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Rioja 2018 given the thumbs up from the DOCa despite weather woes

Published:  17 April, 2019

The Rioja vintage for 2018 has been classified as ‘Good’ despite the uncertainty around the impact of unpredictable weather conditions on the region.

The Plenary Committee of the Regulatory Board of Rioja DOCa (Consejo Regulador de la Denominación de Origen Calificada Rioja) made the classification after analysing 5,245 samples.

The sampling is part of the process used by the organisation to benchmark the quality of the wines under the Rioja DOCa classification.

The Regulatory Board of Rioja DOCa said the classification was made as a result of positive progress in the vineyard towards the end of the vegetative cycle.

The vintage was marked by unpredictable weather conditions, which led to uncertainty in the vineyards with the occasional threat of mildew.

The board said that these unpredictable weather conditions meant diligence was needed in the vineyard to maintain the health of the grapes.

The “quality assurance process” involved analysing and tasting all wines destined to be released on the market, it said.

This process started in the fermentation tanks from where the board technicians collected 5,245 samples that were subsequently tasted by 150 professionals.

In total, 332.64 million litres of the 2018 harvest obtained the right to be certificated as wines protected by the DOCa Rioja (28.94 million white, 16.37 million rosé and 287.33 million red).

“The objective of the quality control process is to certify the quality of all the wines to ensure they are an indisputable and honest reflection of the character of the vintage,” said Pablo Franco, director of the control body of the Consejo Regulador DOCa Rioja.

The committee said that wines from the 2018 harvest, have an average alcohol level slightly lower than previous years and added that there was a “refined quality of the reds”.

The body was also keen to underline the “great quality” of the white wines of the vintage, in particular the indigenous varieties of Rioja.

Rioja wines are protected by the oldest designation of origin in Spain, which establishes the borders of the production area, the grape varieties that may be grown, maximum allowable yields, approved vinification and ageing techniques.

The Control Board, which includes grape growers, winemakers and Administration representatives, is the body charged with ensuring compliance with origin regulations to protect the type and quality of Rioja wines.