• Wine-grower’s Diary: Harvest

    The wait is over

    It hasn’t been as easy growing cycle: Spring frosts, storms in June, the threat of a sudden cold front, or gota fria, with the sudden violent rainfall they can bring…but the wait has been worth it because we’ve had two magical weeks with pleasant temperatures during the day and colder nights, and Mother Nature has rewarded us with our Tudelilla Garnacha, perfectly ripe and with a good alcoholic strength, remarkable fruit and all ready to get into the winery and turn into wine. The moment has arrived. It’s the 15th October and we get up at the crack of dawn so we can be in position in the Tudelilla vineyard at 07.45 just like every day of the harvest.

    Family, the harvest is underway!

    The day is starting to dawn but it’s still dark outside when the team of harvest pickers arrives. They are eight in total, but they’re joined by the Valdelacierva women’s team (Julia, Lucia, Allende and Emma), plus Fernando and José Luis (Cuchara) the viticulturist. We are all part of the team which looks after our most treasured estate throughout the year round, and time flies by because we’re so excited to be harvesting the fruit in Montepedriza. We’re still taking all necessary precautions and keeping a safe distance from each other because of Covid. Our team’s health comes first.

    At last, the grapes are in the winery

     Between 8 and 10 o’clock in the morning and with an outside temperature of 9ºC, we manage to manually harvest the whole estate: seven boxes full of grapes which will return to the winery in a temperature-controlled lorry (where they’ll remain for 24 hours) to preserve all their aromatic properties and avoid any oxidation. Once the grape bunches arrive at the selection table, each berry is checked for imperfections and destemmed manually by hand before going into 700 litre wooden vats or tinas. By 20 October all the must is in the vats and slowly beginning to ferment, with manual punching down of the cap by José and Sergio who don’t take their eyes off the vats until it’s time to rack off the wine.



  • Montepedriza 2019, new wine

    • Individuality, a sense of place and a loyal reflection of the countryside are the defining characteristics of the unique wine range from the Riojan winery.
    • 100% Garnacha, Montepedriza comes from a unique estate in the village of Tudelilla.

     Bodegas Valdelacierva is proud to present the first of its Unique Vineyard wines: Montepedriza 2019. This Garnacha-based wine comes from a unique estate in the village of Tudelilla, and has been included in the ¨Single Vineyard¨ category by the Rioja appellation’s Regulatory Council, a classification which places value on vineyard sites, or terroirs, which lend essential qualities to the wines and which helps them stand out from those around them. Montepedriza 2019 is just such a wine; a wine full of character which doesn’t just reflect the rigorous selection criteria which Valdelacierva use when they select the estates they work with, but also the winemaking and ageing processes used by the winery which respect the true character of a unique vineyard and allow it to express itself to the full.

    Montepedriza, the vineyard and the wine

    100% Garnacha, Montepedriza 2019, transmits authenticity and care for the land, and all the delicacy of handmade luxury. It is an artisanal wine, reflecting the unique characteristics of the estate, and by necessity production is limited.

    The Montepedriza estate, in Tudelilla (in Rioja Oriental or Eastern Rioja), has organically poor soils covered with stones. The high drainage capacity of these soils allows the vine’s roots to penetrate deeply into the ground, which is especially beneficial for the development of the vine, and especially for the Garnacha variety. The vineyard, balanced and of limited intensity in terms of growth, was planted in 1935 and gives quite low yields in the region of 2,400 kg per hectare (less than half the maximum yield permitted by DOCa Rioja’s Regulatory Council.

    All these characteristics, coupled with Valdelacierva’s very careful and painstaking approach when making Montepedriza, ensures an excellent Garnacha-based red wine from Rioja at the end of the process.

    Harvest is manual (this 2019 vintage took place during the first week in October), with the grape bunches collected in boxes and transported to the winery in a chilled lorry. Vinification takes place in 700 litre, open-topped wooden tinos or vats; while ageing is carried out in 500 litre French oak casks and lasts 15 months. Finally, the wine then spends a further 15 months in bottle before it leaves the winery.

