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For various reasons I have been looking at a few social tasting note sites recently, so I thought it would be interesting to see what volume of tasting notes for Rioja wines could be found in these places.

The tasting notes on these sites obviously vary substantially in how useful they are, but if you were a consumer that was new to Rioja wines, then these places are intended to offer you suggestions and advice based on others’ reviews, so in theory they are important places for Rioja wines to appear.

I went to the sites I am most familiar with (some which I use, others I don’t) and simply searched for “Rioja”, and below is what I discovered, with some thoughts on the site and results.

In summary, I was reasonably surprised by the variation, but not very. I wonder what would happen if I were to search and compare results for a single bottle from a well known international brand, e.g. Faustino? Maybe another time!

Which one I would recommend will vary depending on what you are looking for and feel comfortable with. The first two obviously have a lot more data, and as the most useful sites are therefore most likely to get the investment required to survive and grow, but don’t underestimate the power of community in driving a small site forward (after all, CellarTracker did exactly that itself).

CellarTracker – 4,372 entries for “Rioja”

Wow! A great depth of information, detail and shared information. This site has everything the wine geek could possibly want for searching for a wine, with a good number and quality of tasting notes and even links to some retailers.

However, this is a site for those who are comfortable with their wine knowledge. It doesn’t actually require in-depth knowledge to use, but I can see how the amount of information and the design would be off-putting for those who are only starting their research.

A great site to find information on more unusual or older wines.

Snooth – 1,433+ entries for “Rioja”

I say 1433+ as it actually states: “Showing results x-y of thousands for Rioja”. I see there are 144 pages of 10 results so I assume this is the entire set. This will represent many duplicate entries, alternative vintages and more, but is still a pretty good number.

The results can be sorted according to their own overall rating, the “Snooth Rating” which helps to highlight those wines with more, and better, reviews. Of course it means that the most expensive, and high point scoring wines, are listed first, but that is no bad thing I guess.

You can sort it by other means, and even by merchant if you want. The fact that merchants’ own data files are uploaded means that this site is useful in finding prices as well as stockists of wines, which is good, but they will have to work on their de-duplication routines as many wines appear multiple times because of this.

Cork’d – 728 entries

This site only seems to offer an alphabetical listing of results unless you create an account, which I guess is fair. There were the usual miscategorisations (Navarra wines showing up) and the results, information and quality of tasting notes seem a little more basic.

I think this site maybe suits the Vaynerchuk Nation looking to put up their own notes on wines they know they are all drinking (as they appeared in one of Gary’s shows) but I am not sure I’d easily find any real pointers on this site as a wine novice.

Vinoo.eu – 64 entries

A new site to me, but somethign I thought I would check out as I have been in touch with the guy developing it, Aldo. The biggest issue is that it is in … Dutch (that’ll be a new one to most of us).

The results are in score order, useful but questionable, then by price. This is not a lot of entries and could represent the interest in Rioja in Holland & Belgium (I’m not sure) or the volume of tasting notes.

This site seems to work in exactly the same way as Cork’d (even using the same tag concept), so it’s strength will be to build a community with a Dutch speakng audience. Unfortunately, that isn’t me.

Adegga.com – 14 entries

A new entrant on the scene, represented by the very few entries in the database for Rioja.

This site aims to aggregate data from bloggers as well as wineries and individual users. The aims are very laudable, but there are a lot of people asking for these people’s time and attention and it will take real effort to encourage them to add this site to the probably very lengthy list of sites to maintain. However, having said that, this site and the people behind it, are pretty innovative so there is a chance they will come up with something that will make that happen.

One to watch out for rather than a destination quite yet!