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SARAH JANE EVANS – Great minds in Rioja

100 kilometers of diversity according to four prestigious Masters of Wine, Tim Atkin, Pedro Ballesteros, Sarah Jane Evans and Andreas Kubach told their impressions about Rioja and tasted some Rioja wines at Prowine Germany.



“For a long time, Rioja’s image was easy to describe: Spain’s finest wine region, producing excellent wines, mainly red. Today, we must speak about a white, rosé and sparkling Rioja.


Rioja is a land of great wines and also of great personalities. The MW Sarah Jane Evans knows this well, as she drew a tour of the “great minds” of the Denomination, those who, over time, have shaped part of the Rioja idiosyncrasy.


In the words of Evans, “Rioja is known for its famous brands, but today there are people who should be recognized for their different ways of doing things, who are role models for the next generations.”



In this sense, Evans highlighted that, “for a long time, the image of Rioja has been simple: the most famous wine region in Spain, which produces excellent wines, mainly reds. Today we are learning to talk about Rioja, highlighting other varieties such as white, rosé and sparkling wine in the traditional method”.


Right at this point, the ability to produce new varieties without losing an iota of quality is where one of the most important elements comes in: the terroir and the very different soils, climates, aspects and altitudes that characterize Rioja. In this way, she highlighted the importance of the fifth aspect of terroir, the human factor, and all the people who make up the excellent Rioja Designation of Origin.



These were the wines tasted in her masterclass:

  • Bodegas Ramón Bilbao, Lalomba Finca Lalinde 2021: a unique rosé, the launch wine of Lalomba from the Sierra de Yerga, which is also characterized by being one of the first pale-colored rosés from Rioja, closed with a vino-lok stopper. Behind him is the talent of Rosana Lisa Oliva, who works within a large corporate company, Grupo Zamora, showing leadership for a young winery, Lalomba, as well as being in charge of Research and Development. A privileged mind who, on the other hand, aspires to get the title of Master of Wine.
  • Sierra de Toloño, La Dula Garnachas de Altura 2021: created by Sandra Bravo, this wine is made from 100% Garnacha grapes, being a standard bearer of the recent renaissance of this grape variety in Rioja. Strawberry and mineral, it perfectly expresses the clear identity of the Rioja Alavesa terroir and, of course, the mastery of its creator after having traveled and explored both Spain and the most famous wine regions in the world.
  • Bodegas Queirón, Queirón Ensayos Capitales nº 3 2020: without a doubt, this wine is a great example of how it is possible for future generations of historic family wineries to show their desire for continuity, but also to advance in innovation. This is the case of Leticia Pérez Cuevas, oenologist in the team of brothers & sisters in the relatively new project of Bodegas Queirón in Quel, Rioja Oriental, where, in addition to traditional wines, they make regular, experimental wines and major trials, such as, precisely, the Wine tasted at the seminar.
  • Bodegas R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia, Viña Bosconia 2011: also from a long-standing family business located, in this case, in one of the most famous municipalities in the world of wine; Haro. The López de Heredia family has an exceptionally long pedigree in the world of oenology. In the current generation three brothers work in the business, within the tradition of family wines and vineyards. Mercedes is the sister that focuses on the elaboration of the wine tasted, this being pure elegance and a clear example of how Rioja wines are made with true longevity.