Rioja’s new single vineyard ‘vinedos singulares’ classification has met with a mixed reaction from the trade. Canvassing opinions at Enotria’s ‘Iberian Influencers’ showcase tasting, Imbibe found cautious positivity mingled with confusion about what the new classification actually entailed.
'We won’t stop doing what we do,' said Kirsty Loftus, UK & Ireland area manager for Zamora International, which owns the Rioja giant Ramon Bilbao. '[Vinedos Singulares] is about having versatility and being able to label where wines are from – about how the grapes from a plot can express themselves.'
The Vinedos Singulares classification is likely to include both minimum levels of vine age and maximum levels of yield (as reported in the current issue of Imbibe, but beyond this specifics are still scarce, even in Rioja.
'We don’t know much about how it’s going to happen,' Marcos Eguiren, winemaker at the respected Sierra Cantabria winery told Imbibe. 'Every vineyard has its characteristics, good or bad, depending on who is working them. It will be hard to classify them, and of course most Riojas are a blend from across the region – and they can be very great wines.'
The Vinedos Singulares classification has been on the table in Rioja for a while, and is likely to be approved shortly by the incoming president of the Consejo Regulador, but reports of its actual creation appear to be premature.
'The new president [of the Consejo] will be elected next month, and he will want to go for it,’ said Eguiren. ‘But there’s still a lot of talking to be done. It’s not even clear it will happen.'