Give wine. Winery: Barón de Ley. D.O.Ca. Rioja. (La Rioja)
D.O.: D.O.Ca. Rioja
For a few years, a large majority of Rioja wineries are turning their course, and the style of their wines is gradually changing. However, Barón de Ley is one of those wineries that confirm the exception to change, since from its beginnings they were sure to make wines in their own style, as genuine as unique, always honest, far from the area's simpleness and without typified concessions. From its creation until today, its growth has been meteoric, to the point that in 1997 its shares entered the stock market.
Currently, Barón de Ley constitutes a Group of companies among which we can find the winery El Coto de Rioja, in Rioja, acquired in 1991; Finca Museum Viñedos y Bodegas in Cigales; Viñedos Barón de Ley, a company that manages all the vineyards of the Group; Bodega Máximo, which produces Vinos de la Tierra in Castilla y La Mancha; Dehesa Barón de Ley, Iberian pork derivatives company in Extremadura; and Bodega Barón de Ley itself in Mendavia.
Throughout this journey, the purchase of El Coto de Rioja winery in 1991 is of great importance. It was in 1970 when the winery El Coto de Rioja carried out the first vintage of its history. In 1976 it would open its facilities in the town of Oyón (Álava). This six-year period constitutes the precedent of the group of companies and wineries that are known today as Grupo Barón de Ley. Since those years, both Grupo Barón de Ley and El Coto de Rioja have had an extraordinary trajectory, supported by wines with a high marketing success.
History of the winery
The activity of Barón de Ley began in 1982, but it was not until 1990 when the first bottle was launched on the market: the 85 reserva.
The winery is located on the road that connects the Navarre towns of Mendavia and Lodosa, on the left bank of the river Ebro, within the sub-area of La Rioja Baja.
Barón de Ley is situated on more than 10,000 square metres and is built inside the farm Finca de Imas in Mendavia (Navarra). It is attached to a sixteenth-century Benedictine Monastery, formerly a military fortress, which is nowadays an iconic image of the winery and the headquarters of Grupo Barón de Ley. These two buildings, perfectly intertwined between the old and the modern, are surrounded by 100 hectares of their own vineyard, fully planted in espalier, perfectly aligned, and with a drip irrigation system.
The facilities of the winery Barón de Ley are extremely modern and functional, with stainless steel deposits that can hold more than 4 million litres of wine, completely rational, with exemplary cleanliness and tidiness.
However, tradition finds its place in the spectacular ageing warehouse, which holds around 15,000 oak barrels.
Currently, the winery has around 5 million bottles of wine that are going through the ageing process, all of them in clean, aseptic metal cages, distributed between the winery and the underground vaults of the monastery.
Today, Monasterio de Imas has become not only the headquarters of Barón de Ley, but also the place that hosts some of its best wines.
The renovation of the historic building, performed in 1995 and 1996, recreates with its vintage furniture the golden years of the house in the late nineteenth century, when the Jiménez family owned the house and managed the farm. In this building you can see two clearly differentiated areas; on the one hand, the family household, and on the other, the rooms occupied by the farm workers, in what were formerly the monks' cells.
Finally, the "winery of the monastery" is the icing on the cake of the visit to the building. It is located in the old stables of the monastery; a spectacular blend between the old Benedictine tradition and the great wines of today.
Up to six foudres of French oak of a unique craftsmanship and a beautiful and latticed bottle rack dominate the room, in which some of the greatest wines from Barón de Ley rest.
After the first plantation carried out in the farm of the Monastery in 1985, including 70 hectares of Tempranillo, 10 of Graciano and 10 of experimental varieties, the initial welcome of the market in the 90s encouraged the founders of the winery to take the project way beyond. Therefore, in successive years, this farm was extended until it reached 219 hectares of vineyard, with the local varieties Tempranillo and Graciano, and more recently Maturana, a unique commitment to the future of Baron de Ley .
In addition, in the municipality of Cenicero we can find the oldest vineyards of Barón de Ley, with 94 hectares of Tempranillo and Graciano that have found their ideal expression of freshness and elegance to create great reservas. Also in Ausejo, a municipality located in the sub-area of Rioja Baja, and at an altitude of 450 metres, is the farm Finca Los Almendros, possibly the best example of the commitment to the vineyard in Barón de Ley. It has an extension of more than 300 hectares, making it one of the largest vineyards in Rioja. And lastly, the vineyard of Carboneras, with an extension of more than 50 hectares located at 840 metres of altitude, which is the highest point of the winemaking Rioja. This is scenario chosen for the cultivation of the varieties of white grapes like Verdejo, Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay, alongside the 6 hectares of mountain Tempranillo that already existed there.
On the other hand, in the winery, one of the best symbols of how to understand quality and open, bold and dynamic oenology, is the warehouse with experimental deposits. Six deposits from 10 to 14,000 litres, specially designed by the team of oenologists to search for different effects in the production. Here, the making of the most special wines from the most remote vineyards takes place, as well as other tests carried out in the vineyard to improve their quality.
In addition, every morning the oenologists taste wine from all the deposits in fermentation to make the appropriate decision for each specific deposits, defining fermentation temperatures, types of pump-overs, maceration ... until they complete an average of twenty different productions in a single harvest.
