Crianza wine vs. young wine vs. Roble wine vs. Reserva wine vs. Gran Reserva wine

Depending on the time that a wine stays in oak barrel and bottle (if at all) they are named: Joven, Roble, Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva.

The word Joven in Spanish means literally “young”. This is a wine which is bottled just after being elaborated. No stay in oak barrel at all.

These are fresh, easy drinking, aromatic, fruity wines which show pretty well the characteristics of the variety they are elaborated with. These are very interesting wines; we like to call them “naked wine” as nothing is covering them.

At Bodegas Carlos Plaza we produce two young red wines: Carlos Plaza Joven and La Llave Roja Joven.

They are the perfect choice for an everyday meal as well as a great option in summer for red wine lovers.  We recommend to serve them a little chilled (11ºC) and not to be afraid to put the bottle inside an ice bucket.

La Llave Roja Joven (young wine)

Of course, a young white wine is an absolute must on every summer meal. Served chiller than in winter (between 6ºC y 9ºC), a crispy white wine is the perfect pairing for summer food: seafood, fish, salads, grilled vegetable, paella… like this..

dry wine wine Spanish wine Carlos Plaza wine from Spain

Carlos Plaza Macabeo/Sauvignon Blanc

Before talking about crianza wines, we must mention a very important and versatile category: roble wines. They have been aged in oak barrel for less than 6 months.

What is a crianza wine? crianza vs. crianza

Again, the word crianza means ageing, that is to say, the time that the wine has stayed in oak barrel plus the time that stays in the bottle. However, a CRIANZA wine as a category is the wine that has been aged in oak barrels of 225 litres capacity for 24 months, 12 of which (6 in some Apellations) at least in oak barrel and the rest in the bottle for red wines.

A RESERVA wine is aged during at least for 3 years (36 months). A minimum of 12 months must be in 225 liters oak barrels and the rest in the bottle.

A GRAN RESERVA wine is aged at least for 5 years (60 months). Most Appellations state that at least, 18 months in oak barrels and the rest in bottles.

We are talking here about red wines only. White and rosé wines need less time for every category and will be covered on a future post.

The time in the oak barrel gives the wine some specific characteristics, but it does not necessarily imply higher quality, just different styles of wines for various occasions. Moreover the quality of a wine is given by other factors, first of all, the quality of the grape. Please, let us know which are the main key factors that determine the quality of a wine from your point of view.


Curiosity about these terms: this classification classification applies only to Spanish wines , and only to wines belonging to an Appelation of Origin (D.O.: Denominación de Origen in Spanish).

However, in other Spanish speaking countries, like Chile, terms like Reserva, Reserva Especial, Reserva Privada o Gran Reserva, are used, but it has not a precise meaning in general. However, it can be useful to indicate the level of quality within the wines of a particular producer.*

Likewise, the Italian term Riserva indicates a DOC or DOCG wine that has been aged for at least a set number of months before release, but it is not so specific as Spanish laws.*

*Source: WSET Books