Bodegas Olarra Rioja Gran Reserva 1973 (3181)

Bodegas Olarra Rioja Gran Reserva 1973 (3181)


The prime mover in this bodega was Luís Olarra, an iron and steel magnate from Bilbao who put up a third of the capital needed to build a new bodega for a company which was then called Bodegas Guiloche, and in which he had a minority shareholding. The unsual design was partly metaphoric and partly practical; the building is in the shape of a giant letter “Y” with each “transept” responsible for a different aspect of the business: reception and fermentation, crianza, and expedition (bottling, packing, palletizing, etc.). The metaphor is that it represents the three sub-regions of Rioja, but there is a practical element as well: the reticulate construction of the pantiled roofs was designed to maximize insulation and take advantage of prevailing temperatures on different sides of the building. It was designed by Juan Antonio Ridruejo, a noted architect of the period, who sent his assistants to California, France, and Germany to study aspects of modern winery design before coming up with the final plan. Input was provided by José-Manuel Aizpurua, later to become the technical director of the bodega, who brought in winemaker Ezequiel García, a very well-respected oenologist at the time, who’d worked for CVNE (see page 109) for eighteen years, to make the wines. García retired some years ago to be replaced by the current winemaker, Javier Martínez de Salinas.


The original idea (as always) was to make the greatest wines of Rioja regardless of cost, but the company has built a considerable reputation for quality wines over the years.



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