• 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.

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    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

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    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.

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    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…

  • 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.

    Cheers!

  • 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.¨

  • 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).

     

     

     

  • James Suckling has given 93 points to Valdelacierva wine.

    93 puntos valdelacierva reserva por james suckling

    Valdelacierva Reserva, one of the last wines incorporated into the range of wines, has managed to obtain a place on the podium of the best Spanish wines rated by the American wine critic, James Suckling.

    Valdelacierva Reserva has been chosen by one of the most influential critics in the American wine market in his annual tasting of Spanish wines.

    James suckling has given 93 points to Valdelacierva Reserva 2016. This wine adds another award and another example of good wine from Rioja, and it keeps getting awards and good reviews among the experts in the world of wine.

    Another wine from Riojana’s winery that has obtained an excellent score of 91 points is Valdelacierva crianza.

    The excellent work of the enologist Emma Villajos in Valdelacierva winery has only one formula: quality, excellence and teamwork.

  • An appointment in Canada, a new opportunity for Valdelacierva Reserva

    The Canadian monopoly offers in its latest issue of its magazine “Vintages” a European wine special. How could it be otherwise, it makes a tour of the most recognized areas of the world of wine such as Bordeaux, Champagne, Rhone, Porto and with a very special stop in La Rioja. The magazine itself recognizes that Europe is home to many of the best wines as well as the most special regions for producing them. It highlights that it is the area where winemaking began and that it is now at a time where the variety and styles of wines continue to have the best wine collections to choose from. This month and on the occasion of this special, it introduces Valdelacierva Reserva 2014 as the only novelty in Rioja. A wine that highlights “impressive structure, with good tannins and balsamic acidity, in addition to offering flavors of plum and fig, with notes of well-rounded cocoa that makes it ideal to drink from now until 2030 ”.

    Emma Villajos, winemaker at Bodegas Valdelacierva comments: “This good news gives a breather to the difficult situation the wine sector is going through, which finds a very marked break in most of the reference sales markets. Being the only wine introduced into the Canadian Monopoly helps us to continue working along the same lines of quality and with the hope that together we can continue to make the Rioja brand throughout the world. ”

  • We are Singular Vineyard

    Valdelacierva Finca Montepedriza (produced with Grenache) and Valdelacierva Finca Cantogordo (produced with Tempranillo)  are going to be the Valdelacierva wines in this category.
    What does it mean to be Singular Vineyard?
    Requirements:
    1. Grapes coming exclusively from a plot or plots that constitute the (Singular vineyard) Viñedo Singular.
    2. Vinification, ageing, storage and bottling within the same winery.
    3. Minor geographical unit that can comprise a single or several cadastral plots.
    4. Minimum age of the vineyard: 35 years.
    5. Evidence, by means of any legally valid title, of having had the exclusive use of the production of the viñedo singular for a minimum period of 10 years without interruption.
    6. Maximum production: 5,000 kg/ha for red varieties and 6,922 kg/ha for white varieties.
    7. Maximum grape-to-wine ratio: 65%.
    8. Specific Grape Grower’s Card.
    Growing practices
    1. The viñedo singular must be balanced and have limited vigour. During the grape ripening stage, canopy growth should cease completely.
      2. Only a single tipping is permitted.
      3. Harvested manually.
    Documentary control
    1. Before the 30th. of June a statement of intention to make a Singular vineyard (Viñedo Singular) wine.
    2. Statement of amount of wine made.
    3. Specific classification
    4. Differentiated wine movement.
    5. Differentiated back label.
    Physical control
    1. Traceability.
    2. Specific production controls in all vineyards from 1 July to harvest, production changes not being allowed later.
    3. Canopy development controls.
    4. Specific wine stocks.
    5. Specific classification on the verification.
    6. Control of wine movements.
    7. Control of labelling and use of back labels.
    8. Control of batches of approved wine. Excellent rating.
    9. Submission of report.
    10. Recognition of the ministry.
    11. Exclusivity.
  • Harvest 2019 has started in Rioja

    Vintage 2019 has begun for Bodegas Valdelacierva in Rioja. The singular vineyard in Baños de Ebro has been the first estate to be harvested by the winemaker, Emma Villajos. If everything continues like this, we expect a spectacular harvest and excellent wines.
  • 12 Linajes Reserva wins a Silver Medal at Concours Mondial de Bruxelles

    The wine 12 Linajes Reserva 2014, produced by Viñedos y Bodegas Gormaz, has been awarded with a Silver Medal  at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. The wine has been the only one from Soria awarded at the contest celebrated in Switzerland, where a jury of 300 people have tasted 9.000 wines from all the world.

    With this new award, added to its 94 points and “Editor’s Choice” of the American magazine Wine Enthusiast, as well as other medals and international awards, the winery see the fruits of its commitment to quality wines, coming from the terroir and a prephilloxeric vineyard . The winemaker María José García and the winery’s technical team live their passionate work, by producing wines that reflect excellence, respect for the terroir, the old vines and a limited and handcrafted production. Furthermore, everything adds up to this winery. The location so close to the vineyard, the altitude and the weather conditions so variable between day and night, the winery continue working in the line of making the best Tempranillo wines.

  • Valdelacierva Garnacha- Fuera de Serie

    The luxury supplement of the economic newspaper Expansión, Fuera de Serie, turns 20 years and celebrates it by publishing a report about the best wines for a summer night. Our Valdelacierva Garnacha from Rioja (Bodegas Valdelacierva) has been selected for a picnic experience. Such an excellent suggestion!

  • Fenavin. Do we have a meeting?

    Hispanobodegas will be present in the next edition of Fenavin, fair that will take place in Ciudad Real from the 7th to the 9th of May. During the event, we are going to show all our wines and innovations. If you want to meet us, we are going to be waiting for you in Pabellón Gaminides, Street 17, Stand 18, or if you prefer to have a personal meeting with us, we are going to be pleased to organize it.

    Contact: juancarlos.llopart@hispanobodegas.com

     

     

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