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Rioja

Rioja is just one of many Spanish wines and it is named after the river, Rio Oja which runs through the Oja Valley in the province of La Rioja in northern Spain. The wine producing region runs for 120 kilometres down either side of the river. There are seven types of grapes used in making Rioja. Four are used for the red variety, which makes up 80% of all production. Three are used for the white variety, which is another 10%. The final 10% is rosé. The classic red Rioja is most well known style. There are four categories of classification for red Rioja wine. The youngest takes the simple title of "Rioja". This particular wine spends less than one year in the oak aging barrel process. The "Crianza" is the second youngest, aged for at least two years, one of which is in oak. "Rioja Reserva" is aged for at least one year in oak and two further years and the last of the classifications is the "Rioja Gran Reserva" requiring two years in oak and a further three in the bottle although the latter two wines are not always produced on an annual basis. The rosé version of Rioja is fresh and strong, but has a lighter weight to it. Garnacha grapes are predominantly used for rosé. Rioja Blanca has a light, fine aroma and flavour. These white wines are made primarily with the Viura grape.