Decanter's next virtual masterclass is a unique opportunity to taste some of the most iconic wines of Remírez de Ganuza along with two brand new releases that will be launching into the market soon.
The selection of extraordinary wines include four of their most acclaimed and classic vintages from their collection; Reserva 2006, Reserva 2010, Gran Reserva 2005 and Gran Reserva 2010.
Already scarce, few bottles are left of each of these wines, so the opportunity to taste them with Jose Ramon Urtasun and Sarah Jane Evans MW will be a particularly special occasion.
The first of the two new breeds is Iraila, the winery's first 100% Garnacha 2020, which is being bottled this September 2021. With only 900 bottles being filled, this is a Decanter exclusive opportunity to taste this wine for the first time outside of the winery.
The second new release, also exclusive to Decanter, is the tasting of its first Gran Reserva Blanco from a unique vineyard, Olagar. This 2013 vintage (100% Viura) sold out before it had even hit the market. Only 3000 bottles were produced, so again, this is a wine to get excited about.
This Decanter masterclass offers a rare opportunity to explore both an iconic winery and contemporary Rioja wines in your own home.
One of the founding fathers of modern Rioja winemaking, Remírez de Ganuza’s pioneering spirit continues to drive its wines into the future.
History and Innovation
Since 1989, wave after wave of innovation has cast Remírez de Ganuza as a leading light of the ever-evolving Rioja region.
It began with the careful selection of prime vineyards in the foothills of Sierra Cantabria: Samaniego, Leza, Elciego, San Vicente de la Sonsierra, Laguardia and Ábalos.
Graciano, Tempranillo, Viura and Malvasía are the key plantings, covering a total of 80 hectares. With an average age of 50 years old, the vines are low-yielding, producing high quality grapes for concentrated yet balanced wines.
In the winery, Remírez de Ganuza brought the question of terroir into a conversation formerly dominated by oak, opting for subtle French oak at a time when Rioja’s barrels were steadfastly American.
By reimagining traditional methods, Remírez de Ganuza ushered in a new era of contemporary winemaking. It has paved the way for greater oenological precision alongside sustainable, low-intervention viticulture.
Just like a butcher, Remírez de Ganuza began to realise that that a bunch of grapes comprises different parts and flavours, and could be used for different purposes. So, in 1992, on the quest for more meticulous methods, the team repurposed a butcher’s counter into a grape selection table – one of the first in Spain.
In an extraordinary move, it began removing the tips of bunches to make younger, carbonic maceration wines such as Erre Punto. The riper shoulders would be saved for their Reservas or Gran Reservas.
Other inventions include its wine press, which uses an expanding water balloon to gently press and extract the grapes. Or its novel take on bâtonnage, involving the rotation of sealed barrels – thereby preventing oxidation while integrating the lees.
These innovations are milestones in the pursuit of the true Rioja, where terroir comes first and the barrel hones its expression slowly over time. For this reason, Remírez de Ganuza never rushes to release its bottles, which have become some of the most sought-after among fine wine lovers and collectors.
A bottle of Remírez de Ganuza presents itself as something rare and unique; it’s a wine that has aged patiently behind cool cellar walls – waiting to reveal what Rioja can achieve.
Sarah Jane Evans MW
Sarah Jane Evans MW is Co-Chair at the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA), and an award-winning journalist who began writing about wine (and food, restaurants, and chocolate) in the 1980s.
She started drinking Spanish wine – Sherry, to be specific – as a student of classics and social and political sciences at Cambridge University. This started her lifelong love affair with the country’s wines, food and culture, leading to her appointment as a member of the Gran Orden de Caballeros de Vino for services to Spanish wine.
In 2006 she became a Master of Wine, writing her dissertation on Sherry and winning the Robert Mondavi Winery Award.
A past Chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine, Evans divides her time between contributing to leading wine magazines and reference books, wine education and judging wines internationally.
Jose Ramon Urtasun
Jose Ramon Urtasun joined Remírez de Ganuza in 2010, the project founded by Fernando Remírez de Ganuza 21 years earlier.
With no previous experience in winemaking, he spent the first years observing and learning, and ended up falling in love with Remírez de Ganuza´s philosophy, taking even further the love and respect for the vines and the winemaking process.
Today he leads the winery alongside Jesús Mendoza, Remírez de Ganuza's chief winemaker for more than 20 years.
Jose Ramon Urtasun oversees every aspect of the winery's operations, from winemaking and commercial strategies, to marketing and communications.