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.
Part of the vineyard, the older vines, is officially classified in Rioja as a “Viñedo Singular”, a new system in Rioja since 2017, which is the equivalent to the Cru system in France to identify and protect outstanding pieces of vineyard. Of just 200 Ha in the whole of Rioja, Finca la Emperatriz accounts for 35 Ha., all in one piece.
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.
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 Mostly bush vines -80%- with an average age of 60 years, along with 20% of trellis vines.
Yields of 7,300 kg/ha (51.10 hl/ha).
Harvest: Hand-harvested, between the 17th and the 20th September.
Winemaking: Must, obtained after a soft crushing in an inert atmosphere, is kept with its pulp in suspension at low temperature for two days (for better aromatic extraction). After that, it is racked off lees by gravity and clean must ferments at controlled temperature between 15ºC – 16ºC.
Once alcoholic fermentation is finished, wine remains with its fine lees in concrete tanks for two months, with weekly battonage.
Production: 51,200 bottles
2022 Harvest: The cold outset of spring delayed budbreak for about 10-15 days compared to what is considered usual at the estate. However, May gave way to an exponential increase in temperatures, with a first very early heat wave, taking place in the middle of flowering period. Undoubtedly, a clear announcement of what would be the summer of this vintage, marked by successive heat waves that were also characterized by their long duration, inflicting a pronounced hydric stress to the vines. This inevitably caused summer season to be flagged by a very significant drought, with rainfall during vegetative period – from April to October – 60% below the average for the area where the vineyard is located. High temperatures throughout the summer and water scarcity resulted in a higher concentration and lower natural acidity, which in the case of Finca La Emperatriz was less pronounced thanks to the estate’s location. These same conditions also marked an early start to the harvest season compared to what is usual in the region.
A balanced white, with freshness, persistence and a delicate touch.
This white Rioja will pair well with grilled fish and shellfish, garlicky prawns, a gazpacho or simply enjoy on its own.