Despite being one of the oldest producers in Haro’s legendary Barrio de la Estación, it is also the smallest and, definitely, the least known. Founded in 1886 by Ángel Gómez de Arteche, the winery was sold in 1916 to the Gómez Cruzado family, at the time based in Mexico but native of Rioja. Throughout the 20th century, several investors led the business until it was purchased by a Mexican family, called Baños, in 2004.
The wines had very low market visibility during the second half of the 20th century and for a time they were mostly available in Mexico —no wonder the brand was practically unknown in Spain. It’s even difficult to understand how Gómez Cruzado managed to outlive all those obscure years without being taken over by one of the large producers next door.
Nevertheless, the current project is really exciting. The arrival of winemaker David González and viticulturist Juan Antonio Leza, who started as consultants and later became partners and managers, has brought a breath of fresh air to Gomez Cruzado’s range of wines. Facilities have been carefully restored, so the winery looks brand new. Without a single hectare of vineyards of their own nor any preconceived ideas in the mind of consumers, it is responsible for the most daring and up-to-date wines emerging from such a refined neighbourhood.
Obviously, the classic wines remain. While the Crianza (around 70,000 bottles, €11 in Spain) is a Tempranillo blend sourced from cool areas with some Garnacha, the Reserva (40,000 bottles, €17) is mostly Tempranillo and fits a recognizable Rioja style although somewhat less classic than those from its neighbours. The oldest brand, Honorable (14,000 bottles, around €25) is sold as a generic wine and is not produced every vintage. This is the biggest and most concentrated red, its grapes sourced from very old vines in the Sonsierra area.
Far more novel are the white (60,000 bottles, around €11), a blend of Viura and White Tempranillo that ages both in wood and concrete; and the Vendimia Seleccionada red (15,000 bottles, around €11), a rare blend of 50% Garnacha sourced from a cool area (Badarán, Alto Najerilla) and 50% Tempranillo grown in the Sonsierra. In both cases vineyards are located at high altitude, thus the wine is fresh and balsamic; really different.
There’s a new range of bottlings: three wines from three different terroirs named after local mountains. The idea is to highlight the many small terroirs within Rioja. The red Pancrudo (3,500 bottles, around €32) which was the first to be released, is a lively Garnacha from Badarán showing plenty of Atlantic character. It is aged both in concrete eggs and oak. The other two are Cerro Las Cuevas (€38), a Tempranillo red from Leza and Montes Obarenes (3,000 bottles, €40), a white blend of Viura and Tempranillo Blanco which is aged on its lees in French oak barrels and concrete eggs for 12 months.
The winery is open form Monday to Sunday. Walk-in tastings are available without reservation, but winery tours and formal tastings with a full explanation of the main wines need to be booked in advance.