Amaren, the minimal intervention wines from Rioja

Amaren began with the 1995 vintage as a tribute to Ángeles, the mother of the cellar owner Juan Luis Cañas, who currently guides the family’s winery. AMAREN, which means “of the mother” in Basque, was the first wine conceived, made and sold by Bodegas Luis Cañas to position itself among the most outstanding wines in the country.

Bodega Luis Cañas is a family winery which for more than two centuries has been devoted to producing and selling traditional young wines made by the carbonic maceration method. These were made in the Cueva de los Curas, an ancient cellar carved out of the ground and which still today forms part of the landscape of the area. However, it was not until 1970 when Luis Cañas first hit the market selling its young bottled wine which until then it had sold only in bulk.

In 2009, Juan Luis Cañas saw his dream come true, dedicating not just a wine but a whole winery to his mother. Amaren started as a new range of wines with its own independent facilities, this formula-setting up a winery as part of another one has been favored by Rioja producers as a way of embracing modernity.

The winery is located in Samaniego (Rioja Alavesa) and is surrounded by 65 hectares of vineyards aging between 35 years and 110 years old. Most of these plots have bush vines planted on clay-limestone slopes and terraces. The old vineyards achieve a perfect balance given their low production level, having very deep roots that offer the wines complexity, minerality, and personality as well as making them more resistant to drought.

Given the characteristics of the vineyard, all the work is done by hand and in some cases, with animal traction. All of the

forms of treatment that are carried on the vineyard are restricted to minimally aggressive products and methods which include amongst others, the prohibition against the use of herbicides and the use of fertilizers that are always organic.

The purpose is to make use of a vineyard with a powerful defensive system that is capable of being defended from external threats with no need for artificial assistance to achieve complete respect for the land.

Juan Luis Cañas chooses to go back to the origins of his roots, and elaborate the wines in concrete tanks. The deposits that are currently used in the cellar are of small capacity (L 15,000), fully restored with epoxy resin, and a temperature control system. The concrete protects the wines from thermal shocks, allows a greater extraction of the fruit, and a natural stabilization for the wine. Concrete, stone, and wood, is the essence of Amaren.