Riojo Authorizes New White Grape Varieties

The Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and the Rioja Consejo Regulador have authorised several new international white grape varieties. Wines made from Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Verdejo, as well as the native Maturana Blanca, Tempranillo Blanco and Turruntés (not Torrontés) in future may be labelled as Rioja DOCa wines. Until now only the native Viura was authorized for white Rioja. The white international varieties may not exceed 49% of a blend with the native Viura. The aim is to make white Rioja wines taste more fruity. The little known red varieties Maturana Tinta, Maturana Parda en Monastel (not Monastrell) are now also authorized for Rioja DOCa wines. The regulations state also that no more than 2500 hectares of these new varieties will be permitted in Rioja. There are currently more than 63,000 ha of vines planted in the region.