Three leading prescriptors have recently coincided in their praise of the D.O. Ca. Rioja: Eric Asimov, of the New York Times, Jay Miller, Parker's "palate" for Spanish wines and José Peñín, author of Spain's most influential wine guide. Asimov said that "no other category of Spanish red wine is as consistently satisfying and as good a value as Rioja Crianza," considering it one of the best values in the world.
After a week in Rioja tasting close to a thousand wines, Jay Miller confessed that he had been impressed by the Rioja Reservas and Gran Reservas, describing very graphically that he had tasted a wine of his own age (1945 vintage) and found it better than him. The most salient conclusion of Spanish wine critic José Peñín's tasting is the high level of quality that he found in Rioja wines as a whole, perceiving a spectacular improvement in the quality of a large number of wineries, something he had not found in other wine regions, where differences are more noticeable.
The prestige of Rioja Wine among consumers has always been associated to the barrel-aged wine categories. Despite certain globalising trends, Rioja has remained faithful to its strategy and maintained a unique style that is based on its traditional grape varieties —particularly Tempranillo— ageing in oak barrels, and elegance and finesse as the wines' prevailing traits. Just as consumers have rewarded Rioja’s insistence in remaining faithful to its own style, the major international opinion leaders now recognise these great values of Rioja, defending the classic Rioja Reservas that were being unfairly overshadowed by fashions and which occupy a place of honour in the history of Spanish wine.
He considers that all Rioja Crianzas have exceptional value and that among Spanish wines, there is no category that gives better value for money than the Rioja Crianzas.
The traditional Rioja style has no comparison with any other and offers some marvellous wines which, in Miller’s opinion, also allow us to keep them in our cellar. He said that if he were a young wine enthusiast with limited resources, this would be one of the wine regions where he would put his money.
“I find a high level of quality in Rioja wines as a whole, with a spectacular improvement in the quality of a large number of wineries —something I have not found in other wine regions, where differences are more noticeable.”
He considers that few wine regions in the world offer better quality and value than Rioja.