LA RIOJA - SPAIN
“My favourite white Rioja by a mile. The sort of wine that is not made anywhere else.”
- Jancis Robinson MW
Although they operate at a much smaller scale than many Rioja producers, Finca Allende are among the finest growers in the region - or anywhere in Spain for that matter. For the last eight years renowned Master of Wine and Spanish specialist, Tim Atkin, has published an annual Rioja Classification that has become the definitive report for Spain’s most famous location. Each year the report details 15 ‘First Growth’ estates, and Allende has been one of these every year since inception - alongside such luminaries as La Rioja Alta, Lopez de Heredia, Roda, and Contino.
Miguel Ángel de Gregorio, one of the great revolutionaries pushing for modernity in Rioja, is the man behind this project. Rather than focusing on extended oak ageing, de Gregorio is a staunch defender of terroir. He seeks to express individual vineyard qualities rather than highlight barrel ageing - from his village wine up to his most renowned single vineyards. As such, you will never find Allende wines labelled as Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva even though their maturation often extends far beyond the requirements for these designations.
All Finca Allende vineyards are in Briones and neighbouring villages on the right bank of the river Ebro, where the soils are composed of red clay and gravel and the vineyards face north. Allende practices organic viticulture without the use of pesticides or herbicides, and all cultivation is done by hand or with the help of horses. The resulting wines present the house signature: power with finesse, considerable concentration and a judicious use of French oak - never American.