In the Rioja region the favourable conditions of 2018 produced one of the largest harvests of the past decade, resulting in balanced classic styled Rioja wines with great bouquet and good ageing potential.
The 2019 summer was extremely hot, and the yields are predicted to be reduced considerably on the 2018 harvest, but vineyards are generally reporting great quality.
While visiting Bodegas Ontañón’s vineyards near the village of Quel in Rioja Oriental, Raquel Perez explained, “Due to the intense heat in the last few months, the grape sizes are smaller than normal, this allows good air circulation through the grape bunches, all the grapes are very healthy” said Raquel, something we witnessed when she showed us the tempranillo and granacha vines in their La Pasada and El Arca vineyards. “We will see a big decrease in yields, the quality is exceptional, it could be our best vintage in decades” commented Raquel.
Alicia from Bodegas Macaya in the Basque region of Navara, also is experiencing lower yields but great quality. On our visit we tasted the first white wine produced by the winery and it was exceptional quality/price. Keep an eye out for it soon on our shelves.
The harvest in both Rioja and Navara is planned for the next couple of weeks, resulting in a flurry of activity in the wineries to get the wines into the tanks for the first fermentation and what seems for now like an exceptional vintage.