Queirón, the winemaking project of the Pérez Cuevas family, was born in Quel, their village in Rioja Oriental, in the heart of the Cidacos river valley, between the Yerga and La Hez mountain ranges and in the heart of the Barrio de Bodegas in Quel, an emblematic 18th century ancient place that sums up the historical vocation of this Rioja town for wine making.
Bodegas Queirón represents and assumes the philosophy of a family committed to the world of wine for four generations and represents the culmination of the dream of Gabriel Pérez, winegrower and pioneering wine entrepreneur in this area of Rioja, who has been quietly lighting up the new winery for more than a decade and who has recovered historic areas and vineyards around Quel and the slopes leading up to the Sierra de Yerga, an area whose relationship with viticulture dates back to the Middle Ages, as attested to by various documents found in the Cabildo Catedralicio de Calahorra dating back to 1327.
Queirón is classicism and innovation, and it means and implies making wines with soul, wines that spell out the space in which they are born, the heritage of a family of four generations of winegrowers and the background of a territory defined by its poor and scarcely productive soils, vineyards in south-facing slopes and the tradition of one of the most unknown and unique areas of the DOCa Rioja.
And they are in Quel, in the heart of the Cidacos Valley, at the bottom of impressive landscapes marked by geological upheavals that date back some 250 million years before our era and that systematically define the orographic profiles and the characteristics of the soils in which the grapes of Queirón wines are born, wines that were historically shaped in its Barrio de Bodegas and that now the Pérez Cuevas family recovers with a singular project due to its location, definition and architecture.
Thus, the new Queirón winery is located at the southern end of the Barrio de Bodegas de Quel, with its base in the area of an old family cellar and with an architecture that is organised on four levels, literally burying itself parallel to the space in which the traditional caves have been for centuries and maintaining the same philosophy, with its gates in the upper area to take advantage of the traditional local formula for receiving the grapes and in which the steps of winemaking are based on gravity, which means that all the processes are carried out extremely gently, protecting the grapes, musts and wines from any unnecessary manipulation.
The great playwright Bretón de los Herreros wrote an incredible description of this magical place: 'Such is the harvest of wine collected in a vast plain behind the cellars, that it has been necessary to found a new town there; and it is noteworthy that since a medium-sized church with the appendix of a tiny hermitage in the countryside is sufficient for the cult of the Saviour, Bacchus had more temples there than he had in Greece'.
The village of Quel hugs the river Cidacos, which descends from the Peña Isasa in a succession of terraces and long, gentle slopes that slowly open out towards the Ebro valley. In this place, the Mediterranean air that comes up the Ebro River is embraced by the fresh Atlantic breeze that swings down from the Cantabrian mountain range and contributes to giving this place a unique climate for growing grapes and making wine.
Gabriel Pérez has meticulously designed the new winery. "It is my memory, the root of my family, it is surrounded by our vineyards, in the Barrio de Bodegas in Quel, conceived with the same philosophy of our ancestors, with gravity as the axis of the whole design, respecting the environment and with the aim of making excellent wines, Quel wines with the oldest vines, with the best selection of each one of them".
One of the essential assets on which Queirón is based are its vineyards, thanks to the recovery work that Gabriel Pérez has been carrying out for more than 25 years in the area around Quel: "Queirón wine comes from healthy, high altitude vineyards, with good orientation, not very deep soils, in which production is not the most important value of each vineyard. We seek a viticulture that is as honest as possible and balanced with the environment so that they do not need external products. For this, health and altitude are the key, and this is what we have in Quel: territory and people, soil and climate. These are our assets".
The panorama of Queiron's vineyards is astonishing, more than 25 estates scattered around the winery with an enormous diversity of varieties (from the centenary Garnachas of 'El Arca' to the high altitude Tempranillos of 'La Pasada'); of exposures and soils: the vineyards of 'El Poeta', 'Viña María', 'Andañal', 'La Encina' or 'El Balcón' clearly define the commitment of this family from Rioja to viticulture. In fact, there are two unmissable jewels: 'El Arca', a small carpet of centenary Garnacha vines planted in 1892 and barely one hectare in size. It offers a very special Garnacha, with low yields and which expresses with absolute transparency the soil from which it comes, with silt, sand and clay. It is the first of the family's estates to be included in the new classification of the DOCa Rioja Control Board as a 'Singular Vineyard'.
Another of Queirón's great treasures is 'La Pasada' estate, a remote and almost inaccessible terroir that coexists at the top of the Yerga mountain range with brambles, junipers, rosemary, gall oaks and holm oaks, in an unsuspected spot marked by its unique altitude (over 700 metres). The Tempranillo planted some forty years ago by Gabriel Pérez defines a singular, emblematic vineyard, with an irregular outline and furrowed by a gentle mountain slope. La Pasada is located in a borderline growing area due to both its extreme altitude and the cool, continental climate of its meteorological cycles. The clay-sandy soil is more than evident due to the many stones and pebbles that appear out of a red and poor soil, ideal for those wines of maximum expression of the territory: "We try to intervene as less as possible in its elaboration and let express the purest of each vine and of the land that keeps it", says Gabriel.
QUEIRÓN DE GABRIEL (RESERVA 2011)
MI LUGAR (2017)
ENSAYOS CAPITALES Nº1
ENSAYOS CAPITALES Nº2