International recognition for the Gran Reservas of Bodegas Riojanas during the celebration of its 125th anniversary.
The Bodegas Riojanas 1978 Monte Real Gran Reserva has won the highest award (‘Master’) in the Gran Reserva category at the ‘Rioja Masters 2014’ competition, organised by the renowned British trade magazine, The Drinks Business. This new success of a Rioja which is nearly forty years old confirms that international critics again value and reward the inimitable character of the Rioja classics, whose qualities for ageing are unique in the world of wine. This was evident in the spectacular tasting of wines of the legendary 1964 vintage, held in London last September„ where the Monte Real earned rave reviews from British specialists. For Decanter magazine critic Stephen Brook, it was one of the two «top wines, still fruity and intense.» This praise was reiterated by the Spanish trade journalists who attended the tasting of this vintage, considered the best in the history of Rioja, which took place in Madrid .
The 1978 vintage was chosen in its day by Bodegas Riojanas to celebrate the centenary of its founding twelve years later. It was monitored and awarded special certification by the Rioja Control Board when vintage controls and today’s categories of Reserva and Gran Reserva were not yet in place. The high distinction received for that special wine could not arrive at a better time. The winery founded in Cenicero by the Frías and Artacho winemaking families in 1890 is about to launch its 125th anniversary celebrations with a programme of activities to be held throughout 2015. The company has become a dynamic wine group that is publicly-traded and is present in several designations of origin. This, however, does not prevent it from maintaining a distinct family character and the descendants of the founders continue leading the firm’s management team.
Monte Real is one of the best-known historic brands in the Rioja Gran Reserva category —wines which show their full splendour in the best vintages. The ‘Rioja Masters 2014’ competition also distinguished the Monte Real Gran Reserva from the 2006 vintage —the most recent vintage marketed by the winery in this category. This prize is in addition to the almost twenty awards received by the 2001, 2004 and 2005 vintages —all of which were officially rated excellent— at major international competitions held these last few years (International Wine Challenge, Berlin Wine Trophy, Decanter World Wine Awards, Tempranillos al Mundo, Sommelier Wine Awards, Sunset IWC USA, etc.).
Renowned Spanish wine guides have also recognized the uniqueness of the Monte Real Gran Reservas with ratings over 90 points. These include the Guía Peñín and the Anuario de Vinos in Spain, the German publisher Meininger and Wine Enthusiast in the United States. The winemaking style of Monte Real coupled with ageing in American oak barrels make it truly representative of the traditional style of the great red wines of Rioja —powerful and structured, yet endowed with great finesse and elegance. It is a classic that continues to make history and captivate new generations of wine lovers.
These exclusive and inimitable Rioja Gran Reservas, masterfully made by hundred-year old wineries such as Bodegas Riojanas —of which Monte Real is a paradigm— continue to be the highest reference of quality wine for the majority of consumers, and this is something professional wine critics are gradually recognising as well. The awards received are proof of the admiration that this type of wine still awakens among experts and the place of honour that, beyond fashion, it occupies among the great wines of the world —something that was acknowledged by Robert Parker himself at the Wine Future ’09 conference.
Bodegas Riojanas’ specialisation is reflected in the sales of its Reservas and Gran Reservas of Monte Real and Viña Albina. They are two leading brands in these categories on the Spanish market and account for 65% of total sales. This is a very high percentage if one takes into account that, in the D.O. Ca. Rioja as a whole, these categories barely amount to 18% of sales.
From its century-old winery, Bodegas Riojanas has followed a strategy of diversification that has led it to incorporate a range of wines of the highest quality from different designations of origin —Ribera del Duero (Azuel), Rueda (Viore), Rías Baixas (Veiga Naúm), Toro (Peñamonte) and Cava (Cum Laude)— in recent years. This strategy has been supplemented with the consolidation of its own sales structure, with branch offices in the major markets, like the United States, making the Bodegas Riojanas group an example of dynamism and innovation for the Spanish wine industry.