The Words “Bumper Crop” Come to Mind
Rioja announces a near-record harvest of top-quality grapes
Let’s get right to it: the 2018 vintage in Rioja will be one for the ages with a yield of 486 million kgs (535,723 tons). Good news for the winemakers is also good news for the rest of us as the vintage is exceptional in terms of both quantity and quality. Picking began on August 27th and ended on November 15th yielding 88% red grapes and 12% white. Wet conditions at the start of the year delayed flowering and fruit set. A dry summer and later arid conditions slowed the production of sugar in the berries and allowed growers to wait and pick at the optimal moment. These conditions also translate to slightly lower alcohol content, more typical of harvests from 30 years ago. Rigorous selection in the vineyards and in the wineries, and the hard work of the growers and bodegas, along with the 200+ specialists and harvest hands working in the Consejo Regulador, also contributed to making 2018 an exceptional harvest.
The 2018 vintage will be remembered as a year producing aromatic wines with balance and freshness.
All of which means that now — and for many years to come — we have a lot to look forward to from Rioja.