Bodegas Riojanas to launch single vineyard Monte Real

Bodegas Riojanas is to launch a single vineyard Rioja for its Monte Real brand following law changes in the Spanish region that were approved last year.

Monte Real may be a traditional brand but its embracing Rioja’s new rules

During a tasting with the drinks business earlier this year, head winemaker for Bodegas Riojanas, Emilio Sojo, said that the company had a vineyard that was ideal for taking advantage of Rioja’s new ‘vinedos singulares’ (single vineyard) classification.

Called El Monte, the site is a six-hectare plot of particular quality within the 200ha of vineyards the company owns in Rioja’s Cenicero district.

With vines of up to 40 years old planted on clay and limestone soils, Sojo said that the El Monte vineyard was the origin of the Monte Real brand, and would be used to make a vinedos signulares for this label.

Approved in June last year, vinedos singulares classification comes in addition to the existing ‘aged’ classifications of Rioja wines, Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva, and Joven.

Under the classification, producers have to justify the “natural delimitation’ of the vineyard, with vineyards being allowed a yield that is 20% lower than those authorised for the DOCa.

The vineyards have to be manually harvested, and the wines must have full traceability, and pass two stringent assessments for quality, an initial rating and a pre-market valuation.

Although Soja said that the new classification was “positive” for the region, he believes that it will make little difference to the demand for top-end Riojas – at least in the short term – commenting that it was “difficult for the consumer to understand its value”.

In October this year, Bodegas Riojanas put on their first ever London-based vertical tasting of historic vintages from its two key brands: Monte Real and Viña Albina.

Santiago Frías, winery CEO and fifth generation of the family owners, winemaker Natalia Olarte and UK sales manager, Dave Roles from Bodegas Riojanas, chose some of the best vintages from their cellars including the Gran Reserva Monte Real 1978, 1998, 2008 and 2010, alongside the Viña Albina 1978, 1998 and 2008.

Commenting on the tasting Santiago Frías said, “This tasting represents a remarkable comparison of two different styles of winemaking from two of Rioja’s great brands. We want to show the longevity of Monte Real and Viña Albina wines, the difference and diversity of our wines and demonstrate how these wines can improve through the decades.”

He added, “We have not held a tasting of this nature before in UK and London was a natural choice given the importance of the market to Bodegas Riojanas.”

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