D.O.Ca. Rioja (La Rioja)
History of the winery
Bodegas Alcorta began to take shape in the company S.A. Vinícola del Norte Savin, Ortigüela, Beristain and Cía., where the three main drivers of the company are already present: José Ortigüela, José Bezares and, above all, Juan Alcorta, a Guipuzcoan businessman who chaired, among other companies, the oil company Koipe and the Savin group, founded in 1939 and dedicated to the marketing of a popular table wine presented in a returnable bottle.
Since his arrival in La Rioja, Juan Alcorta put José Luis Bezares, a Rioja winemaker from Haro, at the head of the winery. He would give the wine its character from the highest responsibility position of the winery, and then of the group that would be created around it.
The SAVIN Group continued to grow until in 1989, when it changed its name to Bodegas & Bebidas, it acquired the winery Vinícola Navarra, in 1994 Bodegas AGE, and in 1998 Bodegas Tarsus, in the heart of Ribera del Duero.
1998 would also be an important year for the company due to the construction of Bodegas Ysios, created by the prestigious architect Santiago Calatrava. In 2000, they founded Bodegas Aura in Rueda, together with the construction in 2001 of the new winery Bodega Alcorta.
This same year, the company Bodegas y Bebidas is acquired by Alled Domecq, and four years later it is transferred to the Pernod Ricard Group, a world co-leader in spirits and wines, changing its name to Domecq Bodegas.
Since July 2010, Pernod Ricard Bodegas has been an active part of Pernod Ricard Winemakers (formerly Premium Wine Brands), based in Sydney (Australia). Within the Pernod Ricard Group it is the entity specialised in the production and distribution of quality wines all around the world, which also includes Orlando Wines - Jacob's Creek (Australia), Pernod Ricard New Zealand (Brancott Estate), and also the brand Graffigna, by Pernod Ricard Argentina.
The new Bodega Juan Alcorta opened in 2001, replacing the old one from 1967. It is located on the outskirts of Logroño. The winery has an excellent location, on top of a hill in the surroundings of Logroño, very close to built areas, but in a fully rural environment, with vast vine crops.
The top of the hill is flat, like a plateau. It is also covered with vineyards and has great views of the Sierra de Cantabria, the Ebro valley and the capital of La Rioja itself. In it stands the modern building designed by the Riojan architect Ignacio Quemada, disciple of Rafael Moneo. It is a masterpiece buried more than 20 metres below the ground, which gives it suitable conditions for the ageing of wine.
The buildings themselves are two modest constructions, with straight lines and a light colour, with façades covered with carved stone and some wooden elements. The actual "body" of the winery is underground, inside the mountain, just like the olden caves, according to oenological and architectural criteria.
On the one hand, the grapes and the wine move by gravity throughout the entire production process, and the ageing rooms have natural conditions similar to those of the traditional caves. On the other hand, the construction goes almost unnoticed from the outside, barely altering the landscape.
Under the ground, the winery has incredible dimensions, which place it among the largest ones in Europe: 38,000 m2 of surface; rooms of up to 16 metres high; 327 steel deposits with a total capacity of 30 million litres; 70,000 American and French oak barrels gathered in a single space, and a bottle rack that can hold six million units. All of this to produce around 20 million litres per year of crianza, reserva and gran reserva wines, with the brands Alcorta, Campo Viejo and Azpilicueta.
In short, state-of-the-art architecture, precision engineering and 21st-century oenology are combined in this wine cathedral that perfectly synthesizes the best Riojan tradition with modern quality requirements.
It is the first Spanish winery to have its Energy Management System certified by AENOR, in accordance with ISO 50001, its Carbon Footprint in accordance with ISO 14064, and to be certified CarbonNeutral®. It is also the first winery in La Rioja to attain the "Q" for Tourist Quality, and it has been awarded the Premio Vinum Nature Acción Sostenible in recognition of its good environmental practices.
At the head of the Technical Management is Elena Adell, born in Logroño. She is an Agricultural Engineer specialised in Phytotechnology, and a Higher Specialist in Viticulture and Oenology, with specific training in Quality and Environment. She began her professional career in the Department of Agriculture and Foodstuffs of La Rioja, taking care of the vineyard area, before becoming part of Bodegas AGE (DOCa Rioja) as the Quality Director.
In 1997, after AGE became part of Grupo Bodegas and Bebidas, she took over the Group's Quality Management, and since 1998 she has been the Director of Oenology of Bodegas Campo Viejo, while she coordinated the oenological activity of the other wineries of the company, under DOCa Rioja.
Her right-arm women in Alcorta was Clara Canals, born in Tarragona in 1982. However, in 1984 her family moved to Logroño, where she grew up. She has a degree in Biology and Biochemistry from the University of Navarre, and a Master's Degree in Oenology, Viticulture and Marketing. She also has a wide international experience in wineries of Australia, Argentina, California, France, New Zealand and South Africa. Since 2011 she works at Bodegas Alcorta under the leadership of Elena Adell to create modern and innovative wines, specially designed to be enjoyed by younger people.
Wines from Bodegas Alcorta
This is the range of wines from Bodegas Alcorta:
Alcorta Crianza is a wine made form 100% Tempranillo that has been aged for 1 year in barrels (1/3 in French oak and 2/3 in American oak). It rests in the bottle for around 6 months. Currently, it goes through longer macerations to achieve a more structured wine with a better balance between fruit and wood. All of this allows them to obtain more fruity, velvety and spicy crianza wine, with varietal aromas of red fruit and spices; soft, with body, sweetly tannic and with a long end.
Alcorta Reserva is also made from 100% Tempranillo grapes, and it is aged for 2 years in new and semi-new French and American oak barrels, and one year in the bottle. It is currently a modern-style wine, more fruity, of intense colour and with a very good structure.
Herencia Juan Alcorta Crianza. Herencia Juan Alcorta was born in 2015 as a tribute to the founder of the brand. In its initial range it has two wines, Crianza and Reserva, 100% Tempranillo and aimed at strengthening the presence of the brand in the catering sector, where it already has a significant importance. Herencia Juan Alcorta Crianza has been kept in French and American oak barrels for a year. This, together with its subsequent ageing in the bottle, allows them to achieve a bright red cherry wine with varietal aromas of red fruit and spices. Soft, with body, sweetly tannic and long.
Herencia Juan Alcorta Reserva is the true reflection of its founder, authentic and honest. The 18-month ageing in oak barrels, mainly of French oak, and its subsequent ageing for 18 months in the bottle, allow them to achieve a wine with aromas of ripe red fruit, vanilla and toasted notes from the oak. An immersive wine, velvety and lingering. A wine that, despite its short life, has deserved a Gold Medal in the Contest Tempranillos al Mundo 2015, and a Gold Medal Premios Nuevo Vino 2015.
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