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Rioja Consejo set to change its rules

The governing body of Rioja will soon change its stance on labelling, allowing for village names to appear on the front, according to a producer in the region.

Matías Calleja of Beronia
Matías Calleja of Beronia

Speaking to the drinks business during a visit to London this week, Matías Calleja, winemaker at the González Byass-owned Beronia said:

“I think the Consejo Regulador will soon come to an agreement over allowing village names of Rioja labels. Things have to evolve and there is space for everyone and all ideas within the DO.

“It’s important that the new labelling system is regulated though, to ensure that all of the fruit comes from the village on the label. Everything has to be done with the final consumer in mind – it is they who should be benefitting most from this in order to better understand the huge diversity within Rioja.”

While Calleja believes that “everything begins and ends with terroir” and the “true philosophy of a wine is linked to the land”, he also feels complexity in wine can come from blending, not just a single site.

“I’m searching to bring out the essential essence in my grapes in order to make the best wines possible, but sometimes single sites aren’t the best thing for a wine – in some years you can make a better wine through blending,” he told db.

“In Rioja, it’s about striking the right balance between fruit and oak. Some people might view us as a modern producer as we prioritise fruit over oak,” added Calleja, who seeks out vintage variation in his wines in order to reflect the nuances of each year.

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