Bodegas y Vinedos Puente del Ea is a relatively young Rioja bodega. Yet this bodega manages and cultivates a beautiful area of Tempranillo vineyards. Its land is located on the northern border of Rioja Alta, where the mountains provide protection from the cold, northwest wind. A young, enthusiastic team makes Riojas of the modern school here, i.e. with an emphasis on fruit, elegance and concentration, unlike the sometimes domineering wood notes of traditional Riojas. Basilio Izquierdo is the oenologist responsible for making and developing the wine. In the past he worked on various projects which contributed overall to bringing the quality of Spanish winemaking to its current high level. Puenta del Ea guarantees an unparalleled price/quality ratio, and sets an example for a new generation of winemakers in Rioja (and the rest of Spain).
Rioja D.O.Ca: Rioja is a true reference for quality wine both within and beyond Spain. It was to this region that traditional ageing in wooden barrels was introduced by French winegrowers attempting to escape the Phylloxera plague. For decades this led to the notion in Spain that quality wines needed to be extensively barrel-aged, giving rise to a lot of earthy Riojas. Here too Spain's accession to the EEC (and a greater export market) led to new investments and a revolution in wine culture. Modern Riojas mostly stand out for their fruitiness, although this is supported by wood ageing without it becoming dominating.
Rioja was the first Spanish wine region to be awarded D.O. status in 1925. In 1991 the D.O. was promoted to D.O.Ca (Denominación de Origen Calificada, or Qualified Designation of Origin), a higher category reserved for wines that have proved their consistency and quality over an extended period.
D.O.Ca Rioja is particularly famed for its red wine, although some white wine, as well as rosés are made there too. Most bodegas still use their own formulas to blend red wines from at least three grape varieties, the most important of which is Tempranillo, the most noble of the native Spanish grape varieties. This grape gives the wine its elegance, concentration of aromas and complexity of taste. This is the element, together with barrel ageing, that gives these wines their personality and individuality.
At the same time Rioja has been in constant development. There is a wide range of Rioja styles nowadays. There are varietal wines, blended wines where the emphasis has shifted from wood to fruit; organic wines and top end Reservas and Gran Reservas.
The changes introduced to winemaking over the last decade have given outstanding results. New generations of winegrowers and winemakers have put their trust in updating equipment, with new wood and stainless steel barrels, as well as more emphasis on the careful selection of grapes at harvest and a longer ripening of the fruit before harvest.
The Rioja producers quest for perfection has contributed to the prestigious image that consumers have of Rioja and has also ensured that Rioja wines have become a reference around the world. Developments in both technical production and commercial structure in Rioja and the prestige enjoyed by its wines have also helped the area reach the top of historical European designations of origin.
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