A breeding, please…? Towards the recognition of the origin of wines

The prescriptor and Master of Wine Tim Atkin resorted to the metaphor of the ‘Sleeping Lion’ -a rock in the Sierra de Cantabria that takes that shape when seen from Logroño- to describe the current situation of the DOCa Rioja and Spanish wine. The ‘lion’ is beginning to wake up and, for example, Rioja has been working for a couple of years on a new legislative model to differentiate its wines, which is intended to go beyond the The traditional ‘Rioja’ wine region, which distinguishes the categories of its wines according to the time spent in barrels and cellars (crianza, reserva and gran reserva) with new categories such as local wines, municipal wines and ‘Viñedos Singulares’ (singular vineyards)..
The movement began years ago in Priorat has already taken off in appellations of origin such as Cava, with the launching of the cavas de parajemost recently in BierzoThe quality pyramid scales as the vineyard becomes more specific in its origin and now it is also doing so in Rioja.
For Familia Martínez Bujanda, this trend towards the recognition of the wines’ origin means settling an old debt that the Spanish wine sector had with its historical and most authentic vineyards. In fact, it is the model that we have been developing in our different projects in Rioja, Rueda and La Mancha and that we tried to promote in the early 2000s with our membership in the Association of Grandes Pagos de España. Vino de pago, whose development was already foreseen in the 2003 Wine Law, clashed with the interests of large operators who opted for the promotion of regional appellations of origin, turning their backs on the differentiation of origins: counties, municipalities, estates and plots.
The movement in the background, and also generational, that the Spanish wine sector as a whole is now experiencing has no turning back and is leading to a much more complex and diverse panorama.. The ‘new’ in the world of wine in Spain are the vineyards with personality that have always been there but hidden and that are now going to start to show themselves.
In later blog posts we will analyze in more detail these legislative changes that are taking place, but the traditional phrase that for decades has been heard in bars, -“…un crianza, por favor…”- may become history or, at least, start to fall short.

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