The family-owned winery Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España (CVNE) is reporting “a good 2019 vintage in Rioja. There is a slight drop in quantity compared to 2018 but it is still a very high quality vintage”, according to María Larrea, Technical Director at CVNE and Viña Real. Optimal conditions in the vineyards for fruit to reach full maturity gave early indications of an excellent harvest to come. Larrea explains, however, that: “In mid-September a few heavy showers threatened to affect the quality and quantity of grapes and we even feared outbreaks of botrytis. But at the end of September and the very beginning of October we were lucky enough to have good temperatures, dry weather, wind from the north and cool nights. This combination of factors eliminated the threat.”
As far as Viñedos del Contino is concerned, winery oenologist Jorge Navascués thinks the harvest will be less vigorous than last year, with fewer compact clusters and smaller grapes – key factors in guaranteeing maximum quality. “All that, as well as the perfect health of the vineyard, has led us to qualify the year as “excellent” and possibly memorable in the history of our wines, with magnificent tannins, high aromatic potential and great ageing capacity,” he commented.
The grape harvest began on 11 September in Viñedos del Contino. The next day the first white grapes were picked for Cune and a few days later, on the 16th, harvesting of red grapes for red Cune began. Harvesting of the fruit going into Viña Real and Imperial wines began later, on 23 and 24 September respectively. Work in the vineyards continued until mid-October.
As with every year, the harvesting of the grapes was staggered, with an eye to quality, using a traditional, selective process both for Contino and Imperial, the iconic Rioja wines made in the century-old winery of Haro.
Ribera, Cava and Valdeorras
Harvesting has also been completed in the Ribera del Duero D.O., CAVA D.O. and Valdeorras D.O., where CVNE works respectively with the Bela, Roger Goulart and Virgen del Galir wineries. In the case of Roger Gouart, the harvest was complicated by the weather but the team there is very satisfied with the quality of the grapes. As for Bela, although the quantity was smaller than in 2018, the grapes are of excellent quality and vines are in good health, resulting in balanced and well-structured wines.
In Virgen del Galir the harvest was earlier than in 2018 but less mature, fresher and more generous in production, resulting in aromatic wines. Thanks to good grape health, low rainfall and a good alcohol/acidity ratio, Mr Navascués thinks it could be a “great year”. “The year is more aromatic, structured and Atlantic,” he commented.