Located south of the Cantabrian Mountains along the Ebro river, La Rioja is known for its beautiful rolling landscapes, medieval villages and exquisite wines. The mountains in the region protect the vineyards from the fierce winds that are typical of northern Spain.
The region produces 250 million liters of wine annually, of which 85% is red. Born and cultivated in Spain, the flagship grape is the indigenous Tempranillo which has been used for over 2000 years. The area is divided into three sub-regions: Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa which are situated to the north have a cooler climate, while Rioja Baja to the southeast is drier and warmer.
A Rioja goes well with almost anything, but the wine pairs best with savory flavors like meats and cheeses. Like many Spanish wine regions, Rioja is an essential part of Spanish cuisine and culture. Every year there is a Wine Festival in the northwestern town of Haro called Batalla de Vino – a food fight where the participants pour wine at each other from buckets until they’re all soaked from head to toe.