Rioja Alta, to the north-west and south of Ebro River, stretches as far as the city of Logrońo. Elegance and poise is the hallmark of wines made here with Rioha Alta Tempranillo. Mazuelo is occasionally added to wines from this area to add tannins and colour. Rioja Alta's wines have a particular affinity with oak barrels and extended ageing.
Rioja Alavesa is locatd in the Basque country, bounded by the foothills of the Cantabrian mountains to the north and the River Ebro in the south. The mountains help create a micro-climate by offering some shelter from the Atlantic weather and wine - nonetheless the rainfall here is almost double that of Rioja Baja.
Tempranillo reigns in Alavesa, accounting for around 80% of all plantnings in the mostly chalk and clay soils, whilst Garnacha, Mzuelo and Graciano for red wines and Viura, Malvasia and Garnacha Blana are grown for white wines.
The Rioja Baja sub-region, which forms the largest portion of Rioja, extends south-east of the provincial capital, Logrońo, to the small town of Alfaro. It accounts for 40% of Rioja's wine production, with most of its vineyards located south of the River Ebro. Unlike Alta and Alavesa the Rioja Baja has very warm and dry summers, and a flatter landscape.
The chalk content in the soil is minimal, with larger proportions of silt and alluvial components. The low-altitude vineywards here are mostly planed with Garnacha wines, as they are best suited to the extreme conditions, producing wines which are high in alcohol but lower in acidity and aroma profile.
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