La Rioja, Spain
Records from 1672 prove that the De Gregorio family has been involved in viticulture and winemaking for several centuries. In fact, Nicholas De Gregorio was, for almost 40 years, the vineyard manager for the oldest winery in Rioja, Marques de Murrieta. He is a zealous defender of the traditional Rioja grape varieties such as Graciano and Malvasia. Miguel Angel De Gregorio graduated from the University of Madrid with degrees in Agricultural Engineering and Enology. He has proven in his short career as winemaker to several other wineries to be an innovator in Rioja. Vineyards are located in Briones, Rioja Alta on the right bank of Ebro River. Grapes are sourced on the family’s estate of 60 acres (25 ha) in Briones. Vineyards are situated on both slopes on the hill. Some vineyards face north/northeast, others face south/southeast. They are planted with a density of 1,250 vines/acre (3,000 vines per ha). The grapes are multi-clonal selections of old Tempranillo which produce smaller berries and yields. The vineyards are 1,440-1,680 feet in elevation (480 to 560 m). The soil has a top layer of calcareous clay over gravel which dates from the quaternary period, located on the 2nd and 3rd terraces of the Ebro River. The climate is typical of Rioja Alta, continental with Atlantic influences. Rains are normally in the winter and spring, with the prevailing winds from the north/northeast. Therefore, this creates two distinct microclimates for the vineyards because of their different exposures. The vineyards which face the north/northeast are buffeted by the Atlantic winds that carry moisture and help to moderate the temperature. These vines produce grapes which are higher in acidity and more aromatic. The vineyards in the south/southwest slope produce grapes with higher alcohol levels and lower acidity.