RIOJA WINES PER CATEGORY
The Rioja Control Board establishes four categories according to the wine ageing process, that are differenced by four models of numbered back labels or seals given to those wines that comply with all their quality requirements and that are not only a document that guarantees the category of ageing but that also are a guaranty of origen, vintage and the quality of the wine.
Young: wines in their first or second year which maintain all their fresh and fruity characteristics, although this category may also include wines under ageing processes that do not fit into the categories of Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva.
Crianza: wines that are at least in their third year that have remain a minimum of one year in cask. For white wines, a minimum of 6 months in cask.
Reserva: selection of wines that have been aged for three years at leas,t with a minimum of one year in cask. For white wines an ageing period of two years with at least 6 months in cask.
Gran Reserva: selected wines from exceptional vintages that have spent a minimum of two years in cask and three years in bottle. For white wines, a minimum of 4 years of ageing with at least one year in cask.
There are people that buy Crianza wine thinking that keeping it for long time at home can became a Reserva. This is far from being the case. The wine acquires its category according to the months that have been in cask during its elaboration process.
The ageing of Rioja wines is carried out in oak barrels in which wine evolves, gaining at the same time aroma and flavour given by the cask; afterwards finalized with its time in bottle where it reaches full maturity before going to market.