Rioja Alavesa

Rioja Alavesa







about this subregion

The Rioja Alavesa wine region is situated within the larger Rioja wine-producing area in northern Spain. This subregion is known for its significant contribution to the renowned Rioja wines. Geographically, it is located in the southern part of the Basque Country and spans across the province of Álava. The Rioja Alavesa wine region is characterized by its unique terroir, which includes a combination of climate, soil, and topography that influences the wines produced.

Rioja Alavesa is particularly known for its red wines, which are primarily crafted from the Tempranillo grape variety. These wines are celebrated for their balance, elegance, and aging potential. The region also cultivates other grape varieties, including Garnacha (Grenache), Graciano, Mazuelo (Carignan), and Viura (Macabeo) for white wines.

The vineyards in Rioja Alavesa are often planted at altitudes ranging from around 400 to 700 meters (1300 to 2300 feet) above sea level. This elevation, coupled with the region's clay and limestone-rich soils, contributes to the unique characteristics of the wines. The soils offer good drainage and mineral content, influencing the flavor profiles and structure of the wines.

The Rioja Alavesa wine region is home to numerous wineries and bodegas that contribute to the production of high-quality wines, many of which bear the prestigious Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOCa) Rioja designation. The region's dedication to traditional winemaking practices and the innovative approaches of its producers have collectively shaped its reputation as a vital contributor to the global wine industry.



Vineyard Hectares





Discover Terroir

Nestled in the northern part of Spain's illustrious Rioja wine region, Rioja Alavesa is a captivating subzone with a distinct identity. It is situated in the province of Alava, which is part of the larger Basque Country. Bounded by the Sierra de Cantabria mountains to the north and the Ebro River to the south, Rioja Alavesa enjoys a picturesque landscape that contributes to the unique characteristics of its wines. The region includes several towns and villages, such as Laguardia, Labastida, Elciego, and more, which contribute to the wine production and cultural heritage of the area.

The climate of Rioja Alavesa is a harmonious blend of influences. The region experiences a continental climate influenced by both Atlantic and Mediterranean factors. Geographically situated in the southern part of the Basque Country in northern Spain, the area's climate is shaped by its location near the Cantabrian Mountains.

The region's climate is characterized by distinct seasonal variations while the Ebro River acts as a natural regulator, moderating temperatures.

During the growing season, which spans from spring to early fall, the area witnesses warm and dry conditions. Summers are generally warm, with daytime temperatures reaching significant levels. However, the region's elevation, ranging from around 400 to 700 meters (1300 to 2300 feet) above sea level, helps temper the heat, contributing to more gradual grape ripening and the preservation of acidity.

Winters in the Rioja Alavesa wine region are relatively mild compared to other continental climates. While temperatures can drop, the influence of the Atlantic climate brings moderating effects, preventing excessively cold conditions. Snowfall is infrequent.

The area's proximity to the Cantabrian Mountains (Sierra de Cantabria) plays a role in shaping the climate. These mountains act as a barrier to the influence of the Atlantic Ocean, leading to a rain shadow effect. As a result, the region experiences moderate rainfall, with the average annual precipitation ranging from around 400 to 600 millimeters (15 to 24 inches). Rainfall is typically concentrated in the spring and fall months.

The Rioja Alavesa wine region's climate, characterized by warm summers, mild winters, and moderate rainfall, plays a crucial role in shaping the grapes' growth and the overall viticultural practices of the area. These climatic factors contribute to the unique flavor profiles and characteristics of the wines produced in this renowned Spanish wine region.

The Rioja Alavesa wine region is distinguished by a diverse range of soil types that influence the character and quality of its wines. Geographically situated in the southern part of the Basque Country in northern Spain, the region's soil composition plays a significant role in shaping the terroir of its vineyards.

