Being a foundational producer of one of the world’s most iconic wine regions is not something many can claim. But so does Bodegas Martínez Lacuesta, one of the Centenarian Wineries of La Rioja, responsible for inscribing the region in the wine canon and defining its classical styles.
Founded in 1895 by Don Félix Martínez Lacuesta (Haro, 1873 – 1922), the winery, now with the fourth generation at its helm, remains family-run and true to the founder’s ethos: relentless faithfulness to the traditional wisdom and local terroirs, while continuously investing on modern expertise. Even if synonymous with classical Rioja, Martínez Lacuesta has also become a beacon of innovation and creativity, developing new products that have introduced a younger, wider audience to the wines of Rioja. It was with this very same pioneering spirit that second generation Emiliano Martínez Lacuesta travelled the Americas in the early 20th century, opening new markets and establishing the company’s name on both sides of the ocean.
This forward outlook, founded in historical heritage, passion and commitment, is what best defines the philosophy of Martínez Lacuesta since its inception, and continues to propel the company towards the future. The current management has embraced this spirit under the motto ‘Back to the Future’: an eternal return and revision of the classical styles, with future as the ultimate destination. A perpetual renewal that, 127 years after it was founded, reestablishes Bodegas Martínez Lacuesta at the forefront of both classical and modern Rioja, year on year.
Using state of the art technology alongside the practice and knowledge passed on through generations of growers, the company’s range – from the modern elegance of its whites to the age-worthy Reservas, deemed ‘archetypal examples of the style, by way of its iconic Vermouths – combines precision with authenticity, tradition with innovation. This approach is only possible because the land of Haro – its culture, people and landscape – has remained the core of the winery’s philosophy and winemaking approach. A strong sense of origin and belonging is what makes Martínez Lacuesta firm and confident about exploring, experimenting and continuously reinventing itself along with the spirit of the times.
Indeed, the wines from Martínez Lacuesta continue to receive accolades for their contemporary classicism. The Martínez Lacuesta Reserva 2012 received a Gold medal distinction at this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards; with a whopping 96 points, the judges highlighted the wine’s ‘classic and delicious’ character ‘showing tertiary notes of cigar box, incense, old leather, and tomato leaf, in a complexity ‘very representative of Classic Rioja’. The wine will be commercially available in October 2022, in what is now a much anticipated release.
Martinez Lacuesta remains a benchmark of the classical Rioja – with the understanding that today’s classics were the avant-garde of yesterday and are open to continuous interpretation. Only the bravest pioneers can, through skill and commitment, endure as the icons of tomorrow.