Home / News / Montecillo • Rioja’s Third Oldest Winery

Montecillo • Rioja’s Third Oldest Winery

Founded in 1870, Montecillo is the oldest winery in the town of Fuemayor and the third oldest in La Rioja. Montecillo is just 10 kilometres west of Logrono.

The Osbourne Group is the second and 94th oldest business in Spain and the world respectively. Founded in 1772, the 247-year old establishment is still family-owned. Their interests include wine, spirits, Jamon Iberico, and mineral water.

One of their most famous wines is Montecillo, the oldest winery in the town of Fuemayor. Founded in 1870, the bodega is also the third oldest in La Rioja. Montecillo is just 10 kilometres west of Logrono.

Montecillo specialises in producing red wine including Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva Rioja. There is also white Rioja and more recently, an outstanding but very limited Albarino from Rais Baxas.

Rocio Osborne is the sixth generation of her renowned family. She joined the business in 2006 as Brand Ambassador and represents the company with institutional organisations, clients, and media in Spain and abroad.

At Montecillo, the 20,000 French and American oak barriques see a life-span of six years. Ten percent of barrels are renewed annually. The price-tag of the new barriques is about €600,000. Crianza is aged in American and Gran Reserva in French oak respectively.

You may also want to read … Wines of the day • Montecillo

From the very beginning, Montecillo had taken inspiration from winemaking know-how from Bordeaux. The founder of Bodega Montecillo, Don Celestino Navajas Matute, had the intention of taking his wines beyond the domestic market and onto the international playing field.

Don Celestino sent his sons Alejandro and Gregorio to study oenology in Bordeaux. France remained a magnet and compass for the family. The next generation was embodied by Jose Luis Navajas – son of Alejandro – who also sought out wine education outside Spain. But instead of Bordeaux, he went to Beaune in Burgundy. And also to the Penedes in his home country.

Jose Luis became manager of the family winery in 1943 during World War II and it was him who decisively improved the quality and success of the wines. He introduced the technique of cold stabilization, very revolutionary at the time. It is also from this time that the name Montecillo or “Little Mountain” was adopted. Jose Luis Navajas had no heirs. So, in 1973, the founding family passed the torch over to another distinguished wine clan, the Osborne family.

One of the first decisions they made was the construction of new processing facilities which helped produce even greater wines.

In 2005, the winery introduced Ganimede® tanks which allowed for a more delicate, selective and efficient extraction of the aromatic compounds of the wine. The stock of barrels was also rotated and renewed. Today, they number 20,000 French and American oak barriques. For Montecillo, the life span of a barrel is six years. Each year, 10% of barrels are renewed. The price-tag of the new barriques is about €600,000. Crianza is aged in American oak while Reserva are kept in both French and American barriques. Gran Reserva only sees time in French oak.

Half of Montecillo’s annual production of 3.5 million bottles from 700 hectares (100 ha are over 40 years old) are exported to countries including Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, the USA, Canada, UK, Holland, Germany, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and mainland China.

Half of Montecillo’s annual production of 3.5 million bottles is exported to countries including Sweden, Norway, the USA, Canada, UK, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, and China. Pictured are stainless steel tanks with capacity between 20,000 and 35,000 litres.

Chief Winemaker Mercedes Garcia Ruperez has been guiding Montecillo wines for the last 11 years. She holds three degrees in oenology and viticulture from the University of La Rioja and University of Madrid.

Mercedes Garcia Ruperez is winemaker at Montecillo. She is a triple degree holder in Oenology from the University of La Rioja; Agriculture Engineering degree from the University of Madrid; and, Master’s degree in Oenology & Viticulture from the University of Madrid. The hand and mind of Garcia Ruperez has been guiding Montecillo for the last 11 years. As a trained viticulturist, she is very mindful that great wine begins in the vineyard.

Rocio Osborne is the sixth generation of her renowned family. In 2006, she entered the business as Brand Ambassador in the International Division, representing the company with institutional organizations, clients, and media in Spain and abroad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *