Bodegas Ontañón is a 5th generation family-owned and run winery in Rioja Baja (now Rioja Oriental). Here Raquel, Rubén and Maria Pérez Cuevas continue their father Gabriel's work to develop Bodegas Ontañón into one of the most highly-regarded wineries in Rioja. Ontañón has vast swathes of vineyard in this part of Rioja. Whilst wine production in the region is typically very dependent on contracts with grape growers, the Pérez Cuevas family has seen fit to invest heavily in the purchase of its own land and vines. Its 250ha is a testament to the importance it places on controlling grape quality.The family's vineyards sit high in the Sierra Yerga mountains in the prestigious region surrounding Quel, defying misconceptions that Rioja Baja is one of the lesser sub-regions within Rioja. Many of their vineyards are actually planted at altitudes on a par with, or above, those in Rioja Alta and Alavesa; (La Pasada is their highest vineyard at 800m above sea level, planted in 1979 it is used for Reserva and Gran Reserva wines). The hot and dry Mediterranean climate allows for consistent ripening of the grapes with little disease and this has enabled them to pursue organic production across 57 hectares of vines.
Bodegas Ontanon Rioja Gran Reserva 2011
The Tempranillo and Graciano grapes are sourced from La Pasada Vineyard, at 700-800m altitude. The wine spends 36 months in a mixture of American and French oak, and 24 months in bottle prior to release. Beautifully developed Rioja with aromas of dark fruit, red cherry, spice, tobacco and mocha. The palate shows complexity and structure with layers of black fruit, spice and toasty oak to give a long and elegant finish. Serve with roast meat dishes, or simply with fine ham and cheeses.