Profile of Marqués de Riscal

A great deal of energy and investment has been poured into this noble old bodega in recent years – the result is that the region’s oldest winery is also it’s most modern and innovative in approach! Marques de Riscal was founded in 1858 in Rioja Alavesa, the northern Rioja sub-zone known today for producing wines of great structure and aging potential. Riscal has been pioneers from the start in this great region – they were the first to introduce the Bordeaux style vinification system and their original bodega, built in cut stone strongly resembles the style of a Medoc Chateau. They were one of the first wineries to plant Cabernet Sauvignon in Rioja, which has traditionally been the homeland of Tempranillo. So it’s quite fitting that Paul Pontallier of Chateau Margaux fame has been advising this iconic winery in recent years.

Marques de Riscal is the realization of a dream by Don Camilo Hurtado de Amezaga, who was driven by the devastation of the Bordeaux vineyards by the louse phylloxera in the 19th century. Don Camilo saw an unrealized potential in the land we now know as Rioja Alavesa for quality wine production. His small family team launched the winery in 1858 and subsequently released their first vintage in 1862. There were few producers in Rioja during this century, the de Amezaga family were one of the first to plant Tempranillo vineyards, which now cover the entire region. In 1883, their original cellar was extended to cope with the increased demand as their wine started to find fame across Europe. The family’s biggest achievement, however, was to win the Diploma of Honor of the Bordeaux Exhibition in 1895, they were the first non-French wine to do so! Marques de Riscal went from strength to strength in the 20th century, launching a new style of Rioja wine – Baron de Chirel – in 1986.

They have continued their outward-looking approach into the millennium, building a leading luxury hotel and spa resort that launched in 2006. Designed by Frank O. Gehry, (who also designed the Guggenheim in Bilbao) its spectacular marriage of traditional and avant-garde design has drawn visitors from across the globe, keen to learn more about this fascinating region and has undoubtedly boosted the image of Rioja enormously. Another first for Marques de Riscal, in 2011 the hotel’s restaurant was awarded its first Michelin star, that same year a landmark auction was held in Beijing of 100 vintages of Marques de Riscal, dating back to 1862. But for all this company’s impressive architecture and modern equipment and approach, at heart, Marques de Riscal is a family outfit, with the only real concern being producing excellent Riojas at a fair price. Their whites, from fruit grown in the Rueda region, have been consistently good in recent years and the Riojas under the Marques de Riscal label is always excellent: soft, elegant wines which compare well to claret and are delicious. However, their flagship wine, Baron de Chirel is truly something special: rich but structured and firm in its youth, it offers outstanding drinking with 5-year bottle age. The problem is, with wines as good as these, who could wait?

Wines produced

  • Gehry Selection

    100% Tempranillo. Produced from old vines in the Rioja Alavesa region, the wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks, and then aged in American oak for 22 months. After a further three years in bottle, the wine is released in 2006. The flagship wine of the property!

  • Baron de Chirel

    A blend of Tempranillo and other varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks, and then aged in French oak for 18 months. After spending a short period in the bottle another year in bottle, the wine is released. The 'cuvee prestige' of Marques de Riscal, with great ageing potential.

  • Finca Torrea

    A varying blend of Tempranillo and Graciano. The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks, and then aged in French oak for 18 months. After spending a short period in the bottle, the wine is released. A fruiter, more accessible wine from the property that is designed to early drinking.

  • Marques de Riscal 150 Aniversario (current vintage on release 2001)

    85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano and 5% other varieties. The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks, and then aged in American oak for 32 months. After a further three years in bottle, the wine was released. A special anniversary release of the property.

  • Marques de Riscal Gran Reserva

    A varying blend of Tempranillo, Marzuelo and Graciano, from 30 + year old vines in the region. The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks, and then aged in American oak for 32 months. After a further three years in bottle, the wine is released.

  • Marques de Riscal Reserva

    A varying blend of Tempranillo, Marzuelo and Graciano. The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks, and then aged in American oak for 18 months. After a further period of ageing, the wine is released. A wine for early consumption.

  • Marques de Arienzo Crianza

    A varying blend of Tempranillo, Marzuelo and Graciano. The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks, and then aged in American oak for 18 months. After a further period of ageing, the wine is released. A wine for early consumption.

  • Marques de Riscal rose

    100% Tempranillo. Produced in the traditional method, a light maceration in stainless steel, the juice was run off and bottled. A fresh, fruity rose for immediate drinking.

  • Marques de Riscal Limousin

    100% Verdejo. The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks, and aged in French oak for 6 months. The estate's flagship white wine from the Rueda region.

  • Finca Montico

    100% Verdejo. The wine is produced from grapes grown in estate vineyards, fermented in stainless steel tanks, and aged on the lees for 5 months.

  • Marques de Riscal Sauvignon Blanc

    100% Sauvignon Blanc. The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks, and aged on the lees for 5 months.

  • Marques de Riscal Rueda

    100% Verdejo. The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks, and bottled in spring 2012. The entry level white for Marques de Riscal.

  • Riscal 1860

    85% Tempranillo, 15% Merlot and Syrah. Produced from grapes grown in the Toro region of Spain. The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks, and aged in 50% American oak for 6 months.

Winery details

Marqués de Riscal

C/ Torrea, 1, 01340 El Ciego
Alava
Spain
Tel +34 941 606 000
Fax +34 941 606 023

Appellation
La Rioja (Red crianza, reserva, gran reserva, Baron de Chirel), Castilly y Leon (Tempranillo single varietal) and Rueda (Whites)
Founded
1858
Area under vine
Area under Vine: 2153 hectares (1500 hectares in Rioja DO.C. 455 in Rueda D.O, 198 in Toro D.O
Age of vines
30 years+
Winemaker
Francisco Hurtado de Amezaga
Owner
De Amezaga family
Production
3 million litres per annum
Grape varietals
Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvigon, Graciano, Marzuelo, Sauvignon Blanc, Viura, Verdejo

More information

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