martes, 22 de enero de 2013

Bodegas Herederos del Marqués de Riscal


Wines of the Herederos de Marqués de Riscal has always been a leading and pioneering company in the wine producing sector. In 1858, it became the first winery in the Rioja to produce wines following the Bordeaux method and in 1972, it was the first winery to promote the Rueda Designation of Origin, where it produced its famous Marqués de Riscal white wines.

Today Marqués de Riscal sells its products in over 70 countries and its wines have enjoyed the highest international distinctions as well as numerous awards and mentions in the media.

The winery is located in The Village of Elciego (6 km of Laguardia and 25 km form Logroño). Calle Torrea 1,01320 Elciego, Álava


Marqués de Riscal asserts that his wines date as far as 1858, becoming the first winery in the Rioja to produce wines following the Bordeaux method and the first Riscal wine was made in 1862.

It was in 1858 when Camilo Hurtado de Vine zaga, Marques de Riscal was asked by the Alava provinces local government to engage a "maitre de chai" who could initiate the area’s vine growers in the art of cultivating the vineyards and making wine as in the Medoc. (Described by his successors as “diplomat, journalist, freethinker”, Camilo Hurtado owned vineyards and a winery on the Torrea estate in Elciego but had been living in Bordeaux since 1836 in a form of self-imposed exile that was frequent among Spanish liberals at that time.) The appointee was Jean Pineau, winemaker at Chateau Lanessan, who arrived in Rioja Alavesa with 9,000 completely guaranteed young vines of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, and Pinol Noir, with the idea of launching an experimental vineyard.

Pineau’s efforts with various Rioja vine growers bore fruit. They obtained wines of greater consistency and quality, with an unprecedented capacity to age because they were matured in Bordeaux barrels in the end, the most decisive of the innovations brought by Pineau. But barrel aging meant that wines couldn’t be sold immediately as the local growers were used to, so they all quit the project. His contract was not renewed, but the Marques de Riscal employed him, and in 1860, they builted new cellars designed by the architect Ricardo Bellsola, who had studied the leading chais in the Medoc.

That same year, Jean’s son Charles Pineau made the first Bordeaux-style barrels in the cooperage installed by the Marques, and the 39ha (96 acres) of vineyards at Torrea began furnishing, grapes to the new winery. They included 10ha (25 acres) of the French varieties.

Rascal’s long relationship with Cabernet Sauvignon would fuel controversy many years later as the Rioja appellation grudgingly gave the variety “experimental” status, provided its name did not appear on labels. It’s been a different story in Ribera del Duero, which accepted Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Malbec because they have been part of the Vega-Sicilia estate since the 1860s.

Marques de Rascal’s greatest wines, in the first hall of the 20th century, were its so-called Cuvee Medoc, which contained upwards of 60 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon. One of them, the 1945. is considered by many as the greatest red wine ever produced in Spain.

Starting in 1986, Riscal renewed this tradition with its Baron de Chirel cuvee. It contains 15-20 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon, which general manager and chief winemaker Francisco Hurtado de Amezaga calls “Cabernet Riojano”. “It has been here so long that it is fully adapted and is no longer identical to those first vines," he says.

Indeed, according to French author Alain Huetz de Lemps in his 1967 book "Vignobles et Vins du Nord-Ouest de l´Espagne", the fully accepted Garnacha variety has only been in Rioja, brought in from Aragon, since the vineyards were replanted after phylloxera struck around 1900. But Garnacha has been called "native" and Cabernet "foreign".

Cabernet Sauvignon did practically disappear from Marqués de Riscal blends after 1950, but vertical tastings at the winery which has the most complete library of old wines anywhere in Spain prove that, with or without it, the legendary grandes réservas have aged admirably. And their quality was recognized early on, winning gold medals throughout the century of the great exhibitions and a diploma in Bordeaux in 1895.

Baron de Chirel and Gran Reserva have kept up the level, but in recent years the basic Reserva has become a mass-production wine with more than 3 million bottles made every year. Today the new Finca Torrea wine, an interesting Tempranillo Graciano blend and the Gehry cuvée wine are tring to give Marques de Riscal wines a more artisan touch. Also the 2001 150 Aniversario Reserva, made to commemorate first 150 years of the winery is one of those great historic Riscal wines such the 1936, 1945, or 1964. Pungent and lively as the best Riscal wines have always been.

