Introducing Garnacha Cepas Viejas 2011

Eduardo and Víctor Hernáiz continue to focus their efforts on a high-class red made from 100% Garnacha variety grapes

Plot number 5 at Finca La Emperatriz, which belongs to Eduardo and Víctor Hernáiz and is a PDO Rioja, is one of the stoniest in a vineyard that is already notable for the amount of pebbles that cover its soil. In this plot, the Hernáiz brothers tend Red Garnacha vines that are 65 years old, and therefore substantially older than they are! But paradoxically, despite their youth the brothers have learned to respect the value of vintage.

There is an indisputable tradition of cultivating the Garnacha variety in La Rioja. Although it is a long way behind the all-conquering  Tempranillo, Red Garnacha is the second most-cultivated variety in the PDO Rioja region, where 5,262.42 ha (or 8.88% of the available area are dedicated to growing it. However, it is a variety that is usually relegated to rosé wines, or at most is only a discreet presence in red wines – used sparingly in order to round off the Tempranillo – with its aromatic personality only present in moderation.

At Finca La Emperatriz the Garnacha variety thrives in the area’s microclimate, which is fresh and heavily influenced by the Atlantic character of its location in the far northwest of La Rioja. Plot number 5 on the estate is home to the grapes from which the Hernáiz brothers produce their Garnacha Cepas Viejas single-variety red wine; a daring proposition for Rioja, but a risk that has paid off handsomely with plaudits from both critics and the public.

The 2011 vintage is now available on the market: just 6,924 bottles of a wine that is fresh and exceptionally elegant on the nose, with notes of red fruits and strawberry candy. In the mouth it has volume, with an acidity that gives backbone to the wine. Elegant and balanced, with a notable mineral quality that hints at the stony terrain of the plot it originates from.

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