    Tasting Montepedriza 2019

    The wine is an intense and brilliant ruby red. Complex and very intense aromas on the nose, particularly floral notes and dark fruit. A swirl in the glass to aerate the wine and the wine gives off more herbal notes of thyme, fennel and other wild, aromatic mountainside plants. The wood is well integrated, blending subtly into the background with toasted aromas, cocoa and black pepper. Long on the palate, the wine has pronounced tannins which are nicely rounded and velvety smooth. Strong, vertical attack, with marked acidity, pleasing texture and a lasting finish.

    The Unique Vineyards of Valdelacierva

    In the words of Emma Villajos, Enologist at Valdelacierva: “uniqueness is a broad concept, which each person interprets in a slightly different way. In our winery, we have been working for many years with rigorous set of guiding principles which put the focus firmly on the quality and uniqueness of the wines.¨ A professional bursting with curiosity, and a dynamic personality, Emma adds ¨we preferred to present the wines from these single vineyard sites as ¨Unique Vineyards¨ because we want to continue on the same path we have been treading, and structure the range of wines according to our own quality standards and the demands and goals that we have set ourselves.¨

    For Emma Villajos, enologist and alma mater of Bodegas Valdelacierva, this approach to winemaking is not new, and for several vintages now she has been in charge of caring for and overseeing the work on all the plots for the winery’s wines. In fact, this professional has simply continued her approach to winemaking with the same passion, the same rigorous focus on quality, and a loyalty to the land and the individual characteristics of both the estate and the grape variety and its terroir.

    “It’s about choosing your own, unique path, in the search for the highest quality and uniqueness”.

     About Bodegas Valdelacierva

    Valdelacierva is more than just a winery. For several years now, the wealth, authenticity and personal character of each of its vines has been written into its wines’ DNA. Briñas, Baños de Ebro, San Vicente de la Sonsierra, Tudelilla….these are some of the most important areas where the winery’s vineyards are located (it is one of the Riojan wineries with the highest number of registered Single Vineyard (Viñedo Singular) sites. Passion and respect for a careful and methodical approach to winemaking and terroir ensures that excellence is not just measured in terms of results, but forms an intrinsic part of the approach at Valdelacierva.

  • Wine-grower’s Diary – part 4

    Another crack at the fungi

    June is a vital month for the proper development of the plant, and now is the time when we need to slip our boots on every day and pace every inch of our Garnacha vineyard. We begin the month with a second phytosanitary treatment to stop possible fungal diseases like mildew or powdery mildew. As always, in our coveted Montepedriza Garnacha we only use sulphur and copper: a 100% organic approach for one of our top vineyard plots.

    Farewell, secondary  shoots

    During the second week of the month we begin the arduous but important task of trimming the vines, which consists of eliminating all those secondary shoots which could compete with the fruit-bearing shoots, or encourage an unwanted microclimate around the grape bunches (in terms of a lack of ventilation and increased humidity) which, in turn, might encourage disease or an uneven and incomplete ripening of the fruit.

    All work and no play…

     It’s our favourite moment for various reasons. The weather is perfect for enjoying the vineyard; the flowering of the vines makes for an explosion of colour and aromas; we begin to get the first glimpse of what our harvest will look like…and above all we get a reward for a job well done: the barbecue in the vineyard with our Montepedriza Garnacha 2018. What more could we ask for? What’s more, in this very dry year June has seen a bit more rain, which will help us better manage the next stages of flowering and fruit set.


  • 12 Linajes Finca los Arenales, video

    In this video, the winemaker of 12 Linajes Finca los Arenales's wine tastes one of most special wines of Viñedos y Bodegas Gormaz winery: 12 Linajes Finca los Arenales.

