C&C: Bodegas Sonsierra is located in San Vincente de la Sonsierra – what is unique about this location i.e. why have wineries from this area received more awards than from any other area?
Rafa: San Vicente de la Sonsierra is unique for many reasons and the grapes here have the highest value of all of Rioja DOC. For example the soil, which is calcareous clay, is the best soil for balanced grapes. Secondly, the parcels are mostly south-facing, allowing perfect ripening. Additionally, the wind is one of the most important factors here – for 80% of the summer we benefit from northerly winds in the afternoon, refreshing the grapes and preventing diseases.
C&C: Stylistically, what would you say the key differences between Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Oriental are?
Rafa: The main differences are between Rioja Oriental and Alavesa-Alta. Essentially the climate is Mediterranean in Rioja Oriental, with higher temperatures, less rainfall (300- 400 l/m2) and the soils are alluvial or clay-based and ferrous. Rioja Alta and Alavesa have fewer differences between them, more rainfall (500 l/m2 year), mild temperatures and mainly calcareous clay soils. I don ́t think there are many differences between Alavesa and Alta.