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D.O.: D.O.Ca. Rioja
The effort, the perseverance, the passion for things that are properly done and a clear philosophy oriented towards the vineyard, have been the keys of the four generations who have written the wine history of the Luis Cañas family. For more than a century, the family was dedicated to the production and bulk sale of the traditional young wines. They used the carbonic maceration method in Cueva de los Curas, an old winery excavated in the ground and that today is still part of the landscape of the area. In the past, wines were transported by Carlos Cañas in carriages pulled by mules, crossing the mountain ranges of Sierra de Cantabria and Montes de Vitoria and into areas bordering Bilbao and San Sebastián, more than 100 kilometres from Villabuena.
History of the winery
The founder of the winery, Luis Cañas, was born in 1928. Perfectionist, very hardworking, and with a motivation that was based on achieving the best quality in his vineyards and, consequently, in his bulk wines. He managed to conquer the palate of the great wine merchants, who at that time were located in the Alhóndiga de Bilbao, which was back then the great commercial warehouse of wine. But it was not until 1970 when Luis Cañas hits the market selling bottled "harverster's wines" (Vinos de cosechero). Up until then, these wines had been sold in bulk. This year and not far from Cueva de los Curas, he founded the winery that has his name. There, he poured his passion for the grape, the true creator of the highest quality wines in Rioja Alavesa. However, 1989 marks a new milestone in the development of the winery, when Juan Luis Cañas, son of Luis Cañas, takes over the business. He was a breath of fresh air for the winery, although he maintained the work philosophy and the family tradition thanks to his perfectionist and maverick personality. This did not mean that the settled with the idea of making good young wines. Instead, he began to develop new wines increasing the production of crianza wines. The success came quite soon and in 1994 they inaugurated a new and modern winery on the Samaniego road, in Villabuena, equipped with the best production systems. Since then, in Bodegas Luis Cañas they have not ceased in the effort, with constant improvements and extensions of the facilities to continue improving the quality of their wines.
Currently, the winery has around 400 hectares of vineyard, between their own property and controlled vineyards, located in the heart of Rioja Alavesa. They are protected by the mountain range Sierra de Cantabria and most of them are of small size, 900 plots, and quite old age. They are located on clayey-calcareous soils with low fertility, mostly on slopes and terraces, with an ideal microclimate and an orientation that makes them unique.
At Luis Cañas they practise a craftsmanship work in the best vineyards, with a rational viticulture, respectful with the environment throughout its growth cycle. Respect for the environment and the effort of each and every person involved in the process are key to transforming the virtues of a rational viticulture into successes. Rational viticulture is an agricultural system that optimises the natural resources and mechanisms to the maximum extent, guaranteeing the future of a viable agriculture. Biological, chemical and other techniques are carefully chosen and balanced, taking into account the protection of the environment. The use of herbicides, synthetic fertilisers and aggressive products or practices is strictly prohibited to preserve the environment and to achieve vines with a strengthened immune system that allows them to defend themselves. To carry out all this work, they have a specific field department formed by an agricultural engineer, an agricultural technical engineer and an oenologist, as well as 8 workers who are genuine vineyard craftsmen. The aim is to have a healthy soil, and consequently, healthier fruit and wines. All this perfection can be seen from the moment they transport the bunches. They use small plastic boxes in the older vineyards and small trailers for the young vineyards. Apart from selection in the vineyard, all the wines from Luis Cañas are subjected to double selection control. First, on a table, the bunches are manually selected, and then each grain is selected on a vibrating selection table, so that only the berries that are in perfect condition continue the process. In addition, they also select the French and American oak barrels, choosing the best cooperages in the world. The are continuously renewing these barrels, which have an average age of three years.
In 2006, they launched a pioneering project in Spain: the construction of a residence for rural workers with a capacity for 40 people. It has separate bedrooms for men and women, toilets, as well as a launderette, an industrial kitchen, a dining room, a leisure room and an infirmary. The initiative received the prestigious prize for supportive companies, Premio a la Empresa Solidaria 2008, awarded by the magazine Dato Económico.
Their commitment to the environment and quality led them to be the first winery in Spain to receive the BRC Protocol with AENOR, ISO 14000, ISO 9002 quality certificate, and open their own Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Currently, Luis Cañas has another winery in Rioja, Bodegas Amaren, on the road to Baños de Ebro, also in Villanueva, and another rather spectacular one that is more recent, Dominio de Cair, in La Aguilera, D.O. Ribera del Duero.
Wines from Luis Cañas
Below you will find a list of wines from Luis Cañas:
Luis Cañas Blanco Fermentado en Barrica is made with 85% Viura and 15% Malvoisie from a vineyard that is over 50 years old. It ferments in new oak barrels, 75% French oak and 25% American oak, and it continues in them for 4 months of ageing on their lees. Very intense on the nose, complex, with good balance between ripe white fruit, and nuances of cedar and bakery on a smoked background. In the mouth, it is dense and unctuous without rims, and with a good balance between acidity and alcoholic strength. Notes of ripe fruit and mineral nuances in its aftertaste.
Luis Cañas Crianza is made with 95% Tempranillo and 5% Grenache, from 30-year-old vineyards. It is aged for 12 months in oak barrels, 60% French and 40% American, that are 3 years old. On the nose, its fruit character stands out, with notes of strawberry and banana. Nuances of vanilla, cedar wood, fallen leaves, along with balsamic notes. In the mouth, it is enveloping and dense with powerful but round tannins. Nuances of fruit, and the acidity that refreshes the wine, appear in the aftertaste.
Luis Cañas Reserva is made with 95% Tempranillo and 5% Graciano, from vines with an average age of 40 years. It is aged for 18 months in barrels, 60% French and 40% American, that are 2 years old. On the nose, it is pleasant, subtle and elegant. Classy, very complex, nuances of fine woods, ripe fruit, and coffee. In the mouth, it is fatty, round, unctuous and well structured, with a juicy tannin and an aftertaste with spicy nuances and notes of ripe black fruit.
Luis Cañas Gran Reserva is made with 95% Tempranillo and 5% Graciano, from vineyards with an average age of 50 years. It is aged for 24 months in new barrels, 70% French and 30% American. On the nose, it is intense and concentrated, warm and mature, with nuances of chocolate and cacao. The barrel is shown with shades of roasted wood, peat, coal, bitumen. The notes of spices and black fruit also appear. In the mouth, it is powerful, with nerve and well structured, expression of the wines from great vintages.
Luis Cañas Reserva de la Familia is made with 85% Tempranillo and 15% of other varieties that from a vineyard that is over 45 years old. It is aged for 20 months in new barrels, 50% French and 50% American. On the nose, it is intense and very complex. The ripe black fruit stands out, with nuances of dairy reinforced by the roasting of the barrel. Spicy notes and earthy shades along with liqueurous notes. In the mouth, it is ample, with a lot of volume, a continuous mid-palate without edges. A blunt and tasty finish where notes of liquorice and bitter chocolate appear.
Hiru 3 Racimos is made with 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano, from vineyards with more than 60 years and a maximum yield of three bunches per vine, hence its name. It goes through the alcoholic fermentation in French oak vats and the malolactic fermentation in new barrels. Then, it is aged for 24 months in new French oak barrels. It has aromas of very ripe and concentrated fruit, mineral, balsamic and spicy shades, notes of blackberry and blueberry jam wrapped in creamy oak, and toffee and milk tones. In the mouth, it is concentrated, fatty in the centre, balanced, sweet, and with a fine tannin. Very long, expressive, clearly showing the character of the terroir.
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