    Click here to watch the video

    This wine forms part of our specially selected, Single Vineyard (Viñedos Únicos) range which comes from various plots around the hamlet of  Miño de San Esteban.

    The wine is made entirely from 100% Tempranillo grapes, and the principal characteristic of this wine is that the soil the vines are grown in is sandy soil.

    12 Linajes Finca los Arenales is an intense ruby red colour. It has a very intense nose with lots of red fruit, with touches of undergrowth, brush and subtle toasted notes typical in wines like this which have been aged in 500 litre French oak barrels.

    Intense on the palate, this is also a very fresh wine, which is a characteristic of the soil the vines have grown in. It’s a wine with very gentle, velvety smooth tannins. A perfect wine for pairing with any kind of meat or rice dish, game or cheeses.


    The rain that doesn’t come

    As far as the climate goes, we are still suffering from a big shortage of rainfall, which means our water reserves in the soil are diminishing day by day. Add to this some lower than usual average temperatures in May. These factors mean the plant’s vegetative growth is slower than in other years, marking a total delay in the vine’s phenological development of just over ten days.


    The importance of roots

     As good, old Garnacha with a root system which stretches down more than a metre and a half below ground, our Montepedriza plot is bearing up easily in this dry year. But as we tend the vines in these tricky times, our job is to help them get through this dry patch as best they can, and part of that means eliminating any other external vegetation that could compete for scarce water resources.

    Clear the ground….and celebrate! 

    So this month it’s time to work the soil and reach for our grass strimmers again, to help make sure all the available water goes to our Garnacha vines. And we’re getting ourselves ready for the next task…the one planned for 1 June: the summer

  • Wine-growers´s diary

    After an unusually dry autumn and winter, now is the time for traditional preventive treatments in the vineyard.

    Finca Montepedriza valdelacierva viñedo único de rioja

    Parcel name: Montepedriza

    Vines: 86 years old

    Grape variety: Garnacha

    Soil type: Sandy loam with a generous covering of stones

    Training system: Bush vines

    Vine density: 3,000 plants/Ha

    Altitude: 625 metres above sea level

    Parcel size: 0.92 Ha

    April rainfall: Historic average: 44.03 litres/m2; 2021: 5.9 litres/m2

    April temperature: Historic average: 10.15ºC; 2021: 10.5ºC

    April relative humidity: 62%

    The rain that never arrives

    April showers as the saying goes. But so far 2021 has been a dry year, with very low rainfall in winter and spring. In autumn and winter (from the end of leaf fall in 2020), we scarcely had 100 litres of rain, while so far this spring we’ve only seen 18 litres. Despite the dry conditions budbreak has been normal, and here in Montepedriza we’re already seeing shoots of between 5-10cm.

    The battle against powdery mildew

     Alongside our grower José Luis, now is the best time to apply the first sulphur treatment for powdery mildew. It’s very important to time this to coincide with the first shoots appearing, because this is when the fungus, which has spent the winter in a vegetative state as mycelium inside the vine bud, begins to develop and produce conidias which, carried by the wind, can spread the disease to all of the plant.

    Tender loving care

    The Garnacha from the Montepedriza parcel is very special. That’s why we look after it so well at every stage and apply sulphur very carefully using a backpack sprayer. This helps keep the use of heavy machinery in the vineyard to a minimum and avoid compacting the soil. The only vehicle allowed in our Garnacha vineyard is the tractor which we use for tilling the soil, otherwise everything else is done manually. We’re so attached to this great vineyard of ours that wherever we can we like to get personally involved.

  • Wine-grower’s Diary

    In this new series, we’ll show you life in the vineyard month-by-month in one of the viticultural jewels of Rioja Oriental where Garnacha takes on a personality all of its own.

