Labels contain extensive information about the wines that we may not always pay enough attention to. There are obligatory mentions that, by law, must appear on the bottles and others that the winemakers offer, in greater or lesser detail, to describe the wine itself or the method followed for its production.
1. Trademark: logically, it will occupy the most space and will have the greatest visibility on the front of the label.
2. Category and geographical indication: wine, local wine, protected geographical indication or protected designation of origin. European, and Spanish, legislation categorizes wines according to their link to origin from the old ‘table wine’, now simply ‘wine’, to the protected designation of origin (PDO). In New World countries, however, more prominence is given to the variety than to the origin of the wine itself, so the grape is one of the most prominent identities on labels. In our wines, Rioja, Rueda and La Mancha occupy a fundamental place in defining origin and each DDOO sets its own rules and limitations on the indications on labels.
3. Vintage: the vintage, until not so long ago linked exclusively to wines with geographical indication, can now also be indicated for all wine categories. The information is obviously very important because, depending on the type of wine (young, aged or not), it will guide us as to whether it has passed its best moment of consumption.
4. Company name of the bottler. This is an important area to which perhaps not all consumers pay the attention it deserves. Regardless of the prestige of each producer, at this point we will be able to know if the person who markets the wine is really the one who makes it or if, on the contrary, it is a bottling ‘by or for’ a third party.
5. Origin (country): in addition to the sanitary registration and bottler, the label must indicate the country of origin (‘Product of Spain’).
6. Alcoholic strength: expressed as a percentage of alcohol in relation to the total volume of the liquid. In recent years, perhaps due to climate change and also to a trend towards a greater ripening of the grapes to obtain more structure, red wines easily exceed 14% vol., although in Familia Martínez Bujanda we try not to fall into excess because we believe that wine has historically been a refreshing drink and we understand that it should continue to be so.
7. Bottle content: the amount of wine it contains, expressed in centiliters (75), milliliters (750) or even liters (0.75).
8. Sulfite content: although in recent times there has been a trend of natural wines that presume not to use sulfites in the winemaking process, sulfites occur naturally in the vineyards and are also incorporated in the winemaking process as a preservative. The maximum amounts are regulated and are harmless to health, although they can cause allergic reactions in some people, which is why the European Union has made it compulsory to indicate their presence on labeling.
Our own guidelines
Origin of the wines: several of our mentions, besides of course the appellation of origin to which each bottle belongs, have to do with the link to the territory, to the landscape, which characterizes all our elaborations. ‘Estated Bottle’ is one of them and can be translated as ‘Bottled on Property’. This concept is important because its meaning is the guarantee that our wines are made and bottled in the vineyard estate itself. At Finca Valpiedra and Cantos de Valpiedra, in addition, the seal of the Asociación de Grandes Pagos de España that accompanies the labels determines our commitment to the vineyards and to the authentic terroirs of the estate and parcels.
2. Aging and longevity of wines: Although the traditional terms of aging (crianza, reserva and gran reserva) have been trivialized by some operators of large volumes, we continue to conceive the reserve as the selection of the best grapes and wines accompanied by a long aging in wood and bottle that our Finca Valpiedra requires to offer it in fullness to our customers. Cantos de Valpiedra and several Finca Antigua wines also incorporate the aging indication, while in the case of Finca Montepedroso, which does not go through oak, we incorporate a longevity curve because its production, with its time in tank and work with the lees, allows the wine to cross the usual border of some simpler whites and can be fully consumed for at least three years after bottling.
Grape varieties: practically all our wines make reference to the types of grapes used in their production, but it is in the collection of crianzas with different varieties of Finca Antigua (La Mancha) where they take on greater importance. Tempranillos characterize our Rioja wines and Verdejo our Finca Montepedroso.