he Control Board has given the 2012 Rioja vintage the official rating of ‘VERY GOOD’. The global rating reflects the heterogeneous nature of the vintage. The drought affected both grape volume and grape quality in some vineyards but also resulted in a significant quantity of wine of extremely high quality, in line with the wines of the two previous vintages, both rated ‘excellent’.
In general, Rioja’s vineyards showed good canopy growth and health throughout the growing season. Phenological development was normal in terms of dates compared to the average of the last few years. Although fertility rates were lower than those of the last two seasons, they were still within normal values for the grape varieties of the D.O.Ca. Rioja. The continuing drought that has affected the Region in the past two years curtailed the production of part of those vineyards located in drylands. In late August grape ripening was normal, with average values for hat time of the year.
After a growing cycle beset by drought, the late September rains had a significant impact, with a very positive effect on ripening, improving final berry balance and raising hopes about final production figures for a large part of Rioja vineyards. Most of the harvested grapes were in excellent health with a great balance between alcohol content and polyphenols, leading to wines of superb quality, with good polyphenolic structure , particularly suited for ageing in barrels and laying down for a long time.
Another reason behind the positive outcome of the 2012 vintage was the professionalism of growers and wineries in scheduling the harvest, given the uneven ripening found among different plots, which required selective harvesting to ensure the best quality was obtained from each vineyard. The total production volume of the 2012 harvest in Rioja came to 354.9 million kg of grapes —one of the lowest yields per hectare of the last two decades (5,710 kg/ha) and a significant drop compared to the 387 million kg harvested the previous year.