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November 8, 2023 3 Minutes

Winemaking Techniques in Rioja

Over the years, Rioja has embraced winemaking innovation without abandoning its roots. Winemaking in this region is a delicate balance between respect for the centuries-old heritage and the adoption of modern techniques. This results in wines that not only capture the essence of the land, but also reflect the spirit of constant innovation that defines Rioja as one of the most exciting wine regions in the world.

White wine vinification

The production of white wine has become increasingly important in the region in recent years. Here we tell you about the wine making process:

  1. Pressing and maceration: The white grapes arrive at the winery and are gently pressed. In some cases, high quality grapes are macerated with the skins to extract the aromatic components before pressing.
  2. Mosto Flor: Mosto Flor is the result of gravity crushing the grapes, flowing by itself without applying additional pressure. Sulphite is added to the must to protect it from oxidation and contamination.
  3. Cleaning and fermentation: The must is cleaned to remove impurities that cause turbidity, using static or flotation methods. It is then fermented with either selected or natural yeasts in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks for 7 to 20 days.
  4. Crianza: After fermentation, the wine is racked to separate it from the gross lees. Some are kept on the fine lees and the batonnage technique is applied to give them greater volume and a creamy note. In most cases, white wines do not undergo malolactic fermentation, unless the aim is to soften the acidity.

Rioja’s white wines have a meticulous winemaking process and, which translates into a refined and fresh taste experience.

Rosé wine vinification

In Rioja, rosés are a real delight for the senses and are made in two different ways:

  • Direct pressing: In this method, the red grapes are pressed on arrival at the winery, in a similar way to white grapes. The result is a very pale rosé with a delicate aroma, as the must is slightly coloured by the pigments of the grape skins.
    Directly pressed rosés capture the essence of youth and vitality. Obtained by pressing the red grapes gently and delicately, they are dressed in pale, seductive tones that awaken the senses. When you taste them, you experience an explosion of fresh and delicate flavours, as if the very essence of the grape were manifesting itself in every drop.
  • Bleeding: In the bleeding method, the red grapes are destemmed, crushed and then macerated for a certain time. After achieving the desired colour and aromas, the must is ‘bled’ and fermentation proceeds at a low temperature.

When the must is finally extracted, the result is a rosé that offers a sublime freshness and an aromatic complexity that transports you to a fruit garden in full bloom.

The wines are stabilised, clarified and filtered before bottling, ensuring that the wine reaches the market in its full youth, brightness and fruity appeal. Only a very small amount of rosé is aged in barrel and bottle.

Red wine vinification

There are two main methods of making red wine in Rioja:

  • Classic Winemaking: This method involves separating the grape berries from the stems before fermentation. The grapes are destemmed and, in some cases, lightly crushed. Fermentation takes place in fermenting vats where the temperature is controlled. During fermentation, the must is pumped over to extract tannins and colour. The wines obtained are structured and suitable for ageing, reflecting the richness and freshness of the Rioja vineyards.
  • Carbonic maceration: It is an ancient method of winemaking in which whole bunches of grapes become a painter’s palette, creating a magical atmosphere inside the wine press. Fermentation begins inside the grapes, releasing fresh and surprising aromas and flavours. It is a technique that honours the natural freshness of the grapes.
  • Post-fermentation: The finishing touch. After fermentation, our red wines undergo a second fermentation called malolactic fermentation, which softens the wine and makes it more refined. It is then racked to separate it from the pomace before bottling.

So the next time you enjoy a Rioja wine, from the whites that dazzle with their elegance to the reds that immerse us in their diversity, each sip is unique. A toast to the passion of Rioja, where freshness can be found in every corner of its vineyards.

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