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.
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 50-65 years old bush vines. With the same type of soil, gravel and pebbles on surface. At 570 meters altitude.
Yields of 6.600 kg/ha (42,90 hl/ha).
Harvest Hand-harvested into 180 kg crates, between the 6th and the 7th October.
Wine-making Grape selection at the sorting table. 6 hours of skin maceration. Half of the wine fermented in concrete tank and the other half in a 225-liter barrels. 4 months of lees ageing with very spaced battonage.
Ageing 10 months in concrete tank and 10 months in French oak barrels, 1/3 new, 1/3 of second-use and 1/3 of third-use.
2016 Harvest: Until August, 2016 was a cold year, marked by a strong delay in the vineyard. During that period, the rainfall was 401 mm, mainly concentrated from January to April. From August on, temperatures rose considerably, being September especially warm. Throughout August, September and October rainfall was only 33mm, perfect to allow a smooth maturation. It was a very uneven vintage among old vineyards, with low fertility, and young vineyards that had a perfect and large fruit setting, which made green harvest necessary to control yields. Only old vines are used to elaborate this wine.
Pale lemon colour with a gold glint. The nose is intensely nuanced with a nod to traditional Rioja aged whites. White fruit and fine toast aromas over a background of hay and dried herbs. Full-bodied and juicy on the palate, with good acidity adding liveliness and persistence. It stands out for its harmony, the result of a slow ageing process and restrained presence of oak. A serious white that can be enjoyed or laid down for the next ten years.
James Suckling Tasting Note
Dried mirabelle plums and persimmon here, as well as some dried cloves and spices. Medium-bodied, fleshy and quite peachy with some pastry notes to close. Drink now. 90 Points, October 2019
Wine Advocate Tasting Note
The boldly named 2016 Finca la Emperatriz Gran Vino Blanco is pure Viura from 50- to 60-year-old vines from their estate vineyard in the Finca la Emperatriz, from which they produce only two whites and two reds, and the rest are from grapes grown outside the property. 2016 was a cool year, very good for whites, whose grapes were picked on October 6th and 7th. Half of the wine fermented in concrete and the other half in 225-liter oak barrels, and it matured for ten months in barrique and a further ten months in concrete. It has a clean and expressive nose with notes of white flowers and fruit, chamomile, hay and pollen, with the oak neatly integrated. The palate is fresh and also quite expressive, with great freshness and a long, lingering finish. 16,752 bottles, 360 magnums and some large formats produced. It was bottled in July 2018. It will be released in February 2020. 93 Points, Luis Gutiérrez, June 2019
Gui Peñin 91 Points, 2020
Guia Proensa 91 Points, 2020
This is what Olivier from our Team says:
“This white Rioja has never failed to impress me. Expressive on the nose, it displays a complex range of tertiary aromatics that reminded me of dried flowers and desiccated tangerines peel mixed with notes of fresh chamomile flowers and verbena. The palate is vibrant and energetic with a pleasant acid line that gives it a sense of purity but it is overall balanced by a suave finish.” Olivier Marie
This white Rioja will pair well with Spanish dishes such as paella, tortilla, salt cod, serrano ham. Also great with asparagus, vegetable stew, rich fish such as tuna, roast chicken and pork