La Rioja Alavesa
Three Riojas coexist in the same Rioja: the Rioja Alavesa, the Rioja Alta and the Rioja Baja. Of the 65,000 ha that make up the three subzones, 11,500 of them belong to the Rioja Alavesa including 300 km of vineyard extension. The most renowned of these 23 municipalities are El ciego, Laguardia and La Bastida – more than 400 wineries on clay and lime soils -. The 80% of the grape is Red Tempranillo and now also arrives with force the White Tempranillo – a mutation of the first one -. It´s not hard to say in these places maybe are made some of the best wines of the world.
Climate, landscapes, soils, grapes.
Because those are the best wines points. La Rioja is the land of a thousand wines, its diversity of climates means that the wines of each area have their own peculiarities. And one of the most important aspects for the wines are the rivers; one of the most important that bathe these lands, the Ebro. It will do its part to keep the grapes in optimal conditions. Lately we hear a lot that wines are made by the land, not by the person who makes them. Everything has an influence.
Wineries from La Rioja Alavesa | Wine
Some of the most emblematic wineries are Marqués de Riscal, Ysios, Eguren Ugarte, Luis Cañas, Baigorri, Viña Real, Solar de Samaniego and Envite.
They are known for their great wines and for their great design wineries friendly with the landscape and some look like temples of wine. Many of these are visited by wine lovers and also by architecture lovers.
We start with one of the best known wineries in this area: “Marqués de Riscal”. One of the best known marquises of La Rioja, Camilo Hurtado de Amézaga y Balmaseda, journalist who looked for an oenologist to teach the farmers of the Rioja Alavesa the techniques used in the Médoc to show them how wines were made in France. They were sent a large number of shoots of Pinot Noir, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to plant in the vineyard and begin to carry out tests with these foreign grapes. As we said before, this winery is also known for its great cellar. The architect who designed it was Frank O. Gehry, the same architect who designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. This winery is located in the town of El Ciego, one of the oldest wineries in the area. We can find red, white and rosé wines. We would recommend the Red Reserva from this winery. This wine is one of the classic riojas. Very gastronomic wine ideal to accompany all kinds of meat dishes or blue fish. Very intense on the nose with notes of spices and licorice. The wood is barely perceptible thanks to its great concentration of fruit.
We continue with the Bodegas Baigorri built by renowned architects like Iñaki Aspiazu from Guipuzcoa. The wine wev recommend is the carbonic maceration, it is a traditional Rioja elaboration. It is made with whole bunches of grapes and their stems. This type of elaboration gives wines with a lot of forest fruits flavor explosion, this type of wine has a little carbonic. They are very fresh wines, very easy to drink, that almost everybody likes. Ideal to start tapas and to accompany any appetizer.
If we like to find wineries of important architects we came across the very famous Santiago Calatrava. The Ysios Winery, part of the Pernod Ricard Group, produces a 5-star wine that maintains all its fruit potential with notes dominated by ripe fruit and blueberries. It possesses, in turn, subtle hints of spice.
We continue in the area of El Ciego. there we find the Antión Winery and another illustrious architect: Jesús Marino Pascual. A bold building reminiscent of a vine.
We continue in the area of El Ciego, where we find the Antión Winery and another illustrious architect: Jesús Marino Pascual. A bold building reminiscent of a vine. This winery produces wines for the studio. Tempranillos with licorice and balsamic aromas. Lots of fruit power. One of its emblematic wines is a clear example of these virtues: X . It includes smoked and very well integrated oak notes.
Another emblematic winery in the area is Eguren Ugarte at the foot of the Sierra Cantabria. It is a winery of FIFTH GENERATION OF WINEMAKERS excavated at 2000 meters. It offers an exceptional selection of wines. We would emphasize the white wines with its singular varieties of white tempranillo and its citric notes. refreshing. And the other variety to highlight, the white maturana, develops a more floral wine very powerful in the mouth.
More emblematic wineries in the area: Valdelana. This winery has been making wine for 14 generations. It has two ethnographic museums and another one dedicated to wine. The most original thing: the cellars are accessed through the door of a confessional -yes, with an F-, where we enter a chapel. Among its wines, a pre-phylloxera: Familia Valdelana. It shows the potential of the terroir. 95% Tempranillo and 5% Mazuelo, orchestrated by a myriad of nuances on the nose, very fragrant. Notes of scrubland, black pepper, blueberries and blackberries. On the palate, an explosion of intense forest fruit flavors and very well integrated tannin. The wood is barely perceptible, cohabiting in harmony with the wine.
We continue with the selection of unique wineries, Solar de Samaniego, also in El Ciego. It works on a project called “drinking between the lines” that fuses the culture of wine and literature. Its tanks feature murals by Australian artist Guido Van Helten. A wine to highlight is Cabeza de Cuba, which is released only once a year. Balanced and harmonious with floral, spicy, vanilla and tobacco notes
The Envite wineries with the experience of 12 winemaking families produce unique wines with personality. They develop wines from young and centenary vineyards. Our Titiritero is one of them, wine of tempranillo grape, crianza. Great gastronomic companion. It has notes of book tempranillo: red fruits and balsamic touches of licorice. Ideal for pairing with a wide variety of succulent dishes.