Wednesday Vinopolpick May 14

May 14, 2014

Bodegas Artadi

“The value of a great wine is intimately linked to the land, its environment and its people.”
– Juan Carlos López de Lacalle

The Artadi estate was created in Rioja in 1985 by the dynamic visionary winemaker, Juan Carlos Lopez de la Calle. Often accompanying his grandfather during harvest time in Rioja, Juan Carlos has been working vineyards since a very young age, and understands the detail and hard work necessary to produce great wines. Decades of intense labor in the vineyards have given Juan Carlos the experience and passion for making wines of true excellence from his three estates in Rioja, Navarra and Alicante.Juan Carlos aims to produce wines that are unique and possess an identity intrinsically tied to each region from which the wines originate. With a focus on careful cultivation and highlighting each area’s unique characteristics, Artadi wines are made from the most important varietal of each appellation.  The wines are all from estate-grown fruit and developed by a team of viticultural experts that respect the traditions and climate of each region.  Grapes are vinified with the utmost care – clusters are manually harvested and then delivered to the winery within 30 minutes of picking in small, 15 Kg boxes. Once at the winery, the clusters are selected on a sorting table to ensure that only the highest quality fruit goes into the oak tanks for fermentation. Fermented in 100% French oak barrels, the wine is racked once during a total aging time of 12 months and lightly filtered before bottling.The wines from the estate’s original region of Rioja are old-vine Tempranillo, which is an indigenous variety.  With the Vinas de Gain wine, Jaun Carlos blends small vineyard blocks to produce a balanced and complex red wine.  The winemaker describes it as having dark red fruit aromas alongside black licorice and toasted oak notes.  He suggests ageing it for up to 15 years.  The Pagos Viejo Roija is a superb and elegant Tempranillo made from the oldest vines.  It is darker in style with notes of chocolate, tobacco and dark cherries.  2007 was a cooler year in the Rioja.  This bottling was praised by critics for its balance and lengthy finish and is just beginning its drinking window.  These wines will pair nicely with a variety of dishes such as roasted pork, roasted root vegetables, grilled lamb, and braised chicken.The grapes from the Alicante region (El Seque wines) experience extreme diurnal temperature swings, making it an excellent area to grow the Monastrell (Mourvedre) variety.  The warm sunshine during the day aids ripening while the cool nighttime weather helps the grapes retain acidity and keeps them from becoming overripe.  The El Seque wine is 90% Monstrell and 10% Syrah from vines that average 40 years old.  It is richly textured with soft notes of balsam wood, warm spices and dark cherry notes.  Although delightful now, this wine has the potential to age for many years.

In the Navarra, the Artazu winery focuses on the Garnacha (Grenache) grape.  The vineyards are over 100 years old and the estate has been making wines from the vineyards since 1996.  The vineyards hold vines ranging in age up to 90 years old.  The older vines produce low yields of richly concentrated fruits.  New vines, grown from cuttings from the existing old vines, are not irrigated and are green harvested so as to reduce yields.  The Santa Cruz de Artazu Garnacha has a refreshing perfume of red berries and purple flowers.  It makes a great wine to pair with tapas or even enjoy on its own.

Bodegas Artadi wines here now:

Artadi Vinas de Gain Rioja 2009 ($26.95) $19 special 26 bottles available
The 2009 Vinas de Gain is a 100% Tempranillo wine from vines between 25 and 40 years of age, matured in new, one- and two-year-old casks. This is Artadi’s entry-level Rioja which affords a brilliant insight into this Bodega’s style at a fantastic price.

Artazu Santa Cruz de Artazu Garnacha 2007 ($39.95) $24 special 14 bottles available
Jamie Goode (Wine Anorak) 93 points
 