An icon of innovation since Fernando Remírez de Ganuza founded it in the early 1990s, this bodega seems to be embracing more classical values in recent times. When the Urtasun family gained full ownership in 2019, the founder, rather than walking away, switched to his passion and focused on the vineyards, whilst José Ramón Urtasun took charge of marketing and strategy.
After almost two decades working as a vineyard broker buying and selling land, Fernando Remírez used his privileged knowhow to bring together his own selection which today encompasses 80 hectares of Tempranillo, Graciano, Viura and Malvasía spread across the villages of Samaniego, Leza, Elciego, San Vicente de la Sonsierra, Laguardia and Ábalos.
Vinification is carried out in the picturesque little village of Samaniego (Rioja Alavesa). Built around a central courtyard, the winery is a set of modern buildings whose walls are covered with stone in keeping with the traditional architecture of the area.
Countless gadgets and procedures invented by Fernando Remírez make his wine production anything but conventional. His selection table has three stages, with the last one separating bunches into tips and shoulders. The first are used for young wines whereas the shoulders go for aging wines. Destemmed grapes are washed in their own juice before reaching the tank and a balloon-shaped bag which fills up gradually with water is used to gently press and extract.
The winery favours new French oak for aging and the style of the wines is resolutely modern. The average age of the vines is high as well as the quality of the grapes. These factors, along with extremely careful vinification techniques, placed Remírez de Ganuza among the best Rioja wines from the moment they were launched in the early 1990s.
The winery's portfolio has expanded over the years, but its main flagship wines are Erre Punto, a carbonic maceration red with intense fruit and great definition (€11, around 30,000 bottles); Remírez de Ganuza Reserva, the house's main red with its trademark structure (€45, around 60,000 bottles) and the deep Trasnocho (€65, just over 10,000 bottles), an excentricity based on the old tradition of leaving the must overnight which is made from the last extracting stage obtained with the balloon-shaped bag designed by Fernando Remírez.
Vinifications are completely adapted to the productive capacity of the winery's own vineyards. Reds are Tempranillo-based, usually up to 90%, with small percentages of Graciano and sometimes with white varieties -up to 5%- as it is traditional in the area in order to retain colour and maintain acidity.
Other reds are Fincas de Ganuza (€20), Viña Coqueta (€30) and Remírez de Ganuza Gran Reserva (€90), the only label in the house to have scored 100 points in The Wine Advocate and produced in very small quantities. It is far removed from the classical style of this category and aims for concentration and modernity, both trademark elements of the winery. The portfolio also includes a barrel-aged white (€24) and María Remírez de Ganuza, a wine in memory of the daughter who died in a car accident.
One of Remírez de Ganuza's major goals now is to establish the brand in the fine wine market with limited releases of old vintages.
Winery tours are available daily in the morning, but visits must be booked in advance.