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Rioja

This region is popularly known for its red wines. With several revolutions over the years, Rioja region has witnessed a broad sylistic revolution over the years. This revolution started from the long, oak-barrel-ageing of the 19th century to the present vogue for wines made from special vineyard plots using minority varietals e.g Graciano. An outstanding success in this region is the flagship grape of Rioja, the noble Tempranillo, which is used to create delicious reds and blended with other regional grapes like Mazuelo, Garnacha Tinta, and Graciano. The Macabeo is the main white grape, often blended with Garnacha Blanca to create rich dry white wines. Food and wine lovers will be in heaven in Rioja, with soul-satisfying dishes on offer like baby lamb chops roast over grape vines, velvety bean and slightly spicy chorizo stews, sautéed vegetable “menestras” and more. Rioja in Spain, also called La Rioja, is found in the Northern part of the Iberian Peninsula, and near the Ebro river. It is known for its history of dinosaur footprint fossils and fine wines. This area of Spain, named after the river Oja, has over 500 wineries, and hosts various leisure activities such as wine tasting, hot air ballooning, and horse riding . Towns in the region are Logrono, San Millan de la Cogolla, Alfarq, Arnedo and Ecaray. Rioja is the most famous Spanish wine region in the world, situated in the northern part of the country, tracing the River Ebro from the town of Haro to Alfaro. The Rioja wine region is the central point of Spanish wine. The Flagship grape of the region for the red wines is the iconic for the country Tempranillo followed by Garnacha and for the whites Viura and Malvasía. Rioja is the very first Spanish region to be granted DO status (Denominación de Origen) in 1933 and again the first in 1991 to be upgraded to the highest level DOCa status (Deonominación de Origen Calificada). The region's winemaking traditions stretch back to Roman times and have remained almost intact ever since. The wine production prospered between 200 BC and the 6th Century AD and even back then Rioja was one of the most famous places related to wine. Since the 19th century, the Riojan wine experienced a major boost in quality and quantity, mainly because of the arrival of the Bordeaux wine merchants looking for supplies due to the devastating Phylloxera disease in France. They have given the know-how to the Spanish winemakers to blend different grape varieties which complement each other and the usage of the oak barrels, a very strong and long-lasting relationship between Rioja and Bordeaux. There are three main wine-growing sub-regions in Rioja - Rioja Alta, Rioja Oriental and Rioja Alavesa, each one of them has soil type and microclimate that is relatively different. Clay and chalky soils generally prevail in the region, and the climate is continental with slight Mediterranean influence (mainly in Rioja Oriental), generating mild temperatures and more continuous ripening process of the grapes. The Cantabrian Mountain range is very important for the climate in the region, which flank Rioja to the north and west, give shelter from cold and wet influences of the Atlantic Ocean. The region is significantly warmer and drier, because of this natural border and have soils which vary from place to place, with the finest containing higher levels of limestone.

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