Basilio Izquierdo is a truly iconic Rioja winemaker, responsible for dozens of true classics that bring Rioja aficionados to tears, such as the great 'Imperial' and 'Viña Real' Gran Reservas of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, and the mythic Contino ’82 Reserva. In 2006, after more than 32 years as head winemaker at CVNE, he started his own personally inspired winery, Bodegas Basilio Izquierdo in a garage style cooperative winery space in the town of Laguardia within the Rioja Alavesa sub-zone of Rioja. His goal: to explore some of the lost art of Rioja winemaking in conjunction with his knowledge of the latest techniques and materials. In that first year his white wine production consisted of one new French oak barrel. Since then he has expanded to an annual production of about 5000 bottles of barrel aged red and 700 bottles of barrel fermented white.
Basilio's understanding of many of the lost traditions of Rioja form the basis for his methods and philosophy. He uses only grapes from old vine vineyards planted with massally selected vines pre-dating modern clones, which contributes to their character and complexity. Masal selection involves using a vineyard's existing plant material when replanting, thus maintaining the genetic heritage of the vineyard. Honouring earlier traditions, he employs more Garnacha in the Red and Garnacha Blanca in the White, which lend a juicy, fruity suppleness to the Red and rich tropical notes to the White, respectively. However, underneath their fruit laden exteriors these wines offer beautiful and harmonious structure that makes them worthy of long aging.