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UK drinkers are fans of Rioja

UK wine drinkers love Rioja, according to the latest figures. The UK shipped in 27.8 million litres of this Spanish wine last year. This was 13.8 per cent more Rioja than in 2005 and, in value terms, represents a rise of over 22 per cent. Bottle-wise, this an astonishing leap compared to six years before, when less than 10 million litres was shipped to our shores.

The reason Rioja is doing so well is because it has been reinventing itself, according to Sue Glasgow, spokesperson for the Rioja Information Centre. She told ThirtyFifty that, ‘Winemakers are taking more interest in terroir and where they plant their grapes and there’s a rise in single-vineyard and single-varietal wines. Winemakers are also thinking about the styles that consumers want to drink. Younger wines are very fruit driven, while older wines, such as Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva, have a sweet fruit flavour but are not overburdened with oak.’

Certainly, this move is working. Currently, the UK is by far and away the number one importer of Rioja in the world, taking 70 per cent of the region’s exports. Last year the wine’s governing body launched the Rethink Rioja campaign to try to raise awareness. Already, it seems, we are pretty sold on the stuff.