Conde de Hervías
Conde de Hervías is a unique and specialized winery in northern Rioja Alta, where the sole focus is producing single-vineyard wines of the highest quality from historic vineyards in the village of Torremontalbo. Íñigo Manso de Zúñiga Ugartechea, together with his winemaking partner and wife Yolanda Garcúa Viadero, work highly prestigious plots of pre-phylloxera vines which surround their home in Torremontalbo; an incredible structure built in 1252. Íñigo studied Enology at the University of Bordeaux in France, where this training taught him to respect balance and restraint over power and concentration. His terroir-focused philosophy at the estate focuses on harvesting ripe grapes, with balanced acidity, which are not overly mature.
Both he and Yolanda have spent a lifetime making wine in many diverse regions throughout Spain and apply the sum of their experience and passion to this small, artisanal project. Conde de Hervías currently stands as one of the most classically unique and elegant interpretations of Rioja; miles away from the mass-produced Rioja wines found in Haro.
The Conde de Hervías is produced from two adjacent vineyards in the heart of Torremontalbo at 475 m, on the right bank of the Ebro River. Íñigo only makes the Conde de Hervías in the best vintages, in minimal quantities. Las Arenillas is one of the most famous pre-phylloxera sites in Rioja, with vines planted on their original rootstock in 1864 by Don Nicanor Manso de Zúñiga, the Count of Hervías, and his brother Don Victor Cruz, founder of the oenology station of Haro. To their amazement, these vines of the Las Arenillas vineyard survived the phylloxera epidemic, due to the sandy nature of the soil. These vines were used in the replanting of Rioja following the phylloxera crisis. The vines surrounding the estate carry an irreplaceable genetic heritage, pre-dating the industrialization of Rioja. These vines were used to plant all of the other single-vineyards at the estate. Íñigo utilizes the traditional bush training method for all of his vineyards, which helps preserve acidity and freshness in the wines and guard against heat damage. Conde de Hervías is produced from organically farmed grapes, of which, roughly 90% are tempranillo and 10% are graciano. Finally, the aging process is never hurried. Íñigo releases small quantities of each wine only when the time is right for each one to express its’ personality. This is élevage in the truest sense of the concept.
Second-among-equals, his Torre del Conde de Hervías wine is produced from tempranillo and graciano in their Llano Alto vineyard, planted in 1958, along with a portion of the 1864 Las Arenillas vineyard. Torre del Conde de Hervías is also only made in select vintages and built to age gracefully for decades, often rivaling the flagship Conde de Hervías wine.
The village wine and entry to the Conde de Hervías range is Trinidad del Conde de Hervías. Trinidad is the expression of three different single-vineyards in Torremontalbo, on three distinct soil types, all planted to the original clone of tempranillo. Romero, on calcareous clay soil, was planted in 1978, while Llano Alto on ferrous clay was planted in 1958. Lastly, Trinidad contains a portion of the 1864 pre-phylloxera Las Arenillas vineyard, planted on sandy soil.
Íñigo also produces a second line of classically-styled Rioja Alta wines, called Mencos, a family name from his mother’s side. Like Íñigo, his wines always exhibit a confident air of sophistication, elegance, and authenticity, which is why they are at home paired with cuisine crafted with similar attributes. Conde de Hervías is about the quest for excellence.