Decanter Announces Results of Groundbreaking Rioja Viñedos Singulares Panel Tasting

Decanter, the world’s leading wine media platform, unveiled the results of its highly anticipated Rioja Viñedos Singulares panel tasting. This exclusive tasting assessed the rising stars of Rioja, focusing on wines classified under the new Viñedos Singulares designation, which celebrates exceptional single vineyard sites.

Rioja Viñedos Singulares
Source: Decanter

A New Era for Wine: Rioja Viñedos Singulares

Introduced in the 2017 harvest, the Viñedos Singulares category marks a significant shift in Rioja’s focus, highlighting the unique terroir of specific vineyards. Decanter’s tasting, featuring wines from the first five vintages, provided a fascinating glimpse into this exciting new era for Rioja.

Renowned Panel Delivers Unforgettable Tasting Experience

The tasting panel comprised Beth Willard, a leading figure in Spanish and Eastern European wine sourcing, Matthew Forster MW, a renowned wine consultant and educator, and Pierre Mansour, Director of Wine at The Wine Society. These esteemed experts blind-tasted 48 wines, awarding three “Outstanding” and 20 “Highly Recommended” accolades.

Exceptional Wines Reflecting Terroir and Tradition

The top-scoring wines exemplified the core strengths of the Viñedos Singulares designation. Judges praised the wines’ clear varietal character and unwavering sense of place. For instance, the Garnacha-dominant blend from Quiñón de Valmira showcased the variety’s signature red cherry fruit, while the 90-year-old vine Garnacha from Tronco Negro embodied the old-vine concentration demanded by the category.

Decanter offered a comprehensive overview of the tasting results, including:

  • Breakdown of scores (Outstanding, Highly Recommended, etc.)
  • Entry criteria for the Viñedos Singulares classification
  • Insights from the judges on the tasting experience and emerging trends

Entry criteria: producers were invited to submit up to two current release wines, red and / or white, classified as ‘Vino de Viñedo Singular’ as per the regulations of DOCa Rioja

Demystifying Rioja’s Newest Classification

Focus on Exceptional Vineyards: Introduced in the 2017 harvest, Rioja Viñedos Singulares represents a shift in Rioja’s focus from aging time to vineyard origin. This classification highlights wines produced from unique and exceptional single vineyard sites.

Strict Criteria: To qualify for Rioja Viñedos Singulares, a wine must meet several strict criteria, including:

  • Vine Age: Vineyards must be at least 35 years old.
  • Yield: Yields must be at least 20% lower than the average for the Rioja DOCa region. This ensures concentrated fruit character in the grapes.
  • Hand-Harvesting: Grapes must be harvested by hand, ensuring careful selection of the best fruit.
  • Second Tasting: The wine must pass a second qualitative tasting in addition to the regular DOCa Rioja requirements.

Expected Quality: Wines under Viñedos Singulares are expected to be of higher quality than those under traditional Rioja classifications. They should showcase a distinct sense of place reflecting the unique characteristics of the specific vineyard.

Explore the Future of Rioja Wines

This write-up from Decanter is a valuable resource for trade professionals to share with anyone interested in learning more about the exciting developments in Rioja. Decanter shares and explores the full tasting results, featuring detailed notes and scores for each wine.

Impact and Future: This classification is still relatively new, but it has the potential to impact Rioja significantly. It allows producers to showcase the diversity of terroir within the region and create wines with a stronger identity. As awareness grows, Viñedos Singulares wines are expected to become increasingly sought-after by wine enthusiasts looking for premium Rioja with a unique character.

From Awards to Education: How Decanter Magazine Guides the Wine Industry

Decanter Magazine, a globally recognized leader in wine media, has significantly impacted the wine industry for decades. Their expert tastings, insightful articles, and in-depth regional profiles guide consumers and trade professionals alike. Decanter’s prestigious awards, like the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA), are highly coveted by producers, influencing consumer choices and shaping market trends. Through their commitment to quality journalism and unwavering dedication to the world of wine, Decanter has become a trusted resource, helping enthusiasts discover new wines and industry professionals navigate the ever-evolving market.

Rioja Viñedos Singulares

Panel tasting results