Rioja starts production of sweet wines for global markets

Wednesday, 14. March 2012 | 08:06 Uhr | RED.YOOPRESS | WINE GROWING DISTRICTS
Reference: DECANTER | Translator: E.RENZIEHAUSEN

SPAIN (Briones / Lapuebla de Labarca) - Two producers from the Rioja region want to revive the tradition of “late vintage wines”. So, the Dinastía Vivanco in Rioja Alta and the Bodegas Loli Casado in Rioja Alavesa are the first estates to dare the com-mercial production of sweet wines called “Vinos Supurados” (dried up wines).

In the traditional production of the suprados in the Rioja region, the grapes are har-vested late, and by means of hot-air oven and dehydration, they develop to raisins over the winter. In principle, this is a technique similar to the techniques applied in the production of the “Passito” in Italy and of the “Vin de Paile” in France. Rafael Vivanco, cellarer at Dinastia Vivanco, wants to make this Spanish technique, which originally comes from Galicia, revive. To achieve this, Mr. Vivanco uses the “El Canti-llo” vineyard, over which the Ebro mists breeze, and which bring a slight botrytis to the red kinds of grapes of Tempranillo, Garciano, Garnacha und Mazuelo.

Rafael Vivanco, who was educated in Bordeaux, allows the wine vinified out of these grapes to ferment and to age in French barrels, and to develop for 12 further months, before it is sold. Those wines show a pale orange color and are being classified as rosé wines.

The Bodegas Loli Casado, which is considered to be a defender of traditional viticul-ture in the Rioja, is trying to produce a “supurado” for the world market, too; however, they are using Viura grapes. “Past October, we allowed a part of the grapes grown on 80-year old vines to dry until to the cold wintertime in our La Llana vineyard”, Loli Casado, a vintner, explains.

In contrast to the Dinastia Vinvano rosé wine, which is - after being ripened - sold at 21 euro on the international market, the white “supurado” from the Bodegas Loli Casado is being labeled as young sweet wine and is being sold at 12 euro.

Thus, both bodegas have stimulated discussion about a change in the production of sweet wine in the Rioja region. By the way, semi-dry white or rosé wines from this wine region have been known all times, but sweet wines out of red grapes is a nov-elty. The producers are now waiting for the changes announced concerning the vini-fication of semi-dry white, rosé and red wines. (red.yoopress)

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