Bodegas Juan Carlos Sancha is located in Rioja Alta, one of the cooler districts of Rioja and the one with the reputation for producing the finest, longest-lived expressions of Rioja. But this bodega is quite different to any other in Rioja, crafting wines that in some ways could be described as modern for Rioja (they spend less time in oak and are more polished and fruitier than the classic styles). Yet, in fact, when it comes to the vineyards everything here is about heritage and time.
Run by Juan Carlos Sancha, a professor of enology at the University of La Rioja, with just five hectares of land, the focus here is on vines of lesser known grapes such as tempranillo blanco, maturana tinta and maturana blanca. He is also a great champion of garnacha (a grape that historically played as significant a role in Rioja as tempranillo does today). These ancient varieties were discovered by Juan Carlos and his university colleague Fernando Martinez de Toda, rescued from extinction, and developed. Professor Sancha then went on to found the first Rioja winery employing these minority varieties in commercial wines.