Producer: La Rioja Alta
La Rioja Alta S.A. (RASA) is one of the 'grandees' of the big, traditional Rioja houses founded when the Bordelais went south after the Phylloxera crisis of the 1870s.
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Their name is much better known on the Spanish market - they have always done little export marketing. The cheapest Rioja is at Reserva, not Crianza, level and their Reserva labelled wines would qualify as Gran Reserva depending on the release date. All the wines are gravity racked every six months, which constitutes a full-time job as La Rioja Alta has 60 000 barrels in its cellars. Grapes are sourced from the best vineyards in Rioja Alta with some Garnacha from Rioja Baja. In 1994 they bought the single-vineyard estate, Baron de Oña, in the Rioja Alavesa to bring more breadth to the range. There is no Rioja Blanco, however, as the decision was taken to buy Lagar de Fornelos in DO Rias Biaxas and concentrate on Albariño. Lagar de Cervera is the result, available now under screw-cap. Despite being very traditional, RASA embraces new technologies within it’s bodegas, building a brand new installation just outside Haro with state-of-the-art facilities. The company has also expanded into Ribera del Duero, creating a brand new bodega for a mere £20 million!