Q. What is crianza?
A. Translated as "upbringing," the Spanish word crianza has to do with how wine is, well, brought up. You see, the Spanish have a long-standing love affair with well-aged wines, and several different terms help consumers understand exactly how the wine has been matured. Crianzas, for example, may not be sold until they are at least 2 years old. In some regions, at least 6 months of that time must have been spent in oak barrels. In other regions, including famous Rioja, the wine must age at least a year in oak. Reserva is another category, requiring at least 3 years of aging, with a minimum of 1 year in oak barrels. And finally, Gran Reservas are a Rioja specialty. They require at least 2 years of oak aging and a minimum of 5 loooooong years at the winery!