The Cañas family had a long tradition as grape growers and producers, but in 1970 they started bottling cosechero (young) wines, as it was customary in Rioja Alavesa at the time. The arrival of son Juan Luis at the end of the 1980s marked a turning point in the winery towards crianza wines. His obsession was to improve quality by focusing on the vineyard.
The winery owns 100 hectares of vineyards, but it sources grapes from 350 hectares spread across 870 plots, most of them small and lying on clay-limestone soils, which are typical of the area. Nowadays, vineyards and wines are perfectly in tune and selection, both in the vine and at the winery, has improved considerably -even grapes for entry-level Luis Cañas Crianza go through the sorting table. The importance of the vineyard is such that the winery built a residence for grape pickers, a rather isolated case in Spain.
Nowadays, Luis Cañas offers both value for money wines and premium labels. The reds are made from Tempranillo and aging is done in French and specially American oak. Luis Cañas Crianza (€9), always present in the Best Buy lists of Spanish wines, is made from 30-year old vines and its production reaches one million bottles. Balance and tastiness rule above everything else. The Reserva (€13) is 40-year old Tempranillo blended with a small amount of Graciano and the Gran Reserva (€21) is made from 50-year-old vines. It is a modern, fruity, dark Gran Reserva, unlike the style most consumers would associate with this category.
The range is completed with a barrel-fermented white (€9); the interesting and complex Luis Cañas Reserva de la Familia (19€) which includes 15% of experimental grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon) and comes from 45+ year-old vines; and the idiosyncratic Hiru 3 Racimos (€88), a red from selected vines (not vineyards) which naturally give three or less bunches. No green harvesting is carried out.
Luis Cañas Club offers different membership levels to consumers and companies. The highest is the “Cask Club” which can be obtained with the purchase of 240 bottles per year. Winery tours and tutored tastings are also offered. Music lovers will be happy to know that Luis Cañas makes the official wine for each edition of the respected Jazz Festival in Vitoria (Basque Country).
Amaren wines are now produced at an independent winery with its own facilities. The family has also a base in Ribera del Duero with Dominio de Cair.