2018 has been a year of change for Rioja, Spain’s flagship wine region. The Denominación de Origen Calificada Rioja has been busy introducing its new brand identity and global strapline – “Saber Quién Eres”, or “Know Who You Are” – to its domestic and foreign markets. Rioja will also host a tasting in Dublin on November 12 where it will introduce the 10x10 concept to Ireland, a tasting featuring 100 Rioja wines selected across 10 different stylistic categories to highlight the best of what the region has to offer.
The Irish market is on the cusp of breaking into Rioja’s top 10 export markets, overtaking Mexico for 11th place at the close of 2017 according to the Consejo Regulador DOCa Rioja. Between January and August 2018, Rioja exports to the Republic of Ireland have increased by 17.2% in volume and 24.3% in value. The region wants to show its commitment to the Irish market by continuing its annual trade tasting, launched in 2017.
The Rioja 10x10 tasting features 100 Rioja wines which have been blind tasted and selected by a panel of expert judges under the guidance of co-chairs and Rioja experts, Tim Atkin MW and Sarah Jane Evans MW. This year’s selection features nearly 60% wines with Ireland-based importers, the remaining 40% seeking entry into the market. The wines will be showcased in a free-pour setting on Monday November 12 at The Dean Hotel between 11.00am – 2.00pm. A masterclass, hosted by The Irish Times wine writer, John Wilson, will follow from 3pm – 4pm.
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Wilson’s masterclass will touch on the legislation changes introduced in Rioja in 2017. These include the approval of 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.
Jose Luis Lapuente, Director, Consejo Regulador DOCa Rioja, commented, “The current ageing categories are the key success of Rioja. Rioja is constantly improving, reviewing its definitions and strengthening what it currently offers with new geographical indications. The goal of the new legislation is to highlight the unique origin of the terroir in Rioja, recognise its diversity, and to continue to establish quality requirements which assure the high standard of its wines.”
The Rioja trade tasting in Ireland is also an opportunity for the region to introduce the new global message which seeks to maintain Rioja’s leadership in Spain and growth in foreign markets. The concept, “Saber Quién Eres”, directly translates as “Know Who You Are”. Also key to the new messaging is a series of illustrations by Riojan artist Carlos Corres, each having been painted with wine from grapes native to Rioja including Tempranillo, Garnacha, Mazuelo, Maturana and Graciano.
Ricardo Aguiriano, Marketing Director for the Consejo Regulador DOCa Rioja, explained, “'Saber Quién Eres' is 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.”
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