There is still a rosé made in Rioja by Riscal. but no more whites. The decision 40 years ago to move production to the then-forgotten region of Rueda and to base it on the almost extinct Verdejo variety has paid handsome dividends and has indeed been crucial to the rebirth of Rueda. From that base, Riscal has expanded into red wines there, which it sells as Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon. It campaigned strenuously but ultimately in vain, to restrict the Rueda appellation to whites only.


Marqués de Riscal owns a vast network of vineyards around Elciego, mainly Tempranillo, but also Graciano, Mazuelo, and Cabernet Sauvignon. But the 220ha (550 acres) are far from sufficient for what has become a very large winery, so in addition there are 985ha (2,435 acres) under contract with local growers.


Now a days the winery Marques de Riscal has become very famous because of Frank Gehry design of the luxury hotel and restaurant very close to the historic bodega.

In the heart of the Marqués de Riscal wine cellars, this project gives shape to the cellar´s spirit of innovation and tradition all together united in a single building, made using the most modern materials and constituting a true architectural landmark, giving tourist an exceptional setting to live a unique and unmatchable experience

In this complex of around 100,000 m2 devoted to wine making, we can find the oldest of the cellars of Marqués de Riscal, dating from 1858, as well as its later 1883 extension. Surrounded by extensive vineyards, the installations preserve this special charm from its origins. But the best representation of the innovative spirit and the renewed commitment to quality of Marqués de Riscal is the building designed by Frank O. Gehry.

Like the Guggenheim Museum, the building designed by Gehry is covered with titanium. In this case, however, the architect wanted to infuse his work with the signature colours of Marqués de Riscal: pink like the wine, gold like the mesh on the Riscal bottles, and silver like the bottle top.


- Gehry Selection: This Frank Gehry wine is the fruit of a careful selection of Tempranillo grapes from vines over 40 years old. The plot from which the grapes for the Frank Gehry wine come is located to the north of Elciego and selection follows the Marqués de Riscal approach with ripeness analysis, tasting of the grapes on the vine and selection table.

- Barón de Chirel: Barón de Chirel wine first appeared in 1986 as the result of experimental production using a selection of grapes from very old vines, over 40 years’ old, with a very low yield and high quality. From the results of these trials would appear what we could say was the precursor of the so-called “new era” of Rioja wines. This wine is produced on a very limited scale and only in the best vintage years, in which the character of the vineyard, the soil and the variety are expressed as part of a single, harmonious whole. From the 1995 harvest onwards, Riscal make a manual selection of the grapes to be used in this great wine with the installation of sorting tables or “Tri”. Riscal was the first wine cellar to introduce this system in Spain, a landmark in the production of fine quality red wines. Fermentation takes place at a controlled temperature of 26ºC and the maceration period does not exceed 12 days. The malolactic fermentation takes place in wooden vats with a capacity of 20,000 litres and the wine is then aged for 20 months in Bordeaux-style barrels made of American oak. Finally, the wine spends a minimum time of a year rounding off in the bottle before being released for sale.

- Finca Torrea: This wine has been made from Tempranillo and Graciano grapes from the old vineyards surrounding the Torrea estate, where the Marqués de Riscal winery is currently located. The soil is the classic clay limestone of Rioja Alavesa, which has historically provided the best quality wines. The grapes are picked by hand and placed in small crates; manually selected on sorting tables and are then destemmed and crushed. The must is fermented in small stainless steel vats at a temperature which does not exceed 25ºC in order to preserve to the maximum all the character of the fruit. Extraction is achieved through gentle pumping over and a short period of skin-maceration so as to maintain the finesse, elegance and freshness necessary to produce a wine which is pleasant and persistent on the palate. After undergoing malolactic fermentation the wine remains in French Allier oak casks for 18 months followed by a short period of ageing in bottle before its release for sale. Different in style to the wines that Marqués de Riscal have traditionally produced, this wine is more modern in character, with more impact of fruit and fewer balsamic properties, a shorter ageing time in barrel, and in French oak, and a shorter period of bottle ageing. On the palate it still has the Riscal style, perhaps with more structure, but still fresh, elegant and easy to drink. There is a very limited extraction of phenolics during fermentation in order to maintain the wine’s finesse. With regard to the dates of the harvest, all efforts are made to avoid too much delay so as to preserve sufficient levels of acidity to give freshness to the wines and improve their evolution in the bottle.

