Part of the Familia Martínez Bujanda group, Finca Valpiedra is one of the most spectacular estates in Rioja, strategically located in a meander of the river Ebro, between the villages of Fuenmayor and Cenicero. Committed to working with their own grapes, this is the only producer in the appellation together with Valenciso to be part of the Spanish Association of Grandes Pagos (single vineyard estates).
80Ha of vines are grown in three different terraces descending towards the river. Except for a few old plots, most of the vines were planted in the mid 1970s. Tempranillo is the dominant grape variety along with small amounts of Graciano (2Ha) and Maturana (3Ha). The latter was planted in 2005 and has replaced Cabernet Sauvignon in the Finca Valpiedra blend. All the Cabernet Sauvignon has been regrafted with Garnacha cuttings from the Alto Najerilla valley.
Finca Valpiedra (€20, 100,000 bottles) is their premium red. Grapes are sourced from the oldest vineyards planted in soils with high clay content. The aim is to obtain structured wines that are capable of withstanding the test of time. After fermenting in stainless steel tanks, the wine is aged in French oak barrels.
Cantos de Valpiedra (€9, 150,000 bottles) is a good-value 100% Tempranillo aged for 12 months in French (70%) and American (30%) oak. In this case, grapes are sourced from the property’s distinctive rolling stone soils (“piedra” means stone in Spanish) that result in a lighter, lively style. Depending on the country it is sold, the wine may have a generic or a Crianza back label.
According to winemaker Lauren Rosillo, Valpiedra’s main strength is its consistence vintage after vintage. Stony soils help grapes to ripen up to 15 days earlier than their neighbours in Cenicero, so Finca Valpiedra can harvest earlier and avoid the autumn rains as it was the case in 2014. In 2017 the property skipped frost.
The new Petra de Valpiedra Garnacha (€37, around 5.000 botellas) is fermented in concrete tanks with indigenous yeasts, undergoes malolactic fermentation in new French oak and is aged in seasoned barrels for 10 to 12 months.
There is also a new white in the pipeline made with 100-year-old Viura vines and small amounts of Maturana Blanca, Garnacha Blanca and Malvasía with extended aging times in barrel and bottle.
A standard tour of Valpiedra includes a visit to the winery and the vineyard —with stunning views of the river— plus a tasting, but keen visitors may add a picnic by the river or a segway tour. Wine geeks will enjoy the “Grandes Pagos de España” tour that explores the unique terroir and the single-vineyard philosophy.
Commanded by siblings Carlos and Pilar Martínez Bujanda, the group includes a second winery in Rioja (Viña Bujanda), plus Finca Antigua in La Mancha, Finca Montepedroso in Rueda and Cosecheros y Criadores, devoted to PGI (Vino de la Tierra) and table wines.
Familia Martínez Bujanda Group wines can be bought online in Spain.