Boxing day 2003. Instead of going to the pub to watch the football, I stayed at home and took part in a relaxed replay of the previous day. Everything had mellowed overnight. The leftovers were plentiful. The telly was good. Even dad’s jokes brought out a smile rather than a wince. This was the day that I opened my first magnum of Pesquera Crianza. A great wine, but this was the right wine on the right day, with the right people all in the right mood. It was 1.5 litres of heady, blissful joy. I knew the wine would be good, but I recall thinking it would taste like another Rioja Crianza. I was delighted to be wrong.


Fast forward a few years and I find myself tasting through the range of wines from Bodegas Arzuaga. This was an easy tasting. One where the wines showed so much effortless class that I knew we were buying them no matter what. I wondered why good Ribera del Duero wines are quite hard to find in the UK?  They are there, but you need to look. By contrast, you normally trip over a stack of Rioja in a wine shop within two minutes. I think this is the appeal to me.


It is a mysterious region that people have heard of but never explore. A region that is comfortable to be in the shadow, knowing that class will prevail. The high-altitude vineyards, harsh climate and rugged landscape shouldn’t produce something of such beauty. It sounds and looks like the sort of place that grapes shouldn’t grow which only helps cement its reputation as one of the world’s leading wine-producing regions.

Bodegas Arzuaga has the most amazing range of wines made from Tinto Fino (Tempranillo). The vines are grown at high altitudes on a plateau in Spain’s Northwest which is rugged yet teeming with life. They produce a full range of wines from the amazing value La Planta, the flagship Crianza through to the Reserva and Gran Reserva. We also have their Pago Florentino which is a Vinos de Pago made at Bodegas Solana in the La Mancha. Oh, and magnums of course!

The high-altitude vineyards sit at 950 meters above sea level which results in a unique climate of hot days and cool, humid nights through the growing season. This allows for a slow maturation process which leads to ripe grapes with retained acidity, perfect for making big yet fresh and elegant wines.


written by: Will Nicolson – Director