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Bakewell to Madrid, John and Judd taste some special wines with Conrado from Ontanon

Things are changing in Rioja. New classifications are in place to guarantee the heritage and provenance of their wines. These changes have long been sort after by the wine makers to give their wines a sense of place and belonging, so it is no longer just about the ageing process of Rioja.

These changes prove that individual vineyards, with superior growing practices and lesser wine production percentages, will be regarded more highly than larger companies who produce higher quantities over quality. Not many wineries qualify for these new classifications at present, so you know that wines originating from such bodegas are something quite special.

Last week we were lucky enough to be amongst the first people to taste some of the new wines and styles from this fantastic iconic wine region along with our friend Conrado, Bodegas Ontanon, in Madrid, who explains in our video chat.

The New Classifications

Viñedo Singular

The new Viñedo Singular geographical indication designates wines from particular vineyards or estates and is directly linked to the terroir, terroir which it aims to identify and quantify on the label, tied to the quality requirement that they be excellent wines.

These wines have  strict growing and production guidelines, some of which are as follows:

  • All grapes from a single plot or plots (designated as viñedos singular),
  • Vinified, bottled and stored in the same winery.
  • Minimum age of the vineyard
  • The vineyard must have been owned and been used for viñedos singular production for 10 years continuously by the same family.


Viñedo Municipio.

These wines will have the right to use the name of the town on the label, this has been recognised for almost 20 years; more precisely, since 1999. The new regulation will provide more visibility to this geographical indication.

Grapes can only come from this municipality and vinification, ageing & bottling can only take place in the same.


Viñedo De Zona

This classification recognises the existence of three sub-areas or sub-zones since 1970: Rioja AlavesaRioja Alta and Rioja Baja (now called Rioja Oriental). Under the new zona (zone) term, regulations allow the indication of which of the 3 zones the Rioja comes from on the labels.


'Viño de Pueblo'

Queiron Mi Lugar Vinos De Quel (Village) 2017 £22.50

Rigorous selection of only the best fruit from high altitude vineyards, and from Bodegas Ontañón's new winery in the centre of Quel, has produced one of the new Rioja classifications: a vino de pueblo which can only be produced from family-owned vineyards within a named village. This highly anticipated release does not disappoint.

Quieron Reserva Vinedos Familiares 2011 £32.95

Introducing a wine that has been ten years in the making for Gabriel Pérez Cuevas - celebrating Ontañón's new winery in the centre of Quel and the family's long heritage in this area. A fine expression of only the best Tempranillo and Graciano from this family-owned winery.


All these new classifications enable transparency throughout the regions and provenance to all the wines and exist alongside the old ageing categories (Joven, Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva) Those of you who are our Rioja enthusiasts will enjoy the new classifications and the opportunity to taste wines from these new productions.


Last Updated: 21/05/2020
Author: Sarah Hattersley
Sarah Hattersley

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