Our vineyards

The search for those special, unique vineyards that will express the best of La Rioja is as difficult as it is pleasant. So much walking, so much visiting allowed us to feel its diversity, even more, to perceive that the essence of La Rioja, despite its small size, lies in its diversity of lands, climates, vines, landscapes… and therefore of wines, and that what had given La Rioja its name and merit was precisely the mixture of that diversity. Tradition is diversity.

CUATRO CORROS

Right from the start, we found four ‘corros’ (circles) in Villabuena (Rioja Alavesa). Small plots, not necessarily round, are known by that name; due to natural circumstances of lack of profitability they usually contain very old plantations, as the cost of replacing the vineyard takes a long time to recover. And even more so in our case, where we should talk more about ‘corritos’ than ‘corros’, since, even with the smallness that the word ‘corro’ (in Spanish) already implies, they add up to a total of some 3,526 square metres, an area which for a South African like Bryan means little more than a flower pot.

It was our first acquisition, ruinous according to the locals, but affordable given its size, and as expected it provides the quality grapes we were looking for. Bryan hopes that one day he will be able to make a wine that comes exclusively from such ‘corros’; given the diversity of vines -the result, as has been said, of the age and tradition of the plantation-, the outcome will surely be a claret or a rosé.

BARRANCO DEL SAN GINÉS

Among those heroic vineyards I was talking about, after much searching, we found one that filled us with satisfaction because of its enormous possibilities, although the difficulties of its cultivation were not insignificant – “good place to hide” was all that connoisseurs recognized. In the area of Laguardia, of about 13,000 square metres, it was mostly planted in 1935, with the distances between vines typical of the way they were grown at that time, by hand and with horses. At the same time fruit trees were planted to complete the family’s diet. We have counted up to 32 different trees. It is a very steep slope with a very abrupt cut on its eastern edge, from which a stream called San Ginés runs; that is why the property is known as EL BARRANCO DEL SAN GINÉS (del and not de, because what has a name is the stream, not the ravine), and that is how we have named the wine we obtain from it.

Over time, in 2017, this vineyard has been classified as a Viñedo Singular, which is a new category of the Rioja DOCa, which aims to identify those who, due to their geographical and climatic characteristics, etc… – in short, of ‘terroir’ – are a guarantee of very special wines.

Viurco, San Julián

SAN JULIÁN

The Ravine (or Barranco) is located in a place known as Viurco or Biurko, which means between two rivers, the first is the already mentioned, the second is San Julián.

On the outskirts of the Barranco, precisely on the other slope that faces the San Julián River and towards the South, we have acquired a piece of land of about 4,700 square meters formed by three terraces where a plantation of Graciano grape had been carried out. This is a variety of grape from which we hope to obtain freshness and acidity in its youth for the blend of La Nave and perhaps in the future become a very special monovarietal or even a Viñedo Singular.

VERDECILLO

To the south of Laguardia you can enjoy a wonderful view of the village with the Sierra de Cantabria and, in the background, that cloud that forms the so-called cierzo, a north-west wind that overhangs the peaks but does not dare to enter the plain. We familiarly call it ‘the wave’; in South Africa it is called ‘the tablecloth’ and technically it is known as föhn. There we have also acquired a series of small plots of land very close to one another. Verdecillo is the name of the site.  Here Bryan has taken out a mortgage – naturally, before doing so with a house – and hopes to turn them into a Viñedo Singular in the future, as the plantation is already 45 years old.

Verdecillo en Lanciego
Verdecillo en Lanciego

LA VIRGEN

And our last acquisition for the moment: a plot in Lanciego, next to the village, in a place known as La Virgen, planted in 1920. It is a vineyard over a hundred years old, somewhat neglected due to urbanization prospects, which we have been able to rescue from the threat of urban development with a long-term lease and which we are pampering, certain that it has a quality that will make it worthy of being a Viñedo Singular in the near future.