The vineyard is the heart of our wines. Its exhaustive knowledge, the interpretation of its needs and its meticulous treatment mean an inescapable obligation. We use old vines that provide extraordinary qualities to the grapes, and three varieties: tempranillo, graciano and garnacha. The harvest is manual, respectful and expert. The grape, its qualities and hints which keep the mystery of each vineyard, each climate, each environment, each vintage… The challenge is getting to transmit all this to our wines.
We use old vines, as we consider that the balanced yields that they succeed in producing cannot be bettered, since the greater depth of their roots and the larger volume of soil explored by them reduce the effects of both drought and excessive rainfall. They also have the ability to bring greater complexity to the grapes and in turn to the wine.
We use three grape varieties:Tempranillo,Graciano and Garnacha.
The classic Rioja bush vine is made up of three irregular main branches growing directly from the soil and reaching up to 1 metre in height. When a branch breaks, through old age or because it is unstable, it is replaced by a new shoot from the trunk.
It colonises perfectly the space around the vine in its three dimensions and enables the bunches to be extraordinarily well ventilated and spread out from each other.
We consider that this is the best growing technique for our area.
Respect for the natural environment is an obsession in our vine-growing. Grass usually grows freely from the month of October until April and the vineyard borders are maintained with indigenous flora throughout the whole year to enable beneficial insects to complete their life cycle.
Fertilising is kept down to a minimum, most of which comes in the form of manure. Fungal sprays are essentially in the form of sulphur and copper, avoiding where possible synthetic chemical products.
One of the most complex operations and one which requires the greatest effort is choosing which vineyard will go into RODA and on which day the picking should begin.
Between the beginning of the ripening process and the end of the picking, more and more visits are made to each vineyard until these reach a frequency of three times a week. Detailed observations as to each symptom, textures, colours, the taste of the berries and their pips, together with the continual support of our laboratory, enable us to gain an approximate idea of the optimum time of ripeness.
A team of 40 harvesters, who return year after year, pick the grapes by hand, carefully placing them in 18kg crates from vines which have been judged to be at perfect readiness on that particular day.
With rare exceptions, all the vineyards, whether they are our own or not, are harvested by our own pickers so as to have perfect control over the time of the picking and the selection of the bunches on the vines.
It is often the case that two separate pickings, even three, are carried out to ensure that the grapes that are brought in are perfectly ripe.
The crates are brought to the bodega on pallets on trailers or in trucks, and once they are emptied, are meticulously washed before being sent to the next vineyard.
The average yield per hectare is no more than 5,000 kg or 34 hectolitres.
Each grape, during its ripening, should capture, down to the last detail, the landscape in which it is grown, the heat of September, the cool nights of October, the transparency of the beginning of autumn, the shortening days, the north winds as the nights pull in, the fragrance of the herbs in surrounding fields, the sensations in the soil where the grapes grow, the darkness of the subsoil in which the roots penetrate. The tiniest hints mingle to make each vintage different, and our aim consists in knowing how to interpret these and how to bring them out through the wine.