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.
88% Tempranillo, 9% Garnacha, 2% Graciano 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.
2018 Harvest: The year was very unstable, cold, and wet. The hail that fell at the beginning of July affected some plots slightly which, together with the hail that fell in September, attacked the most delicate berries. This, along with an excess of humidity, made necessary a greater sanitary control in vegetation management and treatments. Ripening was slower than usual, although the rain respected a long harvest with mild temperatures. An exhaustive selection of bunches was necessary, first in the field and then through a shorting table in the winery, to eliminate the affected parts.
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
Fragrant nose of lavender, mulberries, blueberries, bay leaves, nutmeg and coconut. Medium-to full-bodied with firm, chewy tannins. Structured, with a firm finish. 88% tempranillo, 9% garnacha, 2% graciano and 1% maturana tinta. Better in 2023. 92 Points, September 2021
Wine Advocate Tasting Note
The 2018 El Jardín de la Emperatriz Tinto has riper aromas than I expected, even though the palate shows more restraint. It’s a blend of 88% Tempranillo, 9% Garnacha, 2% Graciano and 1% Maturana Tinta fermented in stainless steel and matured in American and French oak barrels for 12 months. The palate is medium to full-bodied with fine tannins and with ripe flavors in the finish. 161,000 bottles and 8,000 magnums produced. It was bottled in June 2020. 90+ Points, Luis Gutiérrez, October 2020
This is what Thierry from our Team says:
“A very elegant and precise wine, lots of freshness and purity, typical of Rioja Alta but enhanced further by some clever wine making.
Aromas of spiced dark fruits with a touch of black pepper combined with very fine tannins right to the finish. Delicious now but will be even better in 6 months’ time.”
A great partner to pork, red pepper dishes, lamb and of course tapas.