Owned and run by Lalo Anton and his family, 'Izadi', which means 'nature' in the Basque language, is a project established from a passion for gastronomy and wine. The estate was founded in 1987 by Gonzalo Anton, Lalo's father, who at the age of 37 and with a background in restaurants, decided to create his own winery. As a result, they produce modern, perfumed, food friendly wines that are true to their roots and a natural expression of the area, unhindered by the sort of deviant flavours that are all too common in Rioja. As well as the winery, the family also run the Michelin-starred restaurant, Zaldiaran, in nearby Vitoria. The winery sits in the small village of Villabuena in the Rioja Alavesa, the highest part of the region, at 400-600 metres above sea level.

All of the 189 hectares of vineyards, either owned or leased on long term contracts, are located in the triangle formed by the three villages of Villabuena, Samaniego and Abalos. Due to the high altitude, there is a dramatic difference (up to 20°C) in temperature between night and day, which encourages the development of aromatics in the grapes. The distinctive white calcareous soils are mainly planted with old Tempranillo vines, traditionally bush trained for better exposure to the sun and ranging from 30-100 years old.



My inspirational vineyard

My favourite vineyard is Finca Villacreces. We have 55 hectares in an area between a forest of centenary pine trees and the river Duero. The site itself is engaging, but what is even more interesting, is the complexity and variation of the soil types as you move through the estate. This complexity is almost perfectly segmented into 20 plots, each of which is planted separately. The different flavour profiles of the resulting grapes are so unique for each plot, that, for me, making the final blends is always one of the most exciting times in the winery. Lalo Anton