2016: a ‘showcase’ vintage at Finca Valpiedra

The vintage in Rioja looks very good after at least three consecutive clearly anomalous vintages. In this sense, 2013 was an atypical vintage, more in line with the usual ones until the end of the eighties of the last century: cold and with difficult harvests well into October, which had little or nothing to do with the usual ones of the 21st century.The weather is warmer and earlier and in line with climate change. In fact, in that vintage Familia Martínez Bujanda decided not to bottle Finca Valpiedra because we understood that it did not measure up.

In 2014, Rioja suffered from serious health problemsHowever, the policy of early harvests, supported by the microclimate of Finca Valpiedra and Familia Martínez Bujanda’s policy of controlling the alcohol content and not falling into the ‘temptation’ of our maturities, allowed us to avoid major problems and we managed to harvest our grapes before the rains and heat at the end of September formed the ideal habitat for the development and rapid spread of botrytis. In fact, Lauren Rosillo defined 2014 as one of Finca Valpiedra’ s best vintages in recent years.

Last year’s vintage was once again totally atypical, with an express, almost ‘microwave’ ripening, which led to the earliest harvest in the history of Rioja. Although the quality was beyond any doubt, as our technical team says, it scared us because, at least initially, we did not know how the wines would react with grapes that, although they respected all the quality parameters, had ripened so quickly.

In 2016, with the harvest having just begun with some white grapes and the first part of red grapes, we are facing the prospect of a great vintage if the autumn rains do not prevent it. The year has been dry, especially the summer, with the absence of the typical August storms which, although sometimes accompanied by stones, usually cool the Riojan vineyards.

However, vigor control and green harvesting (unloading of clusters before a very good flowering) have been fundamental for the plant to reach the end of the cycle with vegetation at Finca Valpiedra and allow full ripening. We have had hot weather, very hot in Spain but more limited in inland areas than on the coast, alternating with cool days. That is to say, except for the first long week of September, the episodes of real heat wave have been rather short and even scarce.

From September 12 the north wind, the cierzo as it is known in the area, came in, with cool days, sunshine and, above all, cool nights. The ideal time for ripening. Health continues to be excellent and, to the naked eye, the vines and clusters, with small berries due to the drought, look simply spectacular. At Finca Valpiedra we will make a very staggered harvest, choosing plots and varieties, as long as time permits: starting with the gravel areas closest to the river, from whose vines our Cantos de Valpiedra comes, to the more clayey and elevated terraces of Finca Valpiedra.

Wine tourism is one of Familia Martínez Bujanda’s bets and the landscape of Finca Valpiedra is one of the most spectacular in Rioja. Everything we are telling you about can be seen first hand in the vineyard with our offer of visits.

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