The project is the fruit of years of hard work by Jesús Baigorri and architect Iñaki Aspiazu who defines his work here as a combination of ‘novelty and tradition’, subtly blended into the countryside. Bodegas Baigorri is a unique mix of a traditional philosophy based around quality and state-of-the-art technology.
One of the newest and most innovative wineries in Rioja, Baigorri is situated just outside the medieval hamlet of Samaniego. The modern winery was completed in 2003 and is stunning with the top floor being an ‘empty glass box’ offering panoramic views over their vineyards, to the Ebro river valley and the rocky crests of the Cantabrian mountain range beyond.
The grapes from their vineyards are hand-selected from steep plots, most more than 30 years old, and collected in small crates in a process that makes a wonderful contrast with the astonishingly modern winery. Alavesa, one of the three Rioja regions, produces full-bodied wines with relatively high acidity levels. The vines in this region are planted quite widely spaced due to the soils having low nutrient levels.
The winery is constructed to aid the winemakers to produce the best wine from the grapes; below the entrance, carved out of the mountain, there are six floors designed to deal with the specific stages of winemaking and maturation. Grapes, must and developing wine are transported between each location by gravity; travelling down through the winery without being pumped makes for gentle handling and results in better wine.
‘The pursuit of earth’ would be a good definition for Baigorri’s wines. As Chief Winemaker Simón Arina says, ‘it’s a matter of respecting the delicate grapes, mostly of Tempranillo, that grow under the protection of the imposing sierra, here in Rioja Alavesa.