Dublin welcomed for the first time the celebrated 10x10 tasting in the Dean Hotel on Monday November 12.
Bringing together a selection of press, importers, buyers and restaurateurs, the tasting of 100 wines across 10 categories revealed the very best of Rioja, as well as a unique insight into current trends in Spain’s flagship region.
The 10x10 concept was born in London in 2015. Wines are entered and blind tasted in one of the ten separate stylistic categories (Unoaked white, Oaked white, Rosado, Crianza, Reserva (€10-€25), Reservas (€25+), Gran Reserva, Generico (€20+), Non-Tempranillo Reds, Women Winemakers), by a panel of 12 expert judges. The top 10 from each category are then selected, creating the definitive 10x10 line up.
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Chaired jointly by Sarah Jane Evans MW and Tim Atkin MW, the tasting offers a fantastic opportunity to learn about the variety available in the region.
A Key Moment
This first edition of the 10x10 tasting comes at a key moment, just as Ireland creeps ever-closer to the score board for leading import markets, overtaking Mexico this year to become the 11th largest market globally. While the UK faces a bleak forecast with wine sales in almost all categories dropping, the Irish market is buoyant, with growth across all styles of wine, and notably the Reserva and Gran Reserva sales which have both more than doubled since 2017.
The Dublin tasting culminated with a masterclass on the region hosted by The Irish Times’ John Wilson who talked participants through changes to the region as well as a tutored tasting of one wine from each category, illustrating the scope of styles, and identifying trends developing in the region currently.
“One Of The Best Celebratory Drinks”
“Rioja has always had a special place in the hearts of Irish wine drinkers”, explains Wilson. “For many, Rioja Reserva is seen as one of the best celebratory drinks, to serve at family lunches and dinner parties. In recent years, interest has expanded to include white wines, Crianzas, and many of the more modern wines. However, further work is needed to expand consumer knowledge beyond the classic styles.
“The tasting offered guests a great opportunity to enjoy a broad range of wines, including many that were not available in the country.”
New Brand Identity
The Rioja region saw many updates to its legislation and brand identity in 2018. Part of its new brand identity came in the form of the strapline Saber quién eres, or Know who you are, along with new indications: Vinos de Zona (Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Oriental), Vinos de Municipio (villages, towns or municipalities), Viñedos Singulares, Espumosos de Calidad de Rioja (sparkling wines), as well as new ageing requirements for Reserva and Gran Reserva wines. The region has also now permitted the production of single varietal white wines.
Ricardo Aguiriano, marketing director for the Consejo Regulador DOCa Rioja, explains Saber Quien Eres as “a concept that connects Rioja wine with consumers in an approachable manner. It is a concept that captures Rioja’s most intrinsic values including tradition, diversity and origin. With this new campaign, Rioja demonstrates that it rises far above short-lived trends.”
“The Perfect Opportunity”
“The Rioja region holds so much […], with the introduction of new single vineyard and sub-regional zones offering the consumer red, white, rosé and even sparkling wine. Rioja 10x10 is the perfect opportunity for the trade to taste all of these exciting styles,” concluded Wilson.
For more information on the Rioja 10x10 tasting as well as high resolution pictures, please email [email protected] or by phone on +44 207 759 7400.
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