From La Rioja to the heart of La Mancha.
Finca Antigua Winery and Vineyard
The Martínez Bujanda family's adventure began in La Mancha just over a decade ago. They located a 900-meter high estate where they could make wines with a more international style than what they offer at their historic Rioja winery.
Finca Antigua sprang from the bosom of the Martínez Bujanda family, historic wine producers in DOCa Rioja for 125 years. After the success of the Finca Valpiedra project (also in La Rioja), the family began to look for a different region in which to continue their expansion. In 1998 they acquired an estate in the heart of DO La Mancha, between Albacete and Cuenca, where they could make wines with a more international style. This acquisition included 210 hectares of vineyards made up of Merlot, Syrah, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Viura grapes, which they then completed with another 210 hectares on which they incorporated the varieties Garnacha, Moscatel Morisco, Petit Verdot and Chardonnay.
Finca Antigua and the vineyard
This 1,000 ha estate is located at 900 meters high on a plain surrounded by Mediterranean vegetation and covered in Kermes oaks. This singular characteristic is reflected in its wines, which almost always give off balsamic notes of rosemary, thyme and menthol. The altitude is also significant in that it implies a broad range of temperatures, a factor that favors the grapes' proper ripening. The soil is poor in nutrients and primarily comprised of loam and limestone. It supports the modern vineyard, with its vines trained onto trellises which facilitate machine harvesting and getting the grapes to the winery in barely ten minutes time.
Winemaking and wines
Finca Antigua classifies its land as an estate divided into small plots. Each space is tended individually and by variety, and each plot and grape variety is made into wine and aged separately. The philosophy behind Finca Antigua's wines is clear: to obtain wines that are personal, but that have their own level of standardization, with the objective being that the winery's customers recognize the wines year after year. Opened in 2003, the modern winery's interior combines artisanal designs befitting a family with a history of more than 100 years as winemakers, with the latest winemaking technology.
The winery currently sells nine wines under the Finca Antigua brand: two un-oaked whites (a Moscatel and a Viura); six single-variety reds (Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Petit Verdot and Garnacha) that have been aged in oak between 6 and 10 months; and a Crianza, which is a blend of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah grapes aged for 14 months in American and French oak. It also makes the reserve wine Ciclos, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, which has been aged for 18 months in French oak and boldly flaunts those aromas of thyme and mountain scrub that are so characteristic of the winery, over an undercurrent of lush, very ripe black fruit. And finally, its top-tier wine is Clavis, a red made from the Pico Garbanzo plot that spends 21 months aging in new French oak barrels, which lend it very pleasant spiced notes that are perfectly integrated with the characteristic balsamic aromas.
In the winery and beyond borders
Finca Antigua's wine sales are primarily centered on the export market. In spite of this fact, wine tourism has been a great draw to the winery since the beginning. It offers professional-style visits that might include anything from the interesting experience of tasting each wine on the plot where its grapes are grown, to an active tour of the vineyards in a 4x4.
Even so, the majority of Finca Antigua's wines are exported, representing 80% of sales. The wines are distributed in more than 57 countries, with noteworthy markets including the United States, Canada, Sweden, Germany and Switzerland. Its effective strategy includes creating strong ties between the wines and cuisine, as well as targeting the food service industry and specialty shops.
Finca Antigua has achieved success by bringing together an estate ideally suited for vineyards and a clear and defining philosophy with regard to its winemaking. Together, these factors transmit personality and confidence in the final product, which will always meet the expectations of its habitual consumers.
Company name: Finca Antigua
Year founded: 2003
Number of employees: 40
Brands: Finca Antigua, Ciclos, Clavis
Production: 1 million bottles annually
Export share: 80%
Main export destinations: the United States, Canada, Sweden, Germany and Switzerland
Almudena Martín Rueda is food and wine specialist, WSET L3 Certified, and editorial coordinator of www.foodswinesfromspain.com.