Bodega Montecillo has recently undergone a 10-year process of complete rejuvenation, and now offers wines that will compete handsomely with any of its well respected neighbours in the region. The history goes back to 1874 when the old winery (still standing and now home to a swish visitor centre / tasting room) was first established in the village of Fuenmayor by the Navajas family. Today’s large, modern, ultra-clean winery is situated some 10 minutes away within site of the spectacular Cantabrian Mountains. Now owned by the famous Osborne family company, a decision was taken 10 years ago to put the winery back on the map and key to this was the appointment of brilliant winemaker Mercedes Garcia Rupérez. High on Mercedes’ list of priorities was to eradicate as quickly as possible the dreaded Brett (Brettanomyces), a strain of wild yeast that produces large amounts of acetic acid and can give wines a distinctly ‘not right’ aroma. For some, this taint is part of the charm of ‘old school’ Rioja, and it is still remarkably common. Every single one of the 20,000 barrels in the underground cellars of Montecillo was replaced.