Over the past few months, I’ve been trying to keep up on the news that is slowly coming out of the Rioja region in regards to the wishes of Alavesa producers. Whether its a world-renowned restaurant in New York, or just personal taste, many wine lovers tend to think that the Alavesa sub-region of Rioja produces the best wine in the country. Like many wine-producing regions of the world, some Alavesa producers would like to differentiate themselves as a sub-region, distinct from the rest of the bigger Rioja DOC (Denominación de Origen Calificada, Qualified designation of origin). Those in charge of the DOC have been, until recently, firmly against any additional labeling of sub-regions. This stand against differentiation was ultimately what contributed to Artadi, a well-known wine-producer, to leave the Rioja DOC and go off on its own. However, interestingly enough, it appears that the DOC has now agreed to help support the sub-regions in labeling to distinguish themselves from the larger Rioja DOC.
This currently leaves Artadi outside the DOC on its own, but its director, Juan Carlos Lopez de LaCalle, stated that they have had more demand for their wines since the secession, because they are receiving support form people that like the change.
It will be interesting to see what the other Alavesa bodegas do in the near future – can’t help but hear The Clash in the background “Should I stay or should I go now?”