Rioja Alavesa, Spain

A self-made man, Florentino Martinez Monje started off life as a grape grower before deciding to set up his own winery. Few know as much about the region as he does, nor how to get the best out of the local vineyards. With an intimate understanding of the 32 hectares he farms in Laguardia and Elciego, halfway between Haro and Logrono in Rioja Alavesa, the vineyards are cultivated and then vinified with specific categories in mind; a flower-to-bottle approach that gives these fine traditional Riojas an authenticity and clear sense of purpose. In the cellar, a mixture of French and American oak barrels is used, and racking is kept to a minimum, giving oak flavours that are present and sweet, but not over-bearing. In treading a nice balance between traditional and modern, the Luberri output is Rioja at its most recognizable and satisfying.

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