Terroirs and Grape Varieties

If I had to choose one word to define La Rioja, it would be 'diversity'. The terrain, the type of wind, the colour of the soil... Each metre, each hop from one village to the next, is a change in the landscape. If we drew a straight line on a map we would note that there are only 100 kilometres from the westernmost to the easternmost part of La Rioja. To the north, the Sierra de Cantabria. To the south, the Sierra de la Demanda. And crossing it from west to east, the River Ebro. That is La Rioja A great valley between two mountain ranges to protect it. The western part is called Rioja Alta, then there is Central Rioja, and then the eastern part, known as Rioja Baja. As I said, all in 100 kilometres.

This diversity conditions grape growing. Each grape variety finds its ideal place to express itself. Some, like Garnacha Tinta, require more hours of light. And others, like Tempranillo, thrive with cool nights and slow ripening. I have selected from among our vineyards those terroirs best suited to each type of grape. I will now them introduce them to you.


All the grapes are harvested manually in small 10 kg tubs to avoid damage and ensure the berries remain as whole as possible. The time of harvest is chiefly determined through rigorous monitoring of ripening which involves tasting the grapes plot by plot.


Rioja Alta


Briones is one of the most demanding terroirs with the greatest potential that I know of. Here we are in Rioja Alta. At a respectable altitude —about 500 metres. Winds blowing vigorously from the Bay of Biscay that bring moisture, rain... in short, freshness. The soils are very different. There are stony, loose soils, yellow limestone soils, and also red clayey soils. Briones is the realm of our Tempranillo. A delicate grape variety that does not want too much sun, but not too much cold either. We call it The Damsel, because it is so capricious. You only find those fruity, fine, elegant aromas of Tempranillo in places like this. I also work with one of our native grape varieties, Maturana Tinta. This grape also shuns extremes and prefers everything to take place at a slower pace. That is why it adapts so well to Briones. It is also a special terroir for white grape varieties. For that freshness that makes everything ripen slowly. Here we grow basically Tempranillo Blanco, Viura and Malvasía.

Grape Varieties Grown



Rioja Alta


Another magical place. San Vicente and Briones are separated by the River Ebro From there, from the Ebro, the vineyards climb up towards the Sierra de Cantabria. The higher the altitude, the greater the freshness, and the slower the ripening. Our vineyard is located high over the Ebro, in a place known as El Bosque. There we grow Tempranillo and Garnacha Blanca. It is a south-facing plot with great potential.

 Grape Varieties Grown


Rioja Alta


We remain in Rioja Alta, but this time we're going south towards the Sierra de la Demanda. We climb in altitude again. We rise above 600 metres. An area on the altitudinal limit for wine grapes. Very mild summers and cold, rigorous winters. Here, the soils are reddish —due to their high iron content— and very poor. An ideal place to grow a grape variety like Maturana Tinta, which is not very fond of excesses, with two small plots facing south.

Grape Varieties Grown  

Rioja Alta


Another unique terroir, also in Rioja Alta, located about 25 kilometres south of Briones. Again, the proximity to the Sierra de la Demanda at 575 metres above sea level, makes it another vineyard close to the altitudinal limit. Only grape varieties like Tempranillo —with less need for light and warmth to ripen— adapt perfectly to this place. Here, we grow it in our Finca San Antón, a vineyard with loose, stony soils facing south-east.

Grape Varieties Grown


Another terroir close to Logroño, adjacent to Villamediana. Again, the altitude is lower than in Rioja Alta (450 metres) and the climate, more continental and less humid. Stonier soils, as the river Iregua crosses the municipality from north to south and, again, with little organic matter. Here we grow one of the most complex varieties in Rioja, Mazuelo. It is a very rustic grape, which needs many hours of sunlight to ripen and achieve great wines.

Grape Varieties Grown

Rioja Centro


It is located just 8 kilometres from Logroño and about 40 from Briones. Here the altitude comes down considerably, to 440 metres. Winds are milder. They come from the interior, and are less humid. Therefore, there is more warmth and less rain than in any of the terroirs of Rioja Alta. Two plots of poor, reddish soils facing south, where we grow Graciano and Garnacha because of their great adaptability.

Grape Varieties Grown

Rioja Centro


We move more towards the East from Villamediana and Alberite. And we are still close to Logroño (12 kilometres). Despite its proximity, we are at 100 metres less altitude than the other terroirs in Central Rioja, 346 m. There is consequently more heat, less rain and a greater influence of Continental and Mediterranean climates. Here the ground is still red and poor, which makes it an ideal soil for growing Mazuelo.

Variedades de Cultivo  

Rioja Oriental


In the part closest to the village, the most northern, at an altitude of 540 metres, 200 metres above the average altitude for the area, Graciano and Garnacha grapes are grow in our Finca La Noguera. This vineyard benefits from the long, bright days, ideal for these grape varieties. However, the further south we go, the closer we are to Sierra de Carbonera, which rises another 200 metres. There, at an altitude of 700 metres, in one of the highest vineyards in the wine region, where we grow native grape varieties of Rioja —Tempranillo Blanco and Maturana Blanca— achieving an excellent balance between maturity and freshness.

Grape Varieties Grown

Come and Meet us
Carretera Nacional 232, 26330. Briones - La Rioja. Spain

Winery: +34 941 322 013 / winery@vivancowineculture.com

Foundation: +34 941 322 330 / foundation@vivancowineculture.com

Experiences: +34 941 322 323 / experiences@vivancowineculture.com

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