The denomination of Cariñena, created in 1932, belongs to part of the autonomous Comunidad de Aragón in northern Spain and is one of the oldest protected wine-growing regions in Europe. The DO Cariñena vineyards are located 50 km southwest of Zaragoza, on a plateau known as the Campo de Cariñena. The altitude of these vineyards ranges from the lower vineyards at about 400m and then rising to 800m as they approach the Sierra de La Virgen mountains. To the west, they border on the denomination of Calatayud. The region has a continental climate with long, hot, dry summers and cold winters when temperatures reach as low as -8°C. The cold northerly wind, El Cierzo, helps to maintain low humidity. The main problems for the grape growers are the risk of hailstones, the strong winds and excessive summer heat, as drought can affect the harvest. However, the large difference between daytime and night-time temperatures is a positive contributory factor to the characteristic intensity of the Cariñena wines.
The 1990s saw a period of rapid growth in DO Cariñena thanks to the merger of several smaller wineries and cooperatives, and to the adaptation of the wines produced in order to suit a more modern palate: fruitier, lighter, more balanced wines. Exports have quadrupled since 1995.
Established in 2003, Bodegas Esteban Martín is an exciting, family-run, modern, innovative winery located in Alfamén, in the heart of Cariñena. Their desire to make wines which pursue excellence is achieved by the fact that they only use grapes grown on their estate-owned plots, 150 hectares in total, making it possible for them to control the entire growing process using those varieties best suited to the soil: Garnacha, Tempranillo, Merlot, Cabernet and Syrah and, as regards the whites, Viura and Chardonnay, all selected with the greatest of care during the harvest. With modern facilities and 300 new French and American barrels, the Vinem wines offer a distinctive modern personality at affordable prices.
The oenologist, Jorge Barberia, who was born in Cariñena and has been making wine in different parts of the world for 10 years, is a lover of the wines of his region near Valle del Ebro,where Garnacha originated, with its particular characteristic, owing to the climate and soils. For Jorge, the most important part of his job is his work in the vineyard. 'Esteban Martin wines are fresh and fruity with a good balance on the palate, smooth and silky tannins. Wines with soul' says Jorge and 'they have enormous success in tastings and competitions around the world.' Passion, terroir and personality clearly are reflected in each bottle, a blend of modernity and know-how to reach their ultimate expression. The winery has recently beeen awarded the BRC Global Standard certificate and IFS.
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