Much like San Vicente, Amancio 2010 looks set to go down as ‘historic’. Named after the first Eguren to grow grapes, it comes from a stunning
vineyard called La Veguilla situated, like all Sierra Cantrabria vineyards, on the left bank of the Ebro. Only the few vines which naturally
produce two bunches of grapes are included in the blend. Enormous amounts of labour go into this wine including a full berry by berry hand
de-stemming, taking 70 people three full days to produce a little over 4000kg of grapes. It is fermented in small oak vats, with no machines
or pumps employed, only gravity used for remontage, before spending 22 months in new French oak barriques. The nose is very fine indeed,
littered with white flowers, tiny red and black berry fruit and mountain herbs. On the palate this is another level of finesse, as sweet mineral
notes are interwoven between fine berry fruit, dancing spices and a gentle note of very fine chocolate. Hugely complex and almost indelible
while at the same time completely effortless. Spellbinding.
There is building work going on at the Egurens’ in San Vicente de la Sonsierra. On a hilltop looking overlooking the town, enormous blocks of rock are being carved from the hill to create over 2kms of cool, calm tunnels. As a way of closing the circle, the very blocks coming out of the ground are being used to build the monastic, light filled winery above. Thin sheets of marble fill the windows like stained glass windows. With North South views over Rioja Alta and the Sierra Cantabrian mountain range it looks set to become quite a facility, giving the team space, a gravity fed winemaking operation, and much easier working conditions. If it helps them to make better wines than their 2010s we are in for fireworks because 2010 is a veritable classic combining deep cool power, suave tannins and an inherent freshness; Marcus Eguren believes it’s the best he can remember. San Vicente and Amancio have glorious lives ahead of them. A bottle of 82 Crianza over lunch with Miguel and Eduardo Eguren proved just how beautifully their style of wine making evolves. This is without a doubt one of the truly great Rioja estates.
Spains most famous wine growing region is seeing something of a revolution. A band of new producers are shunning the traditional methods of production in a effort to gain greater purity of fruit, less dominant oak influence, and individual terroir characteristics. The results are wines that have the ability to age and improve in bottle, that have finesse, character and real elegance.