The Finca Allende wines may be aged in French oak but as Miguel-Angel likes to remind anyone starting him on the subject….the use of French oak was the norm is Rioja back in the 18th century!
To restrict Miguel-Angel to the ‘modernist' camp, might thus not give full tribute to the man's efforts in working towards rediscovering the multitude of terroirs of the region. Miguel-Angel's aim, when settling in Briones in 1986, was to support the making of terroir-based wines. So rather than sourcing grapes from various areas he decided to patiently invest time and energy in finding small old vineyards that he could buy.
Today, his 56ha domain is divided into 92 plots representing no less than a dozen different terroirs. The soil geology ranges from clay to calcare with varying degree of gravel composition. Located on the right bank of the Ebro River, the gentle undulation of the landscape gives the vineyards differing beneficial expositions. The vineyard elevation can be as high as 500m which along with the prevalent Atlantic winds positively contributes to the healthy state of the vineyards while slowing the ripening of the grapes and thereby creating a perfect equilibrium between phenolic and physiologic ripeness.
Tempranillo is the main variety in Allende's reds, more specifically a multi-clonal selection of old vines producing smaller grapes with more fruit intensity and complexity. Miguel-Angel is also a zealous defender of the traditional Rioja white varieties such as Viura and Malvasia, used to great effects for his white wines. Miguel-Angel's determination ensured that after a running battle with the local Consejo Regulador he was able to mention specific terroir-based wine on his labels. Thus, whilst the Tinto Allende is made of grapes all coming from within the Briones village, 1996 saw the release of Finca Allende's first single vineyard wine named Aurus. In 1999, saw the creation of Calvario, another single vineyard wine produced from vines planted in 1945. Stylistically different, both are Miguel-Angel's flagship wines and a testimony to his understanding of the Briones terroirs. The white equivalent is the high profile single vineyard Martires, a 100% Viura produced on more sandy loamy soils with high mineral content.
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