Top 10 winemakers to watch in Spain



Telmo-RodriguezWith fingers in many pies, Basque-born itinerant winemaker Telmo Rodriguez is most strongly associated with Rioja, where he returned to his family estate, Remelluri in Rioja Alavesa after graduating from Bordeaux’s oenology school and gaining experience at Cos d’Estournel and in the Rhône Valley.

Seeking to express “the soul” of the region by working in cherry-picked plots, Rodriguez has made the olive grove- dotted village of Lanciego in the foothills of the Sierra de Cantabria mountains his focus, where he makes a quintet of wines from old bush vines grown on calcerous slopes under the Altos de Lanzaga label.

“My challenge is to find the perfect terroir in Rioja,” he says, describing Lanciego as one of the most “mysterious” villages in the region.

Rodriguez is passionate about bringing abandoned and forgotten vineyards across the country back to life. His winemaking philosophy is a simple one, believing that in order to progress, winemakers need to look and learn from what their ancestors did.

He works with 10 different grape varieties in Rioja and is keen to revive Rioja’s field blend tradition. “I’m trying to reconnect with the Rioja of the past and go back to the human element of making wine from single villages. It’s important that we keep this tradition alive,” he says.

Branching out from Rioja in the mid-‘90s with business partner Pablo Eguzkiza, Rodriguez’ debut wine was an old bush vine Garnacha from Navarra called Alma, meaning “soul” in Spanish.

Thirsty to make wine across the country, he soon expanded his Compañia de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez, and now makes wine in collaboration with local grape growers in Rueda, Ribera del Duero, Toro, Valdeorras, Cigales, Cebreros, Alicante and Malaga, working with indigenous varieties in order to best showcase the diversity and complexity of the country’s terroirs and the exciting, unique wines they result in.

One Response to “Top 10 winemakers to watch in Spain”

  1. nate houston says:

    How is Raul Perez not a part of this list???? Or Alberto Orte???

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