12 km from Haro, nestled between the Sierra de Cantabria and Sierra de la Demanda mountain ranges, Finca La Emperatriz is located in the northwestern end of the Rioja Qualified Designation of Origin, at 570 m above sea level in one of the highest plateaus in the Rioja Alta.
The soil of Finca La Emperatriz is unique in La Rioja. A poor, extremely hard soil, which provides the wines with a distinctive elegance and minerality and great aging potential.
It consists of a layer of boulders originated as a result of erosion of the Sierra de la Demanda, which facilitates drainage and results in a certain degree of water stress for the vines. In addition, the whiteness of the boulders increases solar radiation on the plants. This favors the accumulation of polyphenols, which are responsible for the color and body of red wine, in the berries.
Also, being located at 570 m above sea level and in the northwestern end of the Rioja Qualified Designation of Origin, it enjoys a peculiar microclimate which is more continental than the usual one in Rioja but also tempered by the influence of the Bay of Biscay.
Finca La Emperatriz’s combination of soil and microclimate is ideal for the Tempranillo variety to ripen in September and October – the key months to achieve excellence.
Although Finca La Emperatriz is a 101-hectare vineyard, it has been divided into a number of plots. Each of them has specific characteristics depending on the variety planted, the rootstock, the age of the vines, the conduction system, etc.
Eduardo and Victor Hernáiz decided to apply viticulture and oenology that were customized to each of the plots in accordance with their characteristics, in order to obtain wines with different personalities.