Introduction

 

Please find below the regulations of Spanish law regarding wine aging. With this basis as the minimum requirement, each D.O. can formulate more stringent regulations for itself. The table includes criteria for some well-known production areas. A bottle can NOT have the aging indication label unless that wine's aging has been officially certified by its D.O. control body.

Some D.O. implement more strict regulations for specific village and single vineyard wines (D.O.Ca. Rioja, D.O.Ca. Priorat, and relevant regulations are being formulated in D.O. Bierzo).

The aging categories are:

  • Joven – These wines may or may not have spent some time in oak before being bottled in the year following the vintage, for immediate release. In the D.O.Ca. Rioja this category is called “Genérico (generic)" and besides young wines it also includes wines of different innovative styles that may be aged but are not classified into the following aging labels.
  • Roble – These wines must spend some time in oak. The time in oak must be stated on label. Some D.O. have established a minimum time and some others don’t even consider this category (e.g. D.O.Ca. Rioja, D.O. Bierzo). The D.O.Ca. Priorat uses no other indications besides Roble.
  • Crianza – Red wines must be aged for at least 24 months, of which 6 months are spent in small oak barrels. White and rosé Wines must age for a total of 18 months, of which 6 months are spent in small oak barrels.
  • Reserva – Wines from selected vats of the better vintages. Reds must be aged for at least 36 months, including at least 12 months in small oak barrels and the rest in bottle.  Whites and Rosés must age for a total of 24 months, with at least 6 months in oak.
  • Gran Reserva – Wines only produced in exceptional vintages. In order to qualify as Gran Reserva, red wines must be aged for at least 60 months, of which at least 18 months in small oak barrels. White and Rosé Gran Reservas must be aged at least 48 months, of which at least 6 months in small oak barrels. 

There are 3 other less frequent terms that can also be used to indicate the age of a wine. Noble for a wine aged at least 1 year, Añejo for a wine aged at least two years, and Viejo for a wine aged at least 3 years and in a distinctively oxidative style.  Unlike Crianza, Reserva, and Gran Reserva, the use of these terms does not call for or imply oak ageing.