Red wine Crianza. 18 months in French and American oak barrels. Winery: Castillo de Sajazarra. D.O.Ca. Rioja. (La Rioja) Coupage: Garnacha Tinta, Graciano and Tempranillo.
Red wine Reserva. 24 months in American oak barrels. Winery: Castillo de Sajazarra. D.O.Ca. Rioja. (La Rioja) Coupage: Garnacha Tinta, Graciano and Tempranillo.
Castillo de Sajazarra is a winery located in a junction point between several regions of the Way of St James (Camino de Santiago) and the region of Miranda de Ebro and Vitoria, 10 km west of Haro, in La Rioja Alta. The Castle, which gives its name to the winery, was built in the 15th century, when the town of Sajazarra became a dominion of the Velasco. It is one of the most beautiful forts in La Rioja. It is built in masonry stone, and its distribution is similar to the one of the Castle of Cuzcurrita in Río Tirón, with a rectangular outer wall, round towers on the corners, and next to the entrance. In the middle of the enclosure is the keep, also rectangular, with octagonal towers on its corners, and crowned by machicolations and battlements.
At the end of the 60s of the last century, the Líbano family bought the castle to restore it and make it their home. However, in the castle’s dungeons, several ancient elements appeared that were related with wine, like tanks and wooden vats, presses, etc. And naturally, they started to make their own wine inside the castle, first for their consumption, and later on as a company, continuing with the century-old winemaking tradition of the castile.
History of the winery
In 1973, the new winery was built in the castle’s garden, in beautiful surroundings where the castle, the gardens, the winery and the vineyards are a whole. They comprise what is known as an “authentic château”, complete with its wall and the Roman bridge.
Bodegas Castillo de Sajazarra currently has 49 hectares of their own vineyards, distributed in 24 different plots, all of them located around the winery or less than 3 km away. The prevailing variety is the Tempranillo, with 42 hectares, followed by 5 ha of Graciano, 1 ha of Grenache and 1 ha of Viura. The vineyards are planted on clayey-calcareous soils, poor in organic matter. These are very suitable soils for vine cultivation in La Rioja.
At the winery, they have truncated cone shaped stainless steel deposits that can hold 5,000 and 9,400 litres. They also have concrete deposits covered with epoxy resin of no more than 15,000 kg of capacity. The winery also has a stock of 1,350 barrels, 60% made of American oak, and 40% of French oak, with an average age of 3 years.
At Bodegas Castillo de Sajazarra they are also viticulturists. They know that the quality of a wine starts in the field, so they are self-sufficient regarding the raw material; they do not buy wine or grapes. Part of the vines are cultivated organically. The rest are controlled in an integrated production system, maintaining a balanced and live ecosystem. Each plot is harvested separately. They also apply this principle to the production, since they never mix wines until they have checked their potential, after the fermentation. For Castillo de Sajazarra, this is the best way to avoid mistakes and to search for singularities. Another of their objectives is to reach the harvest date with the maximum amount possible of well exposed and healthy leaf surface. They have a moderate production of 4,000 to 6,000 kg per hectare, with small, healthy bunches that have a suitable polyphenolic ripeness.
Inside the winery, they take maximum care of the entire winemaking process. They use truncated cone shaped stainless steel deposits, of 5,000 and 9,400 litres. Thanks to their special shape, they reduce pump overs to the minimum extent, which prevents loss of aromas and unnecessary breaking of the skins and seeds. Part of the wine is also produced in concrete deposits covered in epoxy resin. The fermentation never rises above 26ºC to prevent the loss of fruity aromas. Once the alcoholic fermentation has ended, they wait until the malolactic fermentation takes place naturally, in many of the cases, during the following spring.
