Bodega Classica is an imposing winery atop a hill in the village of Sonsierra in the sub region of Rioja Alta amid the foothills of the Toloña Mountains, a part of the great Sierra de Cantabria range that does so much to protect the Rioja region from the less desirable Atlantic influences from the north.
At this positively shiny modern facility, built in 2006, all the grapes harvested from their surrounding 70 hectares of vineyards are gravity fed into vats and presses without the need to use intrusive pumps. Even the winery’s situation atop a hill is all part of the plan as it allows for air circulation to play a natural role in the temperature control of the complex and the cellars that are built into the hill below, again for the ease of temperature control that this naturally affords. It is attention to detail in such matters that amply illustrates the desire of Bodega Classica to produce high-quality wines.
Ricardo Arambarri manages the estate under the umbrella of a larger group called Vintae, established by his father, Riojan businessman and wine-lover José Miguel Arambarri Terrero, which operates winemaking projects in six other Spanish regions. They chose the area of Sonsierra for this particular project because they believe that the poor but well drained limestone-clay soils at 500-600 metres altitude up in the foothills provide a perfect terroir for old vine tempranillo, grown on bush-vines and hand-harvested at low yields.
The winemaking is in the classic Rioja style culminating in time in French and American oak with the length of its stay dependant on the status of the wine, eg reserva or gran reserva. The reserva, in which the tempranillo is ably supported by graciano, sees 20 months in barrels before a further two in bottle before release. Bodega Classica release their wines under a variety of labels including Lopez de Haro and Dominum.