The wines in Rioja are strictly controlled and categorized by their minimum ageing process. Cosecha wines are in their first or second year, Crianzas are in their third year or more with a minimum of one year in oak casks and some months in bottle, Reserva are specially selected wines that have also been aged for at least three years with a minimum of one year in oak casks, and Gran Reserva are the exceptional vintages with a minimum of two years in oak casks and three years in the bottle.
We stayed at a hotel in the town of Logroño, a tapas mecca—stay tuned for photos of all the bites!—and in the lobby there were Magnums, Jeroboams, and even Nebuchadnezzars (a whole 15 liters) all lined up, just in case you didn't know you were in wine country.
Straight from the Barrel Tasting
Along with Rioja, Priorat is the only Spanish wine region that's been granted official D.O.C. status. All others are simply D.O.s. and aren't subject to as much rigorous standards as the D.O.C.s. The majority of the wines from Priorat (90 percent) are red.