantings. Finding varietal bottlings of the other grapes - Garnacha, Maturna Tinta, Gracinao, Mazuelo - can indeed be difficult! White grapes account for only 8% of plantings and those Viura is 69%. Whites fall into two styles - youthful and refreshing unbaked versions with white flowers and citrus fruit characteristic or the more traditional barrel aged versions with much more complexity coming from age and wood contact with notes of tropical fruit, lush stone fruit, vanilla and toast. Truly special examples of white wine. Rosado production is also growing and are often blends of Tempranillo and Garnacha.

For our May Spring Savings flier, on offer from May 13 - 19 we are featuring a selection of our favourite Rioja DOCa wines. Four distinctly different styles are available to give you an opportunity to really discover the wines the Rioja.

Family winery Bodegas de la Marquesa Valserrano has been in Rioja Alavesa since the mid-1800s and is currently run by the great - grandson of the founder with the 5th generation preparing to take over. Focused on quality in the vineyard and nurturing the best fruit possible the wines from Valserrano are great representatives of their land. The Valserrano Blanco ($17.95) is comprised of predominantly Viura from 30 year old vines from the wineries highest elevations of plantings. Grapefruit, elderflower, sage and peach skin characteristics with balance and elegance. The Valserrano Crianza ($17.95) is 90% Tempranillo and 10% Mazuelo (aka Carignan) with 16 months aging in a blend of French and American oak. Crianza is the most youthful category of aged Rioja and this wine exhibits the strawberry and cinnamon spice characteristic of the style with a palate that is fresh, juicy and structured.

From the Baron de Ley/ El Coto family we will have the Baron de Ley Rosado ($13.95) and the El Coto Garnacha ($16.95). New to Alberta the Rosado is a blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha grapes. Fresh fruity and full of red fruit this is delicious and super easy to drink - a perfect #roseallday option! The Garnacha from El Coto is such a great find, one of the few varietal Garnacha bottlings available in Alberta. Made with fruit from then Los Almendros vineyard this is textbook Garnacha (Grenache), fresh and bright with lots of red fruit juiciness and some cocoa and coffee bean from 12 months of aging.

We love Rioja DOCa here at City Cellars so we hope you can get a chance to come in and take advantage of these great deals on some wonderful wines and discover the region yourself! Any questions please reach out to - we will be happy to help!

60 views0 comments


bottom of page