The Rioja Alavesa wine region's vineyards are planted on soils that encompass various textures and mineral contents. These include:

  1. Clay and Limestone: The region is renowned for its clay and limestone-rich soils, which are prevalent across much of its landscape. These soils offer good drainage capabilities while also retaining moisture, contributing to balanced vine growth and grape development. The clay component also enhances the ability to withstand dry periods.
  2. Calcareous Clay: Calcareous clay soils, a combination of clay and limestone, are found in certain areas. These soils provide a harmonious blend of mineral content and water retention, promoting healthy vine growth and the development of complex flavors in the grapes.
  3. Alluvial Deposits: In some parts of the region, alluvial deposits contribute to the soil diversity. These deposits are a result of past water flow and sedimentation, offering different mineral characteristics and drainage properties.
  4. Iron-Rich Clays: Some vineyards in the Rioja Alavesa wine region are situated on soils with iron-rich clay content. These soils can impart distinct flavors and contribute to the unique profile of the wines.

The Rioja Alavesa wine region's varied soil types interact with the climate and topography to create diverse terroirs within the area. These different soil characteristics influence the growth of grapevines, affecting factors such as nutrient availability, water retention, and drainage. Ultimately, the wines produced in the Rioja Alavesa region bear the imprint of these soils, contributing to the distinct flavor profiles and qualities that define the region's viticultural identity.


Nestled within the breathtaking landscapes of northern Spain, the Rioja Alavesa wine region is a captivating terroir that plays host to an array of red and white grape varieties, each contributing its own unique notes to the symphony of flavors that define this remarkable wine region.

Most Planted Red Grape Varietals:
  • Tempranillo: The crowned jewel of Rioja Alavesa's red grape portfolio, Tempranillo reigns supreme in the region. Renowned for its early ripening and adaptability to the local terroir, this grape produces wines of elegance and depth. Tempranillo wines from Rioja Alavesa often showcase luscious red fruit flavors, such as cherry and raspberry, interwoven with subtle herbal and earthy nuances. Oak aging further enriches these wines with vanilla, tobacco, and spice accents, yielding a harmonious balance of fruit and oak.
  • Garnacha: Also known as Grenache, Garnacha thrives in Rioja Alavesa's warm climate. It contributes a generous fruitiness and a touch of rustic charm to the red blends of the region. With its plush texture and flavors of ripe red berries and black cherries, Garnacha adds an approachable and inviting character to Rioja Alavesa wines, complementing the structure provided by Tempranillo.
  • Mazuelo and Graciano: These lesser-known red varieties play supporting roles in Rioja Alavesa's blends, adding layers of complexity and intrigue. Mazuelo contributes acidity and bright red fruit flavors, while Graciano brings aromatic intensity and a floral, herbal quality that enhances the overall aromatic profile of the wines.
Most Planted White Grape Varietals:
  • Viura: The predominant white grape of Rioja Alavesa, Viura, also known as Macabeo, forms the backbone of many white wines in the region. Viura wines often showcase a delicate balance between freshness and richness. They offer flavors of green apple, citrus, and white flowers, along with a crisp acidity that makes them wonderfully refreshing choices, especially on warm days.
  • Malvasía: A white grape with ancient roots, Malvasía brings a captivating aromatic profile to Rioja Alavesa's white blends. Its wines offer fragrant notes of tropical fruits, jasmine, and honeysuckle, creating an alluring bouquet. Malvasía contributes texture and complexity to the wines, making them both intriguing on the palate and delightful to the senses.
  • Garnacha Blanca: This white variant of the red Garnacha grape has gained popularity for its ability to produce fresh and vibrant wines. Garnacha Blanca wines from Rioja Alavesa exhibit flavors of stone fruits, such as peach and apricot, combined with zesty citrus notes. These wines often possess a pleasing mineral character and a lively acidity that adds a refreshing dimension to the white wine portfolio.

The wines produced in Rioja Alavesa are a reflection of their unique terroir and the passionate craftsmanship of the winemakers. The wines from Rioja Alavesa are celebrated for their elegance, balance, and a captivating combination of fruit-driven richness and subtle earthy undertones. Among them, Tempranillo, the star of the region, shines with flavors that will tipically remind you of of red berries, plum, and cherry, along with nuances of spice and tobacco. Even you will detect hints of vanilla when the wine was aged in oak barrels!. Tempranillo also often has a velvety texture and a well-integrated structure of tannins and acidity, making them both approachable and age-worthy, leaving you eager for another sip.