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November 23, 2023

The top 10 Rioja wines in the James Suckling ranking

Rioja’s excellence is noted and consolidates its role as a Spanish wine region of national and international reference: Rioja holds 33% of the coveted ranking “TOP 100 Wines Of Spain 2023“, prepared annually by James Suckling, one of the most famous and influential American critics in the world.
Renowned international prescriber James Suckling has an extensive professional track record, with four decades of experience as a wine journalist and critic. Halfway between the United States, Italy, and Hong Kong, he is currently considered one of the most influential wine critics in the world.
See the 10 wines with the highest scores in James Suckling’s ranking:

Marqués de Murrieta Rioja Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial 2012 (100 points)
Castillo Ygay is made exclusively with the best grapes from La Plana, a vineyard planted in 1950 at an altitude of 485 m, an estate that surrounds the Marqués de Murrieta winery located in the Rioja Alta.

Tasting notes
Full and complex nose, featuring aromas of cherry and ripe plum overlaying notes of tea leaves, cedar, and Mediterranean herbs on a background of dried flowers. Defined and deep on the palate, with polished tannins; harmonious and long-lived.


Contino Rioja Viña del Olivo 2020 (98 points)
In 1973 Contino, the first "chateau" of Rioja, was born. The Contino vineyard is integrated around an old manor house, in a meander of the Ebro River in Laserna, a district of the municipality of Laguardia, Rioja Alavesa.

Tasting notes
Ripe red fruit notes on the nose, with a Viña Olivo expression in the glass. Enveloping on the nose and very palatable on the palate. A harmony between silkiness and power is shown on the palate, recalling ripe red fruit with great aging potential.


La Rioja Alta Rioja Gran Reserva 890 2010 (99 points)
One of the best vintages of the XXI century. The keys: a very favorable climate, excellent vegetative and sanitary conditions, and low production yields.

Tasting notes
It stands out for its garnet red color, of medium depth. The nose displays notes of Rioja
classicism: cherry jam, black plum compote, tobacco leaf, cinnamon, vanilla, pepper, and
chocolate. The elegance of its tannins and its freshness give it an elegant and pleasant


Yjar Rioja 2019 (99 points)
YJAR connects us with the incredible effort to recover this historic vineyard. In 1420, the Hieronymite monks abandoned the farm “Granja Ntra Señora de Herremelluri”. From then on, the “Divisa de Ntra Señora de los Ángeles” was managed by the state, and its “Divisero Mayor”was the Duke of Híjar.

Tasting notes
A more fragrant Yjar this year, more spicy and elevated. Chalk, pepper, and mezcal-like
herbs with hints of cedar and cocoa powder along with blueberries. Exquisitely refined
tannins on a medium to full-bodied palate and a long, polished finish (James Suckling).


Muga Rioja Prado Enea Gran Reserva 2016 (97 points)
Prado Enea grapes are always the last to be harvested. This is a careful selection of plots at altitude with high-quality grapes in La Rioja Alta.

Tasting notes
Cherry-red color, the nose shows an elegant set of forest fruits with spices. The entry is silky, with a medium volume and a long and pleasant mouthfeel. Velvety tannins blends with its fresh and integrated acidity. With creamy vanilla notes mixed with fresh fruit.


Granja de Nuestra Señora de Remelluri Rioja White 2020 (97 points)
The Remelluri Blanco 2020 plots are located between 605 and 805m altitude and reflect the complexity of the soils. It is the wine that best explains the character of the vineyard of Granja de Ntra. Mrs. de Remelluri.

Tasting notes
Flinty nose with effusive minerals, crushed stones, and chalk. Salted lemons, fine lees, and a touch of sour cream. Really bright and expressive, but intense. Long and appetizing finish. A lot of purity. Drink now or save (James Suckling).


Bodegas Roda Rioja Roda I Reserva 2019 (97 points)
The exhaustive knowledge of the vineyard and its meticulous care, allows us to interpret its needs and obtain unique wines. Roda I is assembled by the vineyards that have matured that year with the sensation of black fruit.

Tasting notes
Depth and exuberance. Fine spices, black plums, blackberries, and blueberries. Broad,
upright, and full-bodied, but still fluid and linear. The tannins grow on the palate, leading to a long, juicy finish (James Suckling).
More information (wine soon available)


Bodega Lanzaga Rioja Tabuérniga 2020 (97 points)
Tabuérniga is a small, vertical valley that has allowed the varieties to develop a different expression. Sober and austere, but full of depth and elegance. At an altitude of 540 to 63O meters, these narrow historic terraces, cultivated organically and respecting tradition, offer a superb wine experience.

Tasting notes
A complex and nuanced Tabuérniga, with a touch of white pepper to minerality, fresh
berries. The palate is vertical and powerful, with fine tannins. Spacious but refined. Drinking Now (James Suckling).


López De Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Bosconia 2012 (95 points)
Viña Bosconia wines come from the estate called El Bosque situated on the banks of the Ebro River, at an altitude of 410 m (1,410 ft). The vineyards are about 40 years old, planted on slopes and facing south, which makes the sunshine and accumulation of daylight hours perfect for the ripening of the clusters.

Tasting notes
Aromas of berries, oranges, iron, and hints of walnut, tobacco, and mushrooms. Fine tannins with high acidity on the palate with juicy berries and a long, citrusy finish. A touch of tertiary caramel character makes it very complex and complete. Drink now or in the next 10-15 years (James Suckling).


CVNE Rioja Imperial Gran Reserva 2017 (97 points)
A Riojan classic, it was born in the 1920s. Imperial is only made when exceptional vintages are produced. Our best vineyards located in Rioja Alta are used for the production of Imperial Gran Reserva.

Tasting notes
Intense layer of bright garnet color. On the nose, we discover licorice, forest fruits, and aromas of clove, coffee, cigar leaf, chocolate, and caramel, in balance. The entry on the
palate is fine and elegant, housing a deep passage that envelops the palate. The friendly tannin and finish with a bit of acidity provide a long and complex retronasal finish.

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