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Terroir, terruño and climat: practices at Familia Martínez Bujanda

After reviewing the concept of terroir in the previous entry, here we will turn to what it means to Familia Martínez Bujanda.

Terroir, or terruño, is a key concept in all our estates. At Finca Valpiedra, in Rioja, we have carried out a long, carefully developed process to examine and select plots within our 80ha vineyard, in one of the four bends of the river Ebro, which flows along the wide and diverse region where quality wines with designation of origin are made.

Finca Valpiedra’s microclimate is shaped by the Ebro River as it runs between Fuenmayor and Cenicero, as well as by mountains of Sierra de Cantabria to the north (Atlantic) and Sierra de la Demanda (continental) to the south. Our estate is marked by its peculiar alluvial, gravelly soil in which we grow native grape varieties – mostly Tempranillo, which has been grown for more than a thousand years in the area. Also, we are strongly committed to a self-developed mode of sustainable viticulture and we carefully pick our plots considering a series of tiny variations within the estate.

Finca Valpiedra spans three terraces rolling down to the river, comprising 14 different plots. It is there that Cantos de Valpiedra is made; a 100% Tempranillo wine from the alluvial soil close to the river. The higher area, with its clay soil, is ideal to grow vines whose roots can go deeper to reach minerals and nutrients. It is there that the grapes to make our Reserva Finca Valpiedra are grown.

The vines from Finca Valpiedra grow in perfect harmony with the environment. In the words of our technical manager Lauren Rosillo, ‘even when I cannot rely on scientific evidence, I can claim that when the landscape is beautiful, its beauty is transferred to the wines.’

Lying in La Mancha, Finca Antigua relies on a different terroir concept, with multiple terruños. This large estate, acquired by the Martínez Bujanda family in 1999, covers 1000ha, 421ha of which are occupied by vineyards. The winery was opened a few years later, in 2003.

Our rich loamy soil contains a relatively equal mixture of sand, silt and clay. The estate lies at a differential altitude of 900m and is ideally set in a mountain environment that furnishes our wines with its characteristic balsamic, even minty, nature.

Our wines are made from native grape varieties such as Tempranillo, Garnacha and Viura.  As well, as from non-native grapes that have fully adapted to our local grape-growing conditions that are characterised by high but suitable elevation, dramatic diurnal and seasonal temperature variations, and extraordinary plot selection work.

As a result, our varietal grape collection comes from a single environment: the terroir of Finca Antigua, where each grape variety expresses its own diversity and character.

Clavis is a very special wine from Pico Garbanzo, one of the highest plots in the estate. It is a climat of only 4ha where as many as eight grape varieties coexist. Clavis will ‘pass away’ when the vines become exhausted for no new plants will be grown. The life cycle of the vines will mark the beginning, prime and end of a wine that can be considered as the epitome of specific plot or climat, expressing the unique characteristics of a terroir.

Finca Montepedroso is our latest acquisition. In this estate we make a single wine under a single name. The vineyard covers 25ha in Rueda; an exceptional area for growing white grapes thanks to its gritty soil, extreme continental climate and high altitude (750m). Finca Montepedroso is a carefully made, high-quality wine from Rueda with a character of its own.

In sum, the terroir and our respect for the environment and local traditions are part of a philosophy our customers will easily recognise in all the wines we make at Finca Valpiedra, Finca Antigua and Finca Montepedroso.

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