Urbina Rioja – A Family Owned Rioja House
Bodegas Urbina is a small family-owned and run Rioja producer located in the Rioja Alta sub-region of Rioja, Spain. This Single Estate winery was founded in 1870 and is currently run by fourth generation winemaker Pedro Urbina Jr. The Urbina Estate comprises of some 75 hectares (182) of vineyards planted with 65 hectares of Tempranillo and 10 hectares composed of Graciano, Mazuelo and the white grape variety Viura. The vineyards are located at Cuzcurrita de Rio Tiron at the north western edge of the Rioja DOC and at Urunuela in the heart of the appellation. Cuzcurrita has some of the highest vineyards in the DOC, this means that it is a relatively cool climate growing area compared with other parts of Rioja. The wines from Cuzcurrita tend to have characteristics suitable for great ageing, whilst those from Urunuela produce consistent and fuller bodied wines.
Bodegas Urbina have always been dedicated to producing the very best quality Riojas possible. A big step forward in this process was taken in 1975 when, instead of selling their wine to larger Rioja bodegas for ageing and bottling, Urbina Vinos decided to age, bottle and sell Urbina Rioja that was representative of their single estate. The next big step for Bodegas Urbina was in 1986 when a new winery was completed with investment in new modern equipment including de-stalking machinery, stainless steel fermentation tanks and bottling line.
The wines can be into two main categories, oaked and un-oaked
Joven – Un-Oaked Single Varietial Wines
Blanco – 100% Viura
Rosado – Rosé made from Tempranillo
Garnacha – an un-oaked 100% Grenache – now discontinued
Tempranillo – 100% unoaked Tempranillo
Clasico – Classic Wines – Oak Aged Wines
Urbina Crianza – Mainly Tempranillo with some Graciano and Mazuelo from 20+ year old vines. Aged for 12 months in American oak casks and aged for a minimum of 6 months in bottle prior to release
Urbina Seleccion – Made from 100% Tempranillo from vines over 30 years old and aged for 15 months in American oak but released early from the Bodega so it does not quite qualify for Reserva status
Urbina Reserva (Red Label) – Mainly Tempranillo with some Graciano and Mazuelo aged for 24 months in American oak barrels, 12 months in new oak, 12 months in seven year old oak barrels
Urbina Reserva Especial (Blue Label) – Mainly Tempranillo with some Graciano and Mazuelo aged 18 months in American oak, 12 months in new oak and 6 months in seven year old oak casks
Urbina Gran Reserva – Mainly Tempranillo with some Graciano and Mazuelo aged 24 months in American oak casks and 36 months in bottle prior to release.
Urbina Gran Reserva Especial – Mainly Tempranillo with some Graciano and Mazuelo aged 24 months in oaks cask, 12 months in new oak barrels, 12 months in three to five year old oak barrels and aged for at least 5 years in the bottle prior to release
Vino de Autor – Specialities or Winemaker’s Selection
I am not really sure how to translate Vino de Autor. Auteur perhaps? Pedro Urbina also makes some other more modern Riojas that become available from time to time, such as Urbina Plot and other Tinto Especials.
N.B. Urbina wines with a red label are from younger vines, whilst the blue label denotes the wine is produced from older vines.
Bodegas Urbina produce four hundred thousand bottle of Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva and around fifty thousand bottles of White and Rosé wine all from fruit sourced from their own vineyards. The vineyards are cultivated according to traditional methods, harvesting is by hand and the use of pesticides and weed killers is avoided. Only organic fertilisers are used to help maintain a good, and rich, soil structure. The wines are fermented using naturally occurring yeasts, another reason for Urbina Rioja’s unique personality and complexity that often sees the wines compared to good Burgundy!
If you want to find out more about Urbina Rioja, Pedro Urbina has a very informative YouTube Channel.