This week’s spotlight focuses on the winery, Bodegas Ojuel, which is not only close to our heart but also close to our doorstep. Ojuel and TastingIN are both based in Sojuela, a tiny village nestled in Moncalvillio mountains where forests and vineyards live in perfect harmony.
It was on the top of one of those mountains that the winemaker Miguel Martínez started his unorthodox journey to producing a range of fantastic, original wines. Miguel worked on the restauration of the ancient system of storing ice on the top of Serradero mountain and it was here that he felt a reconnection with the natural world and his family roots and culture here in Sojuela.
Due to this reawakened passion for the area, Miguel came across the nearly lost history of Supurao wine. This wine is a sweet wine which is made by allowing the grapes to slowly age and sweeten over the winter. Traditionally, rural villages would make the sweet wine in the year that a son or daughter was born to later serve on their wedding day.
Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait quite so long as in 2012 the first vintage of the Supurao Sweet Wine from Bodegas Ojuel was born. The recuperation of this local tradition hit the mark and was awarded the Only Wine Award 2014 from the prestigious Basque Culinary Centre. Not one to rest on their laurels the Master of Wines Tim Atkin recently awarded it a whopping 95 points in 2020 and the title of Sweet Wine of the Year. It’s also picked up 93 points Robert Parker.
The almighty success story alowed Miguel to experiment even more, mixing innovation and tradition which have resulted in some excellent original natural wines from their vineyards that are at between 550 metres-800 metres above sea level. One such example is Cerro Sojón, a limited production wine that comes from the grapes on Mt Sojón. Its high altitude and prevalent winds make for a unique wine. Cerro Sojón is made mainly from Maturana Tinta grape which was very rarely used in La Rioja though thankfully is starting to make a comeback.
The last time we visited the winery we came across new experiments, such as wines made according to Roman methods nestled in amongst the hanging grapes. We also found their little boy running free in this these beautiful surroundings whilst Miguel, Iranztu and Mila are constantly busy coming up worldclass wines from a tiny winery in a tiny village in La Rioja, Spain. If you’d like to discover some of the wines mentioned here then let Elena Corzana guide you with her fantastic Virtual Tastings here.