Gran Reserva

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Spanish term for a wine supposedly from an outstanding vintage which has been subject to lengthy ageing, the exact period varying from do to DO, before release. Rioja produces the great majority of all Gran Reservas and here red wines must spend a minimum of two years in barrels of approximately 225 l. The wine may not leave the bodega until the sixth year after the vintage. White and rosé wines must spend a total of at least four years in cask and bottle, including at least six months ageing in barrel, to qualify. For much of the 20th century, Gran Reservas represented Spain’s finest and most expensive wines, but many of the country’s most celebrated winemakers are nowadays concerned to preserve more fruit in their top bottlings and do not necessarily equate quality with time spent in wood.