     Bodegas Valdelacierva is the Riojan project of the Hispanobodegas winery group. Although its base is in the heart of the Rioja Alta sub-zone (Navarrete), the passion and non-conformist approach which guides the winery’s technical team took them further a field, and led them to a parcel of very old Garnacha in the village of Tudelilla (photo 3): a jewel in the middle of Rioja Oriental, planted 86 years ago and tended with wisdom and care by the rough, hardened hands of José Luis Sáenz (photo 2), owner of the vineyard. The name itself, Montepedriza, gives us a good idea of the structure of its stony soil (photo 4). An organically poor soil which forces the well-trained roots to dig deep for nourishment and confers on the fruit its unique character.

    fernando ligero Emma Villajos y José Luis de bodegas valdelacierva rioja garnacha tudelilla

    We’ll discover more about the work in the vineyard over the next few months. The privilege of learning firsthand from Fernando Ligero (photo 1), head of viticulture at Hispanobodegas, how a vineyard of these characteristics is farmed, will help us appreciate the true value of the wine it produces. We’ll appreciate the effort needed to tend each vine individually, and transport the essence of its exquisite fruit to the winery. Once there, it’s for Emma Villajos (photo 2), the group’s head winemaker, to capture the spirit of this uniquely suggestive Riojan Garnacha in the final wine.

    We’d encourage you to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to follow the evolution of such a prestigious vineyard. As well as the day-to-day tasks, you’ll see how more unexpected challenges are dealt with through the calm patience of an experienced and confident winegrower.


    Parcel name: Montepedriza

    Vines: 86 years old

    Grape variety: Garnacha

    Soil type: Sandy loam with a generous covering of stones

    Training system: Bush vines

    Vine density: 3,000 plants/Ha

    Altitude: 625 metres above sea level

    Parcel size: 0.92 Ha

    March rainfall: Historic average: 44.03 litres/m2; 2021: 14 litres/m2

    March temperature: Historic average: 10.15 ºC; 2021: 8.8 ºC

    descripción de la finca montepedriaza rioja tudelilla garnacha valdelacierva


    February 2021

    On 18 February – accompanied as ever by our dog Luka (photo 5), who loves the countryside at Montepedriza and enjoys running up and down the rows – we pruned the vines. The weather was perfect, with an average temperature around 15ºC and relative humidity of 48%, which helps stave off the much-feared wood diseases caused by various types of fungi. Our approach is to leave one spur per arm and two visible buds. In this way we are able to control the amount of fruit the plant produces and achieve an optimum distribution of clusters, all of which helps the grapes to ripen uniformly.


    March 2021

    At the end of March, taking advantage of the 10 litres of rain that fell the previous week, we decided to till the soil and add a little organic fertilizer to compensate for the nutrients the plant extracted from the soil in the previous growing season. In this way, we leave the vine prepared and the row grass-free ready for budbreak. Of course, our vines are farmed 100% organically, so when we work the soil we alternate between using the in-row cultivator and cutting back the natural ground cover, depending on the time of year and rainfall. As always happens when we are in Montepedriza, we had to wait for Luka who had gone off on a jaunt into some neighbouring vineyards! Fortunately for us, we had a bottle of our Garnacha to hand…

  • When choosing small means choosing better

    victor de la serna valdelacierva vino rioja el mundo

    More is better. In the world of Spanish gastronomy, this belief has helped generate large quantities – of wine, of olive oil, of ham….- but it’s also to blame for a lot of mediocrity. We’ve discussed the tendency on these pages on several occasions, alongside the countermove away from mass production and towards making less but of higher quality; discarding more industrial processes to focus on the artisanal.


    Scarcely a month ago, we reported on the complaint from the small producers’ association, Family Wineries of Rioja (Bodegas Familiares de Rioja), highlighting the fact that that over the last ten years, 53 wineries and almost 3,000 winegrowers (DOCa Rioja) have disappeared, ¨thanks to policies which prioritise quantity over quality, an excessive bureaucracy, and a lack of institutional support for the family business model.¨


    It’s true: small businesses don’t get much support, but all over Spain the ones that are surviving – and not just through this year of pandemic, when wine sales in Spain have fallen more than in any other country thanks to such a high reliance on sales to the hospitality sector, which has been closed pretty much everywhere – are doing so precisely because they are focused on quality and authenticity.


