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Baron de Ley–El Coto bets €5m on white

Spanish premium wine group Baron de Ley–El Coto has bought Carbonera–Bergasa, a company with an estate of 500ha in Rioja, for €2.1m.

Behind this purchase lies the first serious project in Rioja for a large scale, high quality development of the new white varieties approved three years ago by the regulatory body of the DO.

Authorisation was given for Sauvignon Blanc, Verdejo, Chardonnay plus the indigenous White Tempranillo and Maturana to be used in white Rioja, the rules stating that the indigenous Rioja varieties have to represent the majority of the blend. However, despite great initial interest, very few new plantations have been made, with the total so far not even reaching 50ha in the whole DO.
The Carboneras estate is located in the highlands of Rioja Baja and, at 800m above sea level; it is the highest vineyard in the whole region, ideal for premium white grapes.  The difficult topography of the land means that only 240ha will be planted, with 100ha of these devoted to the new white varietals.
Total investment in this project will amount to €5m and planting is scheduled for the beginning of 2011.  The first proper vintage will therefore be 2014, with the wines launched in the market in 2015.
The Group’s winemaking team, led by Pedro Aibar and Gonzalo Rodriguez, is thrilled.  They commented: “The new varietals will massively increase our options and quality potential, allowing us to develop distinctive ranges of premium quality white wines.”
Victor Fuentes, international general manager of the Group, added, “This project is incredibly exciting, as we will be the first to strike in this new category – and at the very high quality level for which our red wines are already known. It will enlarge dramatically the growth potential for our marques around the world and bring new consumers to the market for Baron de Ley-El Coto.”



1 November 2010 - Felicity Murray