Diez-Caballero is a family winery located in Elciego, inherited from our grandparents of current owner, Victoria Cañas. Following the formula of traditional Bordeaux châteaux —relatively rare in Rioja— Caballero’s wines come exclusively from estate-owned vineyards planted with Tempranillo. Strict pruning and respectful growing practices achieve a perfect blend of the traditional and the modern: full of expressive fruit and complexity.
His more than 50 years’ experience in Rioja wine techniques has given oenologist Manuel Ruiz Hernández a very clear idea as to the factors that affect the quality of a wine. His thoughts on soil, climate and grape varieties are as follows:
“The 25 hectares of vineyards stand on the type of chalky clay soil that is at the heart of high-quality red wines.” Some of this land has been planted with vines for 60 years (the average figure is 30 years). The vineyards are located in Elciego, at an altitude of 450-500 m above sea level, and the soil is ideal for obtaining top-quality grapes.
“The land is South-facing, which means that it gets the best sunlight for perfect ripening”. The vineyards stand on gentle North-to-South slopes highly exposed to sunlight, sheltered from the north winds by the Toloño hills. The low rainfall and wide day-night temperature variations enable harvesting to take place in October, when the grapes are healthy and perfectly ripe on the branch.
“Careful nurturing, with little fertiliser and severe pruning, means that the grape harvest is small but of excellent quality.”
The origins of the winery are shrouded in mystery and lost in the mists of time. Its ancient cellars once belonged to the Church but were privatised with the confiscation of church properties by Mendizábal in the 1830s. Maria Cañas’ grandfather Miguel Cenea bought them in the 20th century.