    Another, perhaps even more challenging path, is that of large winery groups which decide to shrink, or downsize, in order to focus on developing more premium wines – with higher value added – from a single vineyard, or smaller wine-growing area (paraje), or from very old vines and using more natural winemaking methods. A couple of years ago in EL MUNDO we took a closer look at one of these (rare) groups which deliberately sets out to narrow its focus, and we have just tasted their wines again. Theirs is an original and encouraging story which other wineries should take note of.


    The group in question is Hispanobodegas, created a few years ago by bringing together the Valdelacierva winery in Rioja, Gormaz from the eastern end of Ribera del Duero around Soria, and Garcigrande from DO Rueda, and the original plan was for fairly large production of a range of mid-priced wines. Not any more, at least not in the first two wineries, although the refining process doesn’t seem to have got underway yet in Rueda.


    To give you an idea of scale, between Valdelacierva and Gormaz – the former wine cooperative in the village of San Esteban de Gormaz, privatized in 2004 – the group has more than 400 hectares under vine. Bigger is best, as they like to say around these parts: with that amount of vines planted, at a conservative estimate, if it wanted to the group could produce over 3 million bottles every year across the two regions.


    Another important factor in the company’s makeover has been the conscious decision to avoid 1990s, or Parker-style wines which have had so many supporters and practitioners, especially in Ribera del Duero. The reader will know what I am talking about: wines like luxurious soups of oak. Instead, the team have carried out a detailed study of their excellent viticultural heritage to help identify the vines with the best potential for making refined wines packed with personality: through close study of soils and orientation, careful blending of grapes in modestly-sized cuvees or, in some cases, wines made from grapes from a single parcel.


    A couple of years ago when we first tasted the wines, there were fewer single plot bottlings but now, with the new Rioja rules in place, the winery has registered ten Single Vineyard wines (Viñedos Singulares, although Hispanobodegas prefers the term únicos, or unique), which they are beginning to sell in unusually limited batches of 1,000, 2,000, or 3,000 bottles.


    The Valdelacierva winery, based in Navarrete, has its prize sites in the Sonsierra and Rioja Alavesa but has also added some parcels of old Garnacha vines in Tudelilla. Gormaz, in the highest, coldest, most easterly portion of Ribera, has its key vineyards in and around villages like Atauta, Alcubilla de Avellanada which are beginning to acquire a reputation in wine circles.


    Women, who thanks to their recognized sharper sense of taste and smell are playing an increasingly important role in the development of Spain’s vineyards and wineries, play an important role in this company. Two of them, Raquel Ruiz and the enologist Emma Villajos, hosted a tasting in Madrid the other day which showcased a broader range of the group’s wines whilst demonstrating that they have managed to preserve those welcome virtues which we discovered back in 2019: a delicate handling of the grapes (using large wooden vats and barrels), limited extraction, and used French oak to leave a more delicate imprint on the wine.


    In the midst of so much negative news in the world of wine – we’ve seen reports of more than one serious situation (France) – this reencounter served as a welcome reminder of what is possible, an example of a Spanish winery consciously tacking back towards quality and terroir in the midst of a pretty rocky domestic wine scene.


    From the group’s Riojan winery, I was particularly impressed by the Valdelacierva Grano a Grano, a Tempranillo from the La Botija estate in Baños de Ebro, where the grapes are destemmed individually by hand (hence the grano a grano name) to keep them whole and ensure a perfect intracellular maceration, and the refreshing Valdelacierva Montepedriza, one of the winery’s unique vineyard wines made from 85 year old Garnacha vines planted in Tudelilla. Under its 12 Linajes brand, the Gormaz winery also makes a noteworthy Grano a Grano wine with grapes from the now legendary Valdegatiles paraje in Atauta. We’ll soon also be able to buy the 12 Linajes Senda de la Estación 2019, a new wine with the finesse of a top Burgundy.


