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REGION: Rioja, Spain
VARIETIES: Viura 90%, Malvasia 10%
VITICULTURE: Organic practices
INFO: In 1970 Luis Cañas changed two hundred years of tradition and became the first winemaker in Rioja Alavesa to bottle his young wine rather than sell it as bulk.
This bold move, and his continued pioneering spirit, has cemented the winery's enviable reputation as one of the most progressive in the region. Sheltered below the watchful Sierra Cantabria, the vineyards are all old, small plots on chalky-clay soils with a dedicated team of vineyard workers carrying out organic practices and a purpose built, fully equipped accommodation block was built for the entire vineyard team in 2006.
With 350 hectares of outstanding vineyards, split across 870 different plots, the viticultural department control every aspect. Each of the plots has its own personality and is categorised and used for different wines according to its characteristics. Vines are situated on slopes and terraces of limestone and clay soil, well exposed to the sun and are at least 60 years old.
Grapes are hand selected and brought to the winery in the smallest tractors in the region. They are hand sorted at on of the wineries two Mistral sorting tables, where Juan Luis Cañas stands watch at each harvest. Fermentation occurs in French Oak Barrels for 17 days before the wine is aged in new French and American oak for three and a half months, with lees, until bottling.
A beautifully balanced example of white Rioja that straddles the styles of the old and the new. Vibrant citrussy Viura is blended with the more weighty Malvasia and the brief barrel maturation adds a honeyed roundness to the crisp lemony fruit. Beautiful golden yellow colour with bright lemon-tinted reflections. Elegant, combining hints of flowers, fruits and hazelnuts. Dry, with just enough acidity to make it fresh and lively with a structured and tasty finish of ripe fruit.