Vanesa Del Rio
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Cantina e Vini
Bodegas Altanza is located in Fuenmayor (Upper Rioja) and was founded in October 1998. It was created with a clear, well-defined purpose: making quality, livelier than classical Rioja wines, and marketing them at a fair price. We thought that the century-long winemaking tradition in our region was something we should be proud of and should be essentially preserved. However, national and foreign consumers, who were becoming more and more knowledgeable, were demanding wines with a different style, and modern requirements concerning hygiene, quality and efficiency were clearly indicating that new technologies should be present in the wine-making process from the very beginning.
Therefore the winery’s architecture was also conceived, as was the project, following a tradition and technology balancing principle.
Tradition is not only reflected in the beautiful main building and French gardens, but also in the variety we have preferred for all our reds, Tempranillo, and certain winemaking features, like the choice of vertical presses or the extra value added to the ageing process by nine 22,000L Allier vats. Besides, three-quarters of our 7,500 casks are made of French oak.
Technology can mainly be seen in our stainless-steel tanks of several sizes, which allows for a better, more flexible “personalization”, all equipped with temperature-control jackets and surveyed by a control panel. We have our own lab and modern wine-storage facilities too.
Our estate spans 300 ha. (740 acres), 220 of which are vineyards. The estate provides sixty percent of the total amount of grapes we need; the rest follows a strict selection process.
We were born as a winery focused on making reserva wines. For the past ten years we have gradually incorporated a rosé, an aromatic white and other kinds of reds. Our wines are expressive and show a good balance between oaky and fruity notes, so they are created to be enjoyed by both the sommelier and the modern consumer who is fond of a good wine to enhance a moment of leisure or a formal meal.
All our reds are 100% Tempranillo. The “queen” of Rioja autochthonous varieties, and the most popular in Spain –though each area gives it a different name–, is doubtless the Tempranillo, because it gives wines a good body and structure. It has moreover a slower evolution tan other varieties, which makes it ideal for ageing. Although its derivation from pinot noir has been questioned, what’s certain is its descent from two varieties which were once at home in the Ebro valley. Their crossbreeding in the Middle Ages gave birth to the Tempranillo. It requires a cool, temperate climate during the year, with high temperatures in the summer for the vine to give optimum results and a good acidity. Though it has a relatively late budding, its berries develop faster than those of other varieties, hence its name (“temprano” means “early”).
At Altanza we have opted for French-oak ageing, though there is a small amount of American casks, since we find the kind of nuances it gives the wine more to our liking. Casks are renewed every 5 years; a strict cleaning protocol is followed during racki