    For the moment these wines are that well known, but they are well worth seeking out…



  • The importance of choosing when to prune

    we´re sharpening our shears for one of our most important pruning operations: the old vines in Soria which we use for our top wine, 12 Linajes.

    With the plant in a dormant state, now is when we start our winter pruning which will shape production for the next harvest. This year we´ve enjoyed a fantastic winter from a viticultural perspective, with low temperatures keeping pests and fungi in the vines to a minimum.

    At the pruning stage, we also take into account other factors to ensure an optimum result. Weather, for example – it´s important to avoid pruning when it´s foggy, raining, or on days with high relative humidity. A lot of vine diseases are transmitted via wounds caused during pruning, and days with high relative humidity make it easier for fungi to enter the vine´s woody tissue via these wounds. The position of the vineyard and its orography is also important. The colder areas of the vineyard are normally pruned at the end of the winter in order to delay budbreak and avoid frosts which, as we know well, can have a disproportionate impact on young vines as opposed to old, and can have a greater impact on more early-ripening varieties.

    All this knowledge and vineyard know-how really comes to the fore when you know your vineyard inside out and you look after it with care and dedication. The results are the best grapes which give the best wines, in our case 12 Linajes.


  • Snow in the vineyard

    This week, Rioja was covered in a blanket of snow, including many vineyards. How does snow help the vines?

    The vegetative state of the plant means the vine´s bark can offer shelter to insects and fungi. The combination of cold and snow helps to eliminate them so that when the plant begins to bud again it´s in a perfect state of health.

    What are the main benefits of these snowfalls?

    Hydrological: snow falls gradually and melts gradually, which means the ground slowly absorbs all the moisture and can use it more effectively;

    Cleansing: snow and ice kills insects and fungi and the plant is cleansed;

    Healing: during the pruning stage, the scarring left on the plant can be an entry point for disease, but low temperatures and snow help to create a layer of scar tissue on the plant which prevents disease getting in.

    So, fingers crossed the old saying comes true: ¨Year of snows, year of plenty.¨

  • Valdelacierva Rosé 2020, the free-run rosé wine from Riojan garnacha

    The youngest, most light-hearted wine from the Valdelacierva winery is now on the market and is one of the best rosé wines from Rioja made exclusively from the garnacha grape. The “El Recuenco” estate in Tudelilla, at 600 metres above sea level, is the home of the garnacha grapes that go to make this rosé from Valdelacierva; a wonderful example of the variety, not just because of the characteristics of the estate, but also the winemaking process itself.

    Valdelacierva Rosé is a free-run rosé wine, with no mechanical pressing in the winery, and made with great attention to detail. From careful selection of the fruit in the vineyard, to smaller details such as the decision to bring forward the harvest in the Tudelilla in order to have greater control over alcoholic strength and ensure a more expressive wine with a firmer floral and fruit profile. For added volume and unctuosity, the wine has also undergone bâtonnage on its lees in the winery twice a week for four months. This process helps to naturally free up the polysaccharides present in the membrane of the yeasts which drive the fermentation process and give the wine an added roundness.


    Winery oenologist, Emma Villajos: “The sum of all the various individual actions during the winemaking process is perhaps what makes this rosé so special and successful. The care taken at every stage, and the striving to improve quality with every vintage drives us all forward in a search for excellence in our wines. For us, it´s about winemaking as an art form.¨

    We´ve now enjoyed three vintages of Valdelacierva Rosé, and as well as recognition and prizes, the winery is very proud that it has been chosen by Naomi Campbell´s “Fashion for Relief” NGO as one of the wines to accompany their annual solidarity dinner.

