Luis Gutiérrez, Robert Parker's man in Spain, has finally published his much-awaited article about the wines of La Rioja. As he did last year, Mr. Gutiérrez, while acknowledging the greatness of classic Rioja, also pays close attention to the work of the new generation. A generation that, in many cases, is unashamedly turning upside down the venerable traditions of Spain's most prestigious wine region.

In Mr. Gutiérrez's new list of Rioja wines we find an increasing number of products made from Grenache and Graciano, a most welcome change after so many years of Tempranillo dominance.


Of course, we don't forget the white wines from Rioja, one of the region's hidden treasures that, year after year, get consistently high scores. Wines like Viña Gravonia Blanco 2005 (93 points), the elegant Viña Tondonia Blanco Reserva 2000, or the young Izadi Blanco 2013, rated 90 points by Mr. Gutiérrez.


Telmo Rodríguez, one of Spain's top winemakers, got the highest rating with his Las Beatas 2012. So good is this already legendary wine that it has dethroned Viña el Pisón, by the Artadi winery, considered by many the best Tempranillo wine in the world.


Classic wineries, such as López de Heredia-Viña Tondonia, La Rioja Alta or Cune embody the essence of Rioja. Among the best-rated wines produced by this companies, we are particularly fond of Torre de Oña Reserva 2010 (93 points), Viña Ardanza Reserva 2005 (94) and the bold Muga Prado Enea Gran Reserva, with no less than 96 points. As for Viña Tondonia Reserva 2003 (90 points), it is an all-time classic that will improve in the bottle for many years.


As for the "new" Rioja, more concerned with terroir and freshness than with long ageing periods in oak barrels, we suggest that you try Bozeto de Exopto (91 points), the wines of the Rioja-based French winemaker Olivier Rivière, or Malpuesto 2012 (92 points), by the Orben winery.


Additionally, we want to acknowledge the good work of three wineries whose responsibles are personal friends of ours. K4 2012, by the Artuke winery, got 93 points, while Finca de Los Locos 2012 was rated 91. The great Beautiful Things 2010, by the Paco García winery was given a rating of 91 points. As for David Sampedro, owner of DSG Vineyards, his wines were rated 91 to 93 points.


Finally, Mr. Gutiérrez gave 92+ points to one of our favourite wines, a product that, not surprisingly, is also one of our top sellers: Palacios Remondo La Montesa 2012.