Finca La Emperatriz -The Empress’s Estate- is an historic vineyard in Baños de Rioja that once belonged to the last Empress of France, Eugenia de Montijo.
12 km from Haro, nestled between the Sierra de Cantabria and Sierra de la Demanda mountain ranges, Finca La Emperatriz is located in the north western end of the Rioja DOC, at 570 m above sea level in one of the highest plateaux in the Rioja Alta.
In 1996, the Hernáiz family purchased that same estate, and brothers Eduardo and Victor Hernáiz took charge of a project aimed at producing quality wines.
The soil of Finca La Emperatriz is unique in La Rioja. A poor, extremely hard soil, which provides the wines with a distinctive elegance and minerality and great ageing potential.
90% Tempranillo, 5% Garnacha, 2% Graciano, 2% Viura and 1% Maturana Tinta.
Vineyard & Vinification Note
Region D.O.Ca Rioja, Rioja Alta.
Terroir Impressive terroir with a layer of large white pebbles to a depth of about 40 cm, covering a loose, sandy sub-soil. An ideal soil to grow vines, as it has excellent drainage, plenty of light and the roots are well placed to receive all the nutrients they require. The wines produced from this type of soil are fine and elegant.
Vineyard Trellised vines with an average age of 25 years. With the same type of soil, gravel and pebbles on surface. At 570 meters altitude.
Yields of 6,400 kg/ha (43,50 hl/ha)
Harvest Hand-harvested, between the 25th and the 30th September.
Wine-making Tempranillo and Viura were vatted at the same time in stainless steel tanks. As of this vintage, we also began to use indigenous yeasts in half of the deposits. MLF in steel and concrete tanks. The wine goes into barrels in March.
Ageing 12 months in American (70%) and French (30%) oak barrels.
2017 Harvest: 2017 was the Frost Vintage. In Finca La Emperatriz losses were close to 35%, considering many late sprouting bunches had to be removed not to affect quality. It was one of the warmest vintages that can be remembered (1,478 IW hours), with a very low rainfall of 381 mm. It was also the earliest vintage in the 19 years we have been working the estate’s vineyard. Although everyone will remember this year as catastrophic due to frost, we can say that, thanks to it there were very low yields that made vines (especially Tempranillo) “work” in optimal conditions, without defoliation due to excess heat and drought (which would have led to imperfect maturation). The few grapes that arrived at the winery did so with many more balanced parameters than those expected due to weather conditions.
Deep ruby colour. Good intensity on the nose with distinct aromas of ripe cherry and black pepper over a faintly earthy background. It is a medium-bodied, juicy red that combines sweet fruit and freshness with rich spicy notes that notably lift the palate. The supple tannins ensure an agile mouthfeel with pleasant toasty hints on the finish.
James Suckling Tasting Note
Really beautiful focus and balance for the 2017 vintage with dark berries, dark chocolate and hints of hazelnuts. Medium to full body. Flavorful finish. All together. Drink or hold. 93 Points, June 2019
Wine Advocate Tasting Note
There are two whites and two reds from the La Emperatriz estate, a first and second wine in the Bordeaux style. The second red is the 2017 El Jardín de la Emperatriz Tinto, and this name will also be used for the white. They lowered the yields and decided to assemble a number of varieties, so this is 90% Tempranillo, 5% Garnacha, 2% Graciano, 2% Viura and 1% Maturana Tinta. It’s a serious and straight red fermented in stainless steel and matured in American and French oak barrels for 12 months. It has a clean, classical profile, with notes of ripe fruit and spicy oak and a medium-bodied palate with good entry and very fine tannins. 142,000 bottles and 8,000 magnums. It was bottled in March 2019. 91 Points, Luis Gutiérrez, June 2019.
A great partner to pork, red pepper dishes, lamb and of course tapas.