Born in 1972, in the midst of the 1970s production boom, the name is an acronim of the three provinces (La Rioja, Álava and Navarra) included in the Denomination of Origin Rioja. Located in an unappealing industrial estate in Fuenmayor, it is arguably a clear representative of its time and the aim with which it was born. With an annual production of 3.5 million bottles mostly focused on a very correct crianza, Lan can be a box full of surprises.
A group of investors led by risk management firm Mercapital sold it in 2012 to Portuguese giant Sogrape, who used its international distribution network to drive Rioja exports. The expansion carried out during the Mercapital days allowed Lan to acquire Santiago Ruiz, a winery with a long tradition in Rias Baixas.
Technology is one of Lan's strongest points. Its huge open plan ageing cellar has an automated stacking system that might impress even the staunchest advocates of romanticism in wine. It undoubtedly eases production of its most popular wines: Lan Crianza (€7) and Lan Reserva (€12, 700,000 bottles). The Reserva, which behaves particularly well on Rioja's best vintages, has been showing good freshness in the latest years. Production of Gran Reserva reaches 100,000 bottles and rests comfortably in the middle of its category (€16).
The 72 hectares owned by the winery belong to Viña Lanciano, a beautiful vineyard surrounded by a meander of the Ebro river with up to 60 year-old vines. Viña Lanciano Reserva (€14), which originates here, is a red wine with a higher degree of complexity and classic touches than the standard reserva. Lan A Mano (€30, just over 30,000 bottles), formerly known as Edición Limitada, comes from El Rincón, the best plot in the vineyard, and is modern (extreme ripeness is the aim) and concentrated. Its top wine Culmen (€40, around 20,000 bottles) was initially launched amid much fanfare but has since been forced to reduce its inflated price tag. Unfortunately, such moves have damaged a really interesting label whose production is limited to the best vintages and which usually offers a notable evolution in bottle.
Lan D-12 (60,000 bottles, around €12.5), was released in the mid 2000s. This 100% Tempranillo was named after the vat number (12) used to store the house's most aromatic, best wines. Accordingly the source of the grapes can change from one vintage to another. This wine fits the style of a modern, painstakingly selected Crianza.
Tours of the winery are available from Monday to Friday.