Rioja, but not as we know it!

When talking Rioja, white wine (Rioja Blanco) doesn’t immediately spring to mind. Viura still remains the most important white grape in the region, although It’s hard to imagine that around 15 years ago Chardonnay along with some other grape varieties including Sauvignon Blanc and Verdejo were allowed to be planted in the Rioja region, although only permitting up to 49% as part of a blend. Now the region can produce 100% single-variety white wines including Chardonnay and their popularity seems to be steadily on the increase.

Hence, the two wines I feature here both are made with Chardonnay, one, 100% the other a blend 50/50 with Tempranillo Blanco, showing just how good these wines can be.

El Coto – 875m Chardonnay 2020 (13% abv)

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El Coto 875m Chardonnay, Rioja

Made by one of the most popular and respected wineries in Rioja, El Coto, this 100% Chardonnay, is made from grapes that come from La Finca Carbonera Estate, with an altitude of, you guessed it ! 875m above sea level.

Aromas of vanilla, pineapple, and peach along with citrus fruits, but also a hint of butter. When first sipping this, elegance comes to mind, typical Chardonnay characteristics, creamy with peach and pineapple prominent, still with high acidity giving it a nice freshness. The creaminess and to some extent complexity come from contact with Lees and stirring with battonages.

This is very much a modern style Chardonnay but still with elements of old school and it is thoroughly enjoyable.

My Cork Rating
My rating 8.75/10 corks

Orube Blanco 2020

Orube Blanco Rioja

Made in Rioja Alavesa, this 50/50 blend of Chardonnay and Tempranillo Blanco with an abv of 12.5%, aromas of lemon, and something very floral, along with a hint of vanilla. Flavours of stone fruits notably pears and peaches, but with a bright lemony citrus thing going on as well. There is a distinctly nutty almond taste with some creaminess and a hit of oak but all well balanced with some vibrant acidity for freshness.

Cork rating
My rating 7.5/10 Corks

So there you have it two very enjoyable Rioja Blanco’s incorporating Chardonnay, for me, there was a slight preference for the El Coto 875m, but both showing admirable qualities and I have no hesitation in recommending either.

El Coto 875m Decántalo £11.12

Orube Slurp £12.95

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