This allows them to have several weeks to work with the lees, carrying out periodical batonnages in search of the maximum volume and sweetness. Then, the wines are transferred to the barrels, where they rest for 18 to 24 months with periodic racking. After the coupage, the wine rests for 3 months in the large wooden vats, where it is decanted and assembled. They do not clarify, filter or refrigerate red wines. Lastly, all the wines remain at least 6 months on the wine rack, in the case of crianza, and over 12 months for other wines, where they rest and age.
Wines from Castillo de Sajazarra
Below is the list of wines produced by Castillo de Sajazarra:
Solar de Líbano Reserva is made with 98% Tempranillo and 2% Grenache. It is aged for 2 years in American oak barrels, new for the first year, and of fourth-use in the second year. After spending 3 months in wooden vats, the wine goes to the bottle rack, where it remains for a minimum of 12 months before it is launched on the market. It is a classic wine. Traditional, Riojan, with prevailing oak over the fruit, and with a long and sweet aftertaste.
Castillo de Sajazarra Reserva is almost entirely made with Tempranillo from low-yield vineyards. Between 10 and 20% of the wine goes through the malolactic fermentation in new French oak barrels, with periodic batonnages. It remains 24 months in American and French oak barrels, and then another 3 months in French oak vats. FInally, it spends 12 months in the bottle before it is marketed. Although this is a typical reserva wine, it also has modern features, with more body and fruit than its brother, Solar de Líbano. In this wine, the wood remains in the background, well integrated with the fruit.
Digma Reserva is a varietal wine of Tempranillo selected from 2 farms, Fuentenegra and Galdara. The Atlantic influences of the first one are blended with the Mediterranean influences of the second. This wine is only made in exceptional years. These 2 wines are completely different, but they complement each other. They are made separately in 4,000-kg deposits, with manual punch downs and without pump overs. The malolactic fermentation takes place in new French oak barrels, where it remains for around 14 months. It is quite an aromatic wine, with body, but sweet and delicate. This wine is very elegant, and it can already be found, in its own right, among the greatest Spanish wines.
Digma Graciano Reserva is a varietal wine of Graciano from a selection of the best grapes of the farm Escarza. It is only made in exceptional vintages. Since this variety has a long growth cycle and the farm is located at a considerable altitude and latitude, they have to lower the production to less than 5,000 kg per hectare, thus ensuring the perfect ripening of the grape. It is made in 4,000-kg deposits, with manual punch downs and without pump overs. The malolactic fermentation takes place in new French oak barrels, where it remains for around 18 months. It is quite an aromatic wine, with finesse and elegance. Blueberries, aromatic herbs and mint, well integrated with the notes of wood, smoke and minerals. Powerful, very well balanced in the mouth, with sweet and ripe tannins, fresh and very long.
Vega Saja Crianza is made with 97% of Tempranillo and 3% Graciano and Grenache. It spends 18 months in American and French oak barrels, and it completes its refinement with 3 more months in 20,500-litre French oak vats. Finally, it spends a minimum of 6 months in the bottle before it is marketed. A typical Rioja crianza with a hint of modernity, very pleasant to drink.
Solar de Líbano Crianza is made with 97% of Tempranillo and 3% Graciano and Grenache. It is aged for 18 months in American and French oak barrels, and it completes its refinement with 3 more months in 20,500-litre French oak vats. Finally, it spends a minimum of 6 months in the bottle before it is marketed. A typical Rioja crianza with a hint of modernity, very pleasant to drink.
Matí is a Kosher wine made 100% with Tempranillo grapes from the vineyards of Los Majuelos and Encimeras. It spends 5 months in American and French oak barrels, decanting and maturing. Finally, it spends a minimum of 4 months in the bottle before it is marketed.
Herenza Crianza is a Kosher wine made 100% with Tempranillo grapes from the vineyards of Los Majuelos. It spends 14 months in American and French oak barrels, decanting and maturing. Finally, it spends a minimum of 6 months in the bottle before it is marketed. On the nose, it is expressive, with primary varietal aromas (liquorice), subtly complemented by the wood. In the mouth, it is tasty, fruity, long and persistent. A very elegant wine.
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