Established in 1870, Bodegas Montecillo is one of the oldest wineries in the D.O. Rioja. The name, Montecillo—or little mountain—speaks to the irregular topography of the Rioja vineyards. Surrounded by vines and close to the waters of the majestic Ebro river, the city of Fuenmayor is set amongst flat topped hills, and in the distance, the distinctive rocky mass of the Cantabrian Mountains.
Montecillo’s ancient underground ‘bodega’ houses hand stacked bottles that remain undisturbed until reaching optimal roundness, including vintages that date back to 1926, the year that the Rioja Designation of Origin was created. The wines are crafted to enjoy a long bottle life; they continue bottle ageing longer than those from other wineries in the region.
Montecillo is also renowned for its female winemakers; led by oenologist Mercedes Garcia.
Hailed as the star red variety in Spain’s most celebrated wine region, Tempranillo from Rioja, or simply labeled, “Rioja,” produces elegant wines with complex notes of red and black fruit, crushed rock, leather, toast and tobacco, whose best examples are fully capable of decades of improvement in the cellar.
Rioja wines are typically a blend of fruit from its three sub-regions: Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Oriental, although specific sub-region (zonas), village (municipios) and vineyard (viñedo singular) wines can now be labeled. Rioja Alta and Alavesa, at the highest elevations, are considered to be the source of the brightest, most elegant fruit, while grapes from the warmer and drier, Rioja Oriental, produce wines with deep color, great body and richness.