What is Crianza?

Beer and Wine, Drinks, How-To, Social, Wine 101
on April 1, 2010

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!