8 Best Wines from Rioja In Our Latest Issue

Luis Gutiérrez’s ominously titled, “Wind of Change,” featured in the latest Wine Advocate Issue, is the largest Rioja report to date, featuring a whopping 720 wines tasted. 

“A lot has happened since I last wrote about Rioja back in August 2016: there were changes in regulations, with new categories approved for wines from the 2017 vintage onward for single vineyard (viñedos singulares) and village wines (vinos de municipio)” says Gutiérrez. “The three subzones have been upgraded to ‘zones’ and given more relevance. The appellation now also includes white and rosé sparkling wines produced by the traditional method of second fermentation in bottle. Rioja Baja has been renamed Rioja Oriental; there are more and more whites (and they are getting better); Garnacha has definitively come out of its shell; Graciano varietals keep increasing… There are also a number of new names, and some of the old timers are making better wines than ever. The wind of change.”

Check out the top eight wines featured in his mammoth report, all rated 97 points and higher: 

“This is the most classical among the wines in the portfolio, the one with the longer élevage, a little bit like the wines from yesteryear but with today's knowledge about vineyards and vinification/élevage.”

“It's intense, pungent, ripe without excess, with aromas of spices, exotic woods, balsam, earth, wild flowers and berries.”

“Sitting at the top of the hierarchy, the 2014 Viña El Pisón is a wine that always stands out.”

“It's somehow austere, with umami/mineral sensations and nicely textured.”

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“It's not very clear yet, but I believe this is a better wine than the 2015.”

“It could be one of the finest recent vintages of El Pisón, in a slightly different style.”

“The nose is nothing short of phenomenal, open and complex with tons of flowers, red fruits, wild herbs and subtle spices.”

“This is truly a world-class wine.”

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