By Sam Wylie-Harris

Page 1: 09:53

[STANDFIRST] Rioja is Spain's most iconic wine, and we've managed to get our hands on two of the best riojas around.

Despite changing tastes, some wines never go out of style, they just evolve and become more desirable and better with time. Rioja is such a wine.

Spain produces great wines at every level, but it's the age worthy reds from Rioja that capture our imagination and stir our senses with their generous savoury flavours and powerful structure.

But if you don't have the patience of a cellar master, most of us want a wine that can be enjoyed today, but at the same time have the complexity, power and colour to reward us years down the line.

Which is exactly the vision entrepreneur Mario Rotllant Sola had when he founded Bodegas Roda in the Rioja town of Haro in 1987. Mario wanted to create wines that would be distinguished from other riojas by their character and elegance.

Fast forward to their 30th anniversary and the winery produces a range of four highly sought after wines: Roda, Roda 1, Cirsion and Sela.

And it's testimony to both the skills of winemaker Agustin Santolaya and to the winery's innovative winemaking techniques that the wines are now regarded as the most modern of the great rioja classics.

Roda take full advantage of the best wine region in Spain which boasts three climatic influences - Atlantic, Continental and Mediterranean - and each can shape a vintage.

Their first release was in 1992, and the wines are blends of different parcels (predominantly tempranillo), with each vintage respecting the characteristics of that particular year.

Indeed, quality is an obsession at Roda: The grapes must come from old vines (more than 30 years old), except for Sela - the young gun and newest addition to the range which is made from 15 to 30-year-old vines.

Unlike traditional rioja, when the wine has extended ageing in American oak, Roda wines are aged in expensive French oak.

The consistent quality ranks them as architects of reds which are powerful yet graceful, fresh and fruity in a 'I dare you to drink me now' style when they're young, and seduce you with their luscious, perfumed fruit, sweet spice, silky tannins and long expressive finish when their pulling power has matured.

Cirsion is the crown jewel, only produced in small quantities in certain years - the 2010 is available to buy in bond from Berry Bros & Rudd, priced £450 for three bottles - but wine lovers don't despair!

Its flagship labels are within grasp: Roda and Roda 1 channel the influence of the vintage and DNA of the wine - much like a flavoured colour chart, Roda reflects fresh, silky red fruit characteristics, while Roda 1 veers more to deep, complex black fruits. Meanwhile, Sela is still elegant but with a youthful, fruity freshness.

Raise a glass to Roda's 30th birthday with these three (luxury, but not completely break-the-budget) top drops...

1. Roda Reserva 2012, Rioja, Spain (£29.99, Fortnum & Mason, Harvey Nichols, in-store only)

We've hunted down the latest Mediterranean vintage which promises 'delicately spiced flavours of cherries with silky, fine grained tannins, an overall feeling of freshness and oozes delicate elegance.'

2. Roda Sela 2014, Rioja, Spain (£19.99, Harrods, in-store only)

While Sela is from an Atlantic vintage and will reward you with its 'elegant, lively fresh flavours and nose which is bursting with red fruit aromas of cherries, redcurrants and blackberries.'

3. Roda Sela 2013, Rioja, Spain (£17.95, Wine Direct)

Elsewhere, Wine Direct offer a good range of previous vintages, including the 2013 which on the nose is 'delicious, subtle and delicate, representing the freshness of a cold vintage - medium body with a light and silky texture. Fine tannins leave a feeling of daintiness and softness.'