Rioja confirms 2018 vintage classification

The 2018 harvest has been officially classified as a ‘Good’ vintage by the Regulatory Board of Rioja DOCa.

According to the Consejo Regulador’s report, the vintage was marked by unpredictable weather conditions, which although they didn’t have a big impact on the overall quality level, nonetheless led to uncertainty in the vineyard and the occasional threat of mildew.

The trade body added that the unpredictable weather conditions meant diligence was needed in the vineyard to maintain the health of the grapes, highlighting the importance of continued work in the winery to keep quality levels high.

The report said: “Among the characteristics that define the average profile of the wines from the 2018 harvest, whose average alcohol level is slightly lower than in previous years, of particular note is the refined quality of the reds which possess intense and vivid colours, as well as a harmonious palate.”

Every year, the Rioja authorities classify the previous years’ harvest, which involves an expert panel tasting their way through over 5,000 different samples.

As a result of the 2019 process, 332.64 million litres of wine from the 2018 harvest obtained the right to be certified as DOCa Rioja (28.94m litres white, 16.37m L pink and 287.33m L red).

The Plenary Committee of the Regulatory Body was also keen to underline the great quality of the white wines of the vintage, in particular the character and personality of the indigenous varieties of Rioja.

Innovation has been at the forefront of the Rioja region in recent times. The new regulations introduced by the DO in 2017 included a designation for sparkling Rioja (independent of Cava), and a single-vineyard classification. Meanwhile, sales of white and rose Rioja continue to rise in the UK market.

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