The D.O.Ca. Rioja Control Board has given the 2015 vintage an official ‘Very Good’ rating. It was the earliest harvest in the history of Rioja and the results are very satisfactory both in terms of quality and quantity. The total production is 319 million litres of wine. The most outstanding qualities of this year’s vintage are freshness and elegance, in addition to optimal ageing potential. The rating is the average of the marks given to 4,454 samples of wine subjected to a strict approval process. The samples are taken directly from the wineries’ fermenters by Control Board personnel and subjected to laboratory and sensory tests. Finally, a total of 298.48 million litres (16.62 ML white, 13.62 ML rosé and 268.24 ML red) were approved, meaning they earn the right to be certified as wines protected by the D.O.Ca. Rioja; a solid quality guarantee for consumers.
Good weather throughout the growing cycle provided excellent canopy growth and grapes in top condition, free of pests or disease. It also enabled balanced ripening across all vineyards, and unhurried, selective picking. September proved exceptionally favourable for quality. One of the most curious facts about the 2015 harvest is that it took place practically simultaneously across the region with the bulk of the grapes being picked within a four-week period. Normally, the grape harvest in Rioja is carried out gradually over nearly two months. The feast of Virgen del Pilar on 12 October is when the grape harvest has traditionally reached its peak. This year, however, practically all the vineyards had been picked out by that date. Berry quality was very good and the grapes arrived in top condition with test results that showed they were very suitable for making excellent wines. Quality is particularly outstanding in those wines from vines located in cooler areas with moderate vigour and limited production.
Compared to the previous vintage, red wines show the most notable differences, with a slightly higher-than-average alcohol content (14.15%). The traits defining the average 2015 vintage wine are intense fruit from proper ripening and very elegant tannins, exceptionally smooth in some cases. In general, the red wines exhibit great aromatic complexity and stand out for their finesse and elegance. This is accompanied by a very good balance and structure, making them optimally suited for ageing.