    The Riojan winery´s rosé has a simple but elegant label which highlights, through small detailing, the winery´s characteristic ¨V¨ brand, which represents: Valour, Vineyard and Valdelacierva (in honour of the winery). It is presented in a 75cl burgundy bottle.

  • The unique vineyards of Valdelacierva

    The unique vineyards of Valdelacierva

    Enrique  Calduch, Madrid

    In a few days, the wines from the Unique Vineyards of the Riojan winery Valdelacierva go on the market. They are the result of the zoning process launched by the Regulatory Council of DOCa Rioja a few years ago . This allowed that, in addition to the three historical areas of Rioja Alta, Alavesa and Oriental, wines from individual areas and villages with recognisable and definable characteristics might also be specifically highlighted. At the top of the quality pyramid, the highest level of recognition is enjoyed by the Viñedos Singulares, or Single Vineyard category, usually small plots that, due to their soil conditions, orientation, limited production, old vines, or manual harvesting… are in some way special.

    Many Rioja producers set out to identify these vineyards so that they could certify them with the Regulatory Council and start bottling specific wines from them. In many cases, in a large vineyard it was possible to identify some smaller individual plots that met the required conditions.

    This is the case of Valdelacierva. For many years the winery has been committed to producing premium wines with greater added value, and it was logical that it should figure in the Viñedos Singulares category at the top of the pyramid. In this case through its Viñedos Únicos wines, which include Valdelacierva Monte Pedriza 2019, 100% Garnacha, and Canto Gordo 2018, made with Tempranillo, both of which will reach the market in March. The winery also has two high-end vineyards, although they are not formally included in the Viñedos Singulares category, which produce the Valdelacierva Garnacha 2018, and the Special Edition 2017 which is an equal blend of Maturana, Garnacha and Tempranillo varieties. This wine will be released a little later in the year as the house winemaker, Emma Villajos, wants the wine to spend a couple more months in bottle for a more rounded finish.

    This young woman, an experienced winemaker with a long pedigree, is one of the winery’s strongest assets. Normally the best Rioja vineyards are in the hands of lifelong winegrowers, who earn their living from their vines and are very reluctant to sell them, hence the only solution is to form partnerships. Long-term contracts and paying dearly for the best grapes. Villajos selects the vineyards and special plots she wants to work with, negotiates an agreement, and then makes the wines. A sound and effective approach that has led to her current role as winemaking supervisor for the entire Hispanobodegas group, of which Valdelacierva forms a part, and which includes two other wineries: one, Viñedos y Bodegas Gormaz, at the Sorian end of Ribera del Duero and another,  Garcigrande, in Rueda.

    But Valdelacierva is the group’s flagship project, and it is able to source fruit from several plots in Rioja Alavesa, specifically from San Vicente de la Sonsierra, and also from Tudelilla in Rioja Oriental, where the best Garnachas are to be found. A great example is Valdelacierva Garnacha 2018, a very expressive and intense wine, full of very rich, ripe fruit and accompanied by great minerality on the nose. In the mouth it is rounded and robust, smooth tannins (27 euros). And from a small plot within the estate comes Montepedriza 2019, from vineyards planted 103 years ago. The beautiful violet hues catch the eye when it’s poured, followed by an elegant and subtle nose, but with underlying nerve and punch. On the palate it is powerful, wide and long with an elegant force (65 euros). The Canto Gordo 2018 Tempranillo from Rioja Alavesa impresses on the nose with its extraordinary complexity. Mature fruit, spices like cinnamon, and wonderful cigar box notes; superb in the mouth, balanced, centered and with a lingering long finish. An incredible wine (65 euros). Finally we have the Valdelacierva Limited Edition with the blend  of the three varieties (tempranillo, garnacha y maturana). Heaps of ripe fruit, Mediterranean undergrowth peppered with rockrose and eucalyptus. The mouth is structured and strong, with a very long, chewy finish. (38 euros).




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