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Bodegas Luis Cañas, DOCa Rioja

Consistently lauded by the world press, the Luis Cañas wines speak volumes of the soils from which they hail.

In 1970 Luis Cañas changed two hundred years of tradition and became the first winemaker in Rioja Alavesa to bottle his young wine rather than sell it as bulk. This bold move, and his continued pioneering spirit, has cemented the winery's enviable reputation as one of the most progressive in the region.

Sheltered below the watchful Sierra Cantabria, the vineyards are all old, small plots on chalky-clay soils with a dedicated team of vineyard workers carrying out organic practices and a purpose built, fully equipped accommodation block was built for the entire vineyard team in 2006. Today, now in his late 80's, Luis still leads the annual harvest, standing at the head of the selection table, keen to ensure that only the best parcels of grapes are used in his wines. His son, Juan Luis Cañas is now the powerhouse behind this highly accomplished winery, but everywhere you go there is a feeling of family, and especially of the lasting legacy that Luis Cañas will leave for both his son and the Alavesa.

It all happens in the vineyard
One of the fundamental philosophies of Luis Cañas is that the best wines can only be obtained from the best possible grapes - and this begins and ends in the vineyards.

With 350 hectares of outstanding vineyards, split across 870 different plots, the viticultural department control every aspect. Each of the plots has its own personality and is categorised and used for different wines according to its characteristics.

The vineyards supply Tempranillo, Graciano, Mazuelo and Viura grapes which are then selected and crafted into a range of fine Riojas using a combination of modern technology and traditional know-how.

"If I only ate salads I wouldn't make the wines I do..."
Food is one of the social foundations of the Basque Country and feeds into the style of wines crafted by Luis Cañas. Juan Luis says, 'if I only ate salads, I would not make the wines I do.'

The structure, texture and flavours - fruit wrapped in a silky, oak laced layer that seems unique to this part of Rioja - lend themselves to the many culinary delights found both in and outside Spain today.  

This was underlined when Ferran Adrià, who included only 2 wineries from Rioja on his wine list, chose Bodegas Luis Cañas and sister winery, Bodegas Amaren.