- Marqués de Riscal 150 Aniversario: The Harvest 2004 is a reedition of this wine launched in 2008 in commemoration of Bodegas de los Herederos del Marqués de Riscal 150 anniversary.

For its elaboration, the bodega’s technical team carefully selected the best grapes of the 2004 harvest, ranked as Excellent vintage by Corporation D.O. Ca. Rioja. Marqués de Riscal 150 Aniversario 2004 has been made to comply with the quality standards of a Gran Reserva.

It has a very Rioja Alavesa style; it’s vigorous and vibrant, always more powerful than the rest of the classic rioja wines, without concession to fashion and trends and keeping its elegance, smoothness and complexity of the wine and improve its aromatic stability during the time spent in the bottle.

Marqués de Riscal 150 Aniversario has been made to comply with the quality standards of a Gran Reserva. For this, Riscal uses grapes from vines over 30 years old, sourced from estate vineyards and the harvests bought in from growers in the Rioja Alavesa district with whom they have longstanding relations, which in some cases go back several generations. After the grapes have been through the sorting tables so as to remove any grapes which are not totally healthy and ripe, alcoholic fermentation takes place, at a controlled temperature of no more than 26ºC with the total time in the vat amounting to 14 days.

Once the blend has been determined for this special type of wine, it was put into oak casks and aged for 36 months, followed by a further 3 years’rounding off in the bottle, thereby completing the process of maturation and polishing of the tannins so as to obtain a rounded, balanced wine which is at the same time powerful and easy for the consumer to drink.

- Marqués de Riscal Gran Reserva: To make their Gran Reserva wines, Riscal use grapes from vines over 30 years old, from their own estate vineyards and bought in from associated local growers. Once the wine destined to become a Gran Reserva has been selected, following the coupage of the wines of the new vintage, it is put into American oak casks where it will age for between two and a half and three years. This is followed by a furtherminimum of three years bottle ageing before release for sale.

- Marqués de Riscal Reserva: Are basically made from grapes from tempranillo vines over 15 years old, grown in the clay-limestone soils of the Rioja Alavesa. This variety withstands oak and bottle ageing well thanks to its good balance of acidity and fine tannin. The Graciano and Mazuelo varieties, whose presence in the blend does not exceed 10%, provide crispness and a lively colour. Fermentation takes place at a controlled temperature of 26ºC and the maceration time is never more than 12 days. Riscal reservas spend around two years in American-oak casks, producing a wine which corresponds to the classic Rioja style: fresh, fine, elegant and very suitable for laying down for many years. Before release for sale it spends a minimum of one year rounding off in the bottle.

- Marqués de Arienzo Crianza: The Marqués de Arienzo red crianza wine, is made from a selection of the best grapes of the tempranillo, mazuelo and graciano varieties, from vineyards located in Laguardia and Elciego.

The grapes are received in the winery at the optimum point of ripeness and then undergo the natural processes of alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in stainless steel vats, with very strict control of the temperature during these processes.

After fermentation is complete the wine passes into American-oak casks where it is aged for 18 months, followed by further ageing and rounding off in the bottle.

- Marqués de Riscal Rose Wine: Marqués de Riscal began making rosé wines in the 1960s, using grapes from young Tempranillo vines less than 15 years´ old, at the time of the cellar´s centenary. This rosé is made by the traditional method of bleeding the must, with a concept of classicism and refinement, achieving a delicacy, freshness and smoothness which is rarely found in this type of wines. The fermentation takes place in stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature of between 14ºC and 16ºC. In order to obtain great fruitiness.

- Próximo: Próximo has been made in the r cellar from grapes grown in their most traditional vineyard. The grapes are picked by hand and fermented at a controlled temperature. This wine expresses all the best characteristics of the area, thanks both to its wonderful fruity character, and its outstanding, polished tannins.


- Marqués de Riscal Limousin: In the D.O Rueda area, Marqués de Riscal has 225 hectares of vineyard in which it grows, among other varieties, the indigenous Verdejo vine. A versatile grape with lots of character and personality, it is well suited to the area’s extreme conditions, making it possible to obtain fresh white or cask-fermented white wines. Verdejo, together with Viura (the white grape from Rioja), is destemmed and cooled, and then macerated in cool conditions so as to extract the maximum aromas from the skins and add texture to the wine. The must, once fined and clear, is left to ferment slowly for 20 days at a controlled temperature of between 13ºC and 15ºC in order to preserve the characteristics of the fruit. After a short maturation time, the wine is bottled during the months of January to March of the following year.

