In the fine wine world, Rioja is marooned in the ‘good value’ category
As to how the region goes about elevating itself to the ranks of the world’s finest wine, Atkin has a radical suggestion. “Rioja should change the restrictive rules about the way its wines are aged in oak, at least if they’re labelled as crianza, reserva or gran reserva. This is why so many of the outstanding producers prefer to sell their wines as genéricos, eschewing a classification that is based on time in bottle and barrel rather than on quality. The old categories don’t mean much any more.”
On the upside, however, Atkin argues that it is not just at the supermarket level that Rioja offers good value. Even higher up the chain, “the best Rioja remains a comparative bargain” when considered alongside fine wines from other hallowed regions.