Get a Lot of Bottles: The Ten Best Wines to Bring Back from Your Visit

Article excerpt

The regulating council of Rioja wine has declared 2001 a superlative vintage. Haro is bursting with wine shops, many of them selling ancient vintages. If you are after the best, look out for the 1981, 1982, 1987, 1991, 1994 and 1995, but otherwise 1996-1999 are delicious. Don't go back further than 1970 unless you really know what you're buying.

When making your decisions, go for Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva wines (matured for two, three and five years, respectively).

Muga (Rioja Alta)

Family-run enterprise founded in the 1920s. The 1999 whites are fruity and fresh, the reds lighter and less powerful than others.

Bodegas La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza (Rioja Alta)

Very fine reservas pre-1985, and the later vintages are just as good. This is not a cheap wine.

Marques de Caceres (Rioja Alta)

Solid and powerful red Riojas, made in the French style by Bordeaux owners. Reservas and Gran Reservas very reasonably priced.

Bodegas LAN (Rioja Alta)

This massive, modern bodega is situated in Fuenmayor. The wine has rich, warm fruit flavours and lots of structure. …