Miguel Ángel de Gregorio, one of the great revolutionaries who pushed for modernity in Rioja, is the man behind this project. His idea was to regain the region's essence based on the great wines of yesteryear. From this point of view, De Gregorio is a staunch defender of terroir, starting from village wines up to the most renowned vineyards.
All Finca Allende vineyards are in Briones and neighbouring villages on the right bank of the river Ebro. De Gregorio praises this area’s northern exposure which gets less protection from the Sierra de Cantabria than vineyards on the slopes of the opposite bank. Red clay topsoils and gravel are Briones’ archetype of Briones. The calcareous gravel substrate —a legacy of the ancient river course— allows roots to develop well into the subsoil and explains the minerality of the wines.
The flagship red and bearer of the winery's name, Finca Allende (around €16 in Spain), is a Tempranillo from the village of Briones, where the winery is located. It carries the house signature: ripe grapes, considerable concentration and a judicious use of (mostly French) oak. Aurus (€140) is Allende's most ambitious card, inspired in the classic Riojas from the 40s and conceived to withstand time. It is made from old Tempranillo and Graciano vines planted on calcareous clay soils over gravel and facing north to capture the fresh Atlantic winds.
The range includes two pago-style labels presented in Burgundy bottles. Calvario (€80) is a rich, deep red with seductive textures, explosive fruit and cellaring potential. The white Mártires (€80) comes from a vineyard with distinctive clay-loam that sets it apart from any other plots in the vicinity. A Celtic sanctuary once stood there and the chapel of the Holy Martyrs (hence the name of the wine) was built afterwards.
Finca Allende (€16) is another barrel-fermented white made from Viura which manages to achieve what is sometimes a difficult balance between fruit and oak. Its good evolution in the bottle is underpinned by its great value for money.
Two new single-vineyard reds have been recently added to the range. Gaminde (around €50) occupies 14 hectares but only four of them are employed to make wine. At an elevation of 495 metres, this eastern-exposed vineyard planted to Tempranillo and tilled with horses features Briones’s archetypal soils (clay with gravel in depth and a little bit on the surface). The wine is distinctively firm and mineral with nicely ripe fruit. Mingortiz (around €45) is southern-exposed vineyard planted in 1964. This stands at 515m above sea level on clay-limestone soils. The wine is lighter than Gaminde: an aerial, fragrant, spicy red with red fruit and plenty of juiciness.