If you’re looking for a wine that’s right at home alongside a juicy, grilled steak, look no further than the Las Cepas Rioja Costalarbol. This bottle is made from three grape varieties grown on a Spanish vineyard that’s been producing wine for the past 500 years. The estate transitioned to organic farming in 1996, and the family continues to embrace natural agricultural practices that allow each wine’s unique characteristics to shine through. We reached out to winemaker Alberto Ramírez to learn more. Read on for our interview!
What farming practices are important to you, and how do they differ from conventional, large-scale methods?
Our organic vineyards coexist in a natural environment with high biodiversity around the farm. We use manure instead of fertilizers and don’t use synthetic herbicides or pesticides, which prevents any residue from ending up in the wine. These practices allow us to truly respect the environment.
And how are your winemaking practices different from large-scale producers?
The success of our wines may largely depend on the Graciano varietal, which is very difficult to grow. It requires limited humidity and mild temperatures. We hand-select these grapes from the best plots, collect them in boxes, and individually process these grapes in the cellar. We only add native yeasts, keep sulfur levels to a minimum, and ferment the wine for six months in French oak barrels.
What do you look for in a wine?
In all of our wines, we look for the same qualities: wine that calls us to continue drinking, with a long and pleasant finish.
What are some of your fondest memories involving good wine?
One memory is of my grandparents at the family winery in our village. Everyone was meeting and enjoying great bottles of wine!
What's your favorite way to enjoy this wine?
With good company! It’s also ideal for serving with good meat or barbeque.