Located in Oyón (Álava), Conde Valdemar boasts a very long winemaking tradition —they celebrated their 125 anniversary in 2014. The company revamped its portfolio in the 1980s with the brand Conde Valdemar and a value-oriented philosophy that has been maintained ever since.
The year 2000 saw the creation of Inspiración Valdemar, a new project based on single-vineyard wines, as the next generation joined the family business. In 2007 the group split in two with siblings Carlos and Pilar taking over what is known today as Familia Martínez Bujanda, while brother Jesús and sons kept Conde Valdemar and Inspiración. The range has been recently extended with Finca Valdemacuco in Ribera del Duero and Valdemoreda in Castilla-La Mancha.
Valdemar owns 245 hectares under vine in the three Rioja subareas, the oldest of which were planted in the late 1970s. Most of the vines are located in Rioja Alavesa, but there is a large 100-hectare vineyard in Tudelilla (Rioja Baja). White wines are sourced from the Alto Cantabria vineyard. It’s striking that a winery producing 180,000 cases per year sources all of its grapes form their own vineyards. Most of the production goes to the Conde Valdemar range while Inspiración Valdemar accounts for just 7%.
Conde Valdemar includes a range of entry-level, young wines retailing under €5 in Spain: a white Viura and Verdejo blend plus a red Tempranillo and two rosés. The first one is a blend of 85% Garnacha and 15% Tempranillo while the second is a pale-coloured blend of 70% Garnacha and 30% Viura.
Classic Rioja reds are all Tempranillo-based wines blended with other local varieties: 10% Mazuelo for Crianza, 5% Mazuelo and 5% Graciano for Reserva and 10% Mazuelo and 5% Graciano for Gran Reserva. They are traditionally aged in American oak barrels although some French oak is used for the Reserva. The exception is Gran Reserva which has shifted completely to French oak. Retail prices in Spain go from €7.5 for the Crianza to €10.5 for the Reserva. The winery has kept Gran Reserva (€19.5) vintages from as far back as 1968.
Other interesting, good value wines are an old vine Garnacha aged for 9 months which retails under €9 in Spain and Conde de Valdemar Finca Alto Cantabria, the first barrel-fermented white in the appellation. Considering how well it develops with time, this is a real bargain at €9.
The firm currently exports to over 55 different countries. All the wines can be bought at the winery’s online store. Winery tours and tastings are regularly held.