Tempranillo is the main grape of this area. It produces fruit-laden wines, but can lack structure and capacity for aging and is often blended. Graciano is also suited to the conditions. Rioja Alta has around 20,000ha under vine and is the biggest sub-district of Rioja.Read More
The vines here are grown up to 600m above sea level to avoid the blistering heat, but not so high as to catch the punishing northerly winds. Long warm days and cool nights extend the ripening process of the eager Tempranillo grape (whose name is derived from the word for early) and ensure maximum flavours are extracted from it. Clay soils do not reflect the heat but do retain the moisture, and in the Rioja Alta these are beneficial characteristics.