Soligamar is a hot new winery but its origin can be traced back to 1896 when Don Quintin Ortega planted his first vines in the unique area close to the small village of Tudelilla in the Rioja Baja. In 1998 his great-grandson Carmelo Ortega started this new project.
Winemaker Carmelo Ortega was born in Tudelilla in 1964. He has dedicated his entire professional life to Rioja wine. In 1998 he decided to re-open his great-grandfather’s property in order to take advantage of the uniqueness of his vineyards and to create his own interpretation of Rioja wine. The utmost care is taken to assure the sustainable development of the local environment.
The winery is located in La Pedriza de Tudelilla which is surrounded by clay soil fully covered with stones, rocks and gravel. To look at it you wonder how anything could grow there. The rocks actually act as a protective layer between the adverse elements of northerly winds and the clay soil beneath them which also make for effective drainage.
Chris Campbell of C&P Imports hooked up with Carmelo in Rioja about a year ago and together they tasted barrel samples and a slew of library Reserva vintages. He called Scott McBride of Regal Imports – who I purchase from – telling him to get ready for a wave of Rioja that’s going to change the way wine drinkers think about wines of that region. Scott and I tasted through the lineup about a month ago and I was sold… folks, Rioja ain’t boring!