Rioja masterclasses prove popular with the wine trade

Wine correspondent John Wilson addresses the attendees of the recent Rioja masterclass event in Dublin

A day-long trade event in Dublin earlier this month put a sharp focus on Spain's Rioja region, with masterclasses and tastings exploring what the historic region has to offer the thriving Irish wine market.

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28 November 2019 | 0

Spain’s flagship region, Rioja, was put in the limelight at a day of masterclasses, at a trade event held in Dublin on 19 November.

Following the success of last year’s event featuring a masterclass by John Wilson of The Irish Times, the event saw two masterclasses discussing topics pertinent to the on- and off-trades, looking in-depth at a selection of wines currently available on the Irish market. Led by Wilson once again, the classes each explored ten different wines, encompassing the region’s classic reds across the ageing spectrum as well as oaked and unoaked whites and rosés.

The masterclasses, which took place at The Dean Hotel, were both fully-booked and were attended by a selection of press, importers, buyers and restauranteurs. Guests greatly enjoyed the opportunity to delve deeper into the wines of the Rioja region, speaking highly of the wide variety of wines explored, which illustrated a broad scope of styles.

“It was a real pleasure to see such keen interest in Rioja among the off-trade and the on-trade,” John Wilson commented. “While there is still more to be done to educate consumers about the offerings of the Rioja region and its ageing categories, I have no doubt that we are rapidly moving towards this.”

The day also involved a free-pour tasting of eight Rioja producers seeking Irish distribution. With Ireland one of Rioja’s top ten export markets, the category is primed for further growth. Wilson noted that the Irish market clearly has a palate for Rioja. “Where Rioja Reserva has been a strong category for a long time,” he said, “consumers are becoming more interested in other styles, such as whites and rosés.”

Wilson also touched on the changes to the Rioja region in his masterclasses: the introduction of the Viñedos Singulares classification, which will allow winemakers to label their wines with their individual vineyard, and the introduction of Espumosos de Calidad de Rioja (sparkling Rioja).

Rioja DOCa is committed to build on this interest and grow the Irish market even further, with more activity currently in the planning for 2020.

For more information on the Rioja Dublin masterclasses, email rioja@thisisphipps.com or phone on +44 207 759 7400.

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