This 60-hectare property is situated in the heart of Rioja Alta at Torremontalbo where the vines enjoy very favourable conditions. The Sierra de Cantabria mountain range protects vineyards from the north winds, and the altitude here (600 to 750m above sea level) ensures the climate is cooler, which allows the grapes to ripen slowly. The clay-calcareous soils perfectly suit the bodega’s tempranillo, mazuelo and graciano grapes.

Although the Amézola family has owned the land for many generations, the estate had fallen into disrepair until it was carefully replanted in the 1980s by two brothers, Iñigo and Javier Amézola de la Mora. With renewed attention given to the vines, it soon flourished. Tragically, having turned the fortunes around, Iñigo was killed in a road accident in 1999.

His widow Cristina and his daughters María and Cristina Amézola have now taken over the running of the property, continuing to make excellent wines assisted by respected Bordeaux winemaker Georges Pauli, who acts as a consultant.

Grapes are strictly sorted prior to fermentation in temperature-controlled stainless-steel tanks, after which the wines undergo natural malolactic fermentation to soften their acidity. They are then aged in oak in the bodega’s underground cellars, using a mixture of French and American barrels, which gives greater complexity. The bodega takes pride in the fact it ages its wines for markedly longer than the minimum number of months: for instance, the crianza spends a total of 16 months in barrel, before spending a further year in bottle.

The Riojas produced here are classic, elegant examples of their type with fresh, yet dense and spicy fruit characters, and undertones of vanilla. The estate is especially unusual for Rioja in that it owns all of its vines.

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