The ageing in Bordeaux oak barrels is one of the pillars of the production of its wines. In an air-conditioned warehouse rest the 13,000 American oak barrels and the 3,000 French oak ones, in perfect conditions of humidity and temperature, impeccably stacked, and which have been selected among the best coopers .
Also, to guarantee a minimum bottle ageing between 18 months and two years for the Reservas and three years for the Grandes Reservas, Barón de Ley has an air-conditioned bottle rack that holds 4.5 million bottles, carefully stored in metal cages.
Wines from the winery Barón de Ley
The winery currently produces a dozen wines divided into three main groups: the classic range, the varietal range and the vineyard range.
Barón de Ley Blanco is made with the varieties Viura and Malvoisie, from vineyards located at a high altitude and with an Atlantic influence climate. On the nose it is surprising thanks to its great expressiveness, with an attractive range of exotic aromas, aromatic herbs and dill. In the mouth it has a perfect balance between degree and acidity. It is fresh, long.
Barón de Ley Rosado is made with Tempranillo and Grenache, from the vineyards in Mendavia. It offers an attractive and bright cherry colour with violet highlights. Fragrant on the nose, with prevailing red fruits, especially strawberries and raspberries. In the mouth it is round and tasty, with a fresh and fruity finish.
Barón de Ley Rosado de Lágrima is a Grenache varietal from the farm Los Almendros. It has a pale pink colour, and on the nose it shows aromas of red fruit and white flowers. In the mouth it is tasty, elegant and very fresh.
Barón de Ley Reserva is the hallmark of the winery. It is mainly made from Tempraniillo grapes from the vineyards in Mendavia. It is aged for 20 months in new American oak barrels, plus 24 months resting in the bottle. On the nose it is surprising because of its powerful fruity character, combined with nuances of its noble ageing, traces of coconut, toffee and suggestive nuances of undergrowth. It has a powerful attack, developing a sense of volume and unctuousness that leads to a lingering finish. In the aftertaste, the nuances of red fruit return with notes of undergrowth.
Barón de Ley Gran Reserva is made mainly from Tempranillo grapes coming from the farms of Cenicero. Following the most classic concepts of Rioja, the wine was aged for 24 months in American and French oak barrels (50-50%) and it remains in the bottle for 3 years. It offers a good aromatic intensity, with ripe fruits integrated with the toasted and balsamic notes that evolve into traces of infusions, spices and tobacco. In the mouth it is round and harmonious, showing silky tannins, but also remaining fresh and lively. The aftertaste is very persistent, recovering nuances of toastings and raisins.
Barón de Ley Finca Monasterio is made from Tempranillo grapes and other varieties, all from the vineyard of the Benedictine Monastery planted in 1985. It is aged for 18 months in new French oak barrels, and then for 6 months in 10,000-litre French oak foudres. On the nose, aromas of fruit jam and balsamic woods prevail, with nuances of infusions and tea, coconut, lactic notes, cocoa and spices. In the mouth it has a great structure, tasty, balanced and elegant.
Among the range of varietal they produce a Tempranillo and a Grenache, but the Barón de Ley Graciano, made with grapes from the farm Los Almendros stands out. This farm is located at 460 metres above sea level. It is aged for 12 months in American barrels. On the nose, it has intense aromas of blackcurrants and red fruit, with nuances of vanilla and mineral notes. Vibrant entry into the mouth, with intense flavours and well integrated tannins, where notes of red fruit appear once again. A lingering and refreshing finish with an excellent balance. Another unique wine of the range is the Barón de Ley Maturana, from the vineyard located in Finca Alegría, the first large plantation of Maturana in D.O.Ca. Rioja. It is aged for 12 months in French barrels. On the nose it has compote fruit, with the presence of balsamic notes, mint, and a mineral and cocoa background. Warm, with silky, velvety tannins, perfectly integrated. Ample, elegant and with a persistent aftertaste.
In the "Viñas" range, they produce the Barón de Ley 3 Viñas Blanco Reserva, made from Viura, Malvoisie and White Grenache grapes from the vineyards located in the Najerilla Valley. Each variety was treated separately, and the final coupage aged in American oak for 12 months. Then it remained in the bottle for at least one more year. On the nose it shows intense aromas of dried nuts, almonds and aromatic herbs, followed by sweet notes of honey and autumnal fruits. In the mouth it is lively, persistent, complex, with several nuances, it is deep, mineral, and it has a salty touch. Their other wine within this range is the Barón de Ley 7 Viñas Tinto Reserva, born from a single vineyard that is over 70 years old, planted with Tempranillo, Graciano, Red Grenache, Mazuelo, Viura, Malvoisie and White Grenache, which are the 7 star varieties of this wine. The production of this reserva has been carried out through 4 separate vinifications of the 7 varieties, with different temperatures and ageing times. The 4 resulting wines were aged separately for 36 months in different barrels depending on each variety. Lastly, the final coupage aged in a 10,000-litre French oak foudre for 12 months. It is a complex, elegant and extremely lingering wine. On the nose it offers aromas of ripe berries and fragrances of violets and roses, hints of spices and a vanilla background. In the mouth it is balanced, rich in nuances, ample. It is very fruity, with smooth tannins that are perfectly blended.
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