- Finca Montico: This wine, made 100% from grapes of the Verdejo vine, comes from an old estate vineyard located in the Montico district of Rueda. This is a typical poor, stony, gritty-soiled terroir which is ideal for producing the highest quality Rueda Verdejo varietal wines. Yield is very low, with only around 5,000 kilos per hectare and harvesting is performed by hand into small crates with a capacity of 25 kilos. When the grapes reach the winery, they are Cooled and gently pressed without crushing or removing stems. This kind of pressing of whole clusters reduces oxidation of the must to a minimum and helps keep all the aromatic intensity intact. In this way it is possible to obtain free run juice in very small quantities but of an extremely high quality. Next the must is run off or lightly decanted and passes into the fermentation tanks. Fermentation then takes place with the presence of only indigenous yeast strains. This peculiarity gives the wine greater aromatic personality and an original character. After fermentation is complete and a first racking, the wine remains in contact with its fine lees for at least four months. These lees, or remains of inert yeast, are stirred at least once per week so as to remain in suspension.

Over a period of time the lees give off a series of compounds which increase the body, smoothness and complexity of the wine and improve its aromatic stability during the time spent in the bottle. These are white wines which, while not fermented in the cask, remain fresh and youthful for a longer time.

- Marqués de Riscal Sauvignon Blanc: The French variety Sauvignon Blanc, with which Marqués de Riscal makes this varietal white wine originally comes from the Loire Valley region. It was introduced in Rueda by Marqués de Riscal in 1974 and today the winery has 70 hectares of its own vines. It is now one of the varieties authorised by the Rueda appellation Control Board thanks to its great capacity to adapt to its surroundings and to produce wines with high aromatic intensity, good acidic balance and a touch of mineral undertones. The Marqués de Riscal Sauvignon is made according to the same process as their Rueda Verdejo. After a period of cold maceration the must is first extracted and then fined. The slow fermentation takes place at a controlled temperature of between 13ºC and 15ºC, so as to protect and preserve the primary aromas which are such a feature of this variety. Once fermentation is complete, the wine is left on its fine lees in order to increase the sense of volume in the mouth and improve its ageing capacity.

- Marqués de Riscal Rueda: 225 hectares of vineyards planted with, among other grapes, the indigenous verdejo variety. A versatile grape with a lot of character and personality, it is very well suited to the extreme conditions of the region, allowing us to produce fresh young wines or cask-fermented whites. The verdejo grapes, along with the viura, also grown in the Rueda D.O., are stemmed and cooled and left to macerate in order to extract the maximum aroma from the skins and increase the smooth oiliness of the wine. The must, once fined and clear undergoes slow fermentation at a controlled temperature of between 13ºC and 15ºC for 20 days, in order to preserve the varieties characteristic fruitiness.

After a time of maturation the wine will be bottled between January and March in the year following the harvest.


- Riscal 1860: Marqués de Riscal, pioneers in making wines of maximum quality in Rioja and Rueda, has initiated a new adventure with the production of a high expression red wine outside the Rioja appellation. This wine has been created within the framework of freedom from winemaking regulations using carefully selected Tempranillo grapes from the best plots and vines grown in gritty soil in the alluvial lands of the Duero region. This grape gives highly aromatic wines, with good colour, structure and body, freshness and intensity. The Syrah and Merlot varieties, present between them in no more than 15%, bring greater structure and complexity.

During harvesting, in dates decided by the Riscal technical department, only ripe tempranillo grapes which have received good sunshine are accepted, and are picked into crates with a maximum capacity of 18 kilos in order to avoid the grapes splitting open. Fermentation takes place at a controlled temperature of between 24ºC and 26ºC, with short maceration and vatting periods of just one week. The malolactic fermentation takes place in the vat and the wine is then aged for 6 months in new, American-oak Bordeaux-style casks.

Herederos del Marqués de Riscal
- Area under vine: 220ha (550 acres) in addition there are 985ha (2,435 acres) under contract with local growers.
- Average production: 4.5 million bottles
- Adress: Calle Torrea 1,01320 Elciego, Álava
- Contact: Tel: +34 945 606 000;  Fax: +34 945 606 023;

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario