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Cellar Series: First Growth Rioja

Top-drawer, age-worthy wines from Spain's best region

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Cellar Series: First Growth Rioja
Cellar Series: First Growth Rioja

Time & Location

17 Apr 2024, 19:00 – 21:30

67 Pall Mall, 67 Pall Mall, St. James's, London SW1Y 5ES, UK


The IWFS Capital Branch focused the second in its Cellar Series on top-class age-worthy Rioja. Rioja is widely known as a Spanish wine made mostly from the Tempranillo grape with widespread mass market appeal. In the past several years, the region’s best producers have invested a great deal of energy and effort focusing public attention on the super-premium, terroir-specific wine that the diverse region has produced for centuries. The growing conditions are as varied as in Burgundy and Barolo, resulting in a wide variety of styles and expressions. There are astoundingly good wines that can be cellared for many years, even decades. And they are available at prices that are still far more reasonable than other celebrated wine regions, including Burgundy, Napa Valley, Medoc and Barolo. Every well stocked cellar deserves to have a section dedicated to these outstanding bottles.

The 67 Pall Mall dinner featured a carefully curated selection of top drawer, beautifully aged Rioja wines - one dating back 46 years! Most of the producers are rated by renowned wine critic Tim Atkins MW in his 2024 Rioja Report as First Growths. The Rioja wines were as follows:

2017 Macan - Benjamin de Rothschild/  Vega Sicilia

2008 Remelluri Reserva

2010 Tondonia López de Heredia

2001 Tondonia López de Heredia

1997 La Rioja Alta 904

1988 Imperial CVNE 

1978 Bodegas Riojanas Monte Real

The wines was preceded by a refreshing glass of 2018 Corpinnat Gramona Imperial 2018 sparkling wine.

Participants voted on their top three wines. Third place (10 points) was the 2010 Tondonia. Second place (13 points) was the 1997 La Rioja Alta 904. The winner and WINE OF THE NIGHT (with 18 points) was the 1978 Monte Real. The results clearly evidenced Rioja's tremendous aging potential, particularly when made in the traditional style with long maceration and time in oak.

We filled the evening by describing the history of Rioja, how winemaking is evolving to redefine style, quality and terroir, and stories involving some of the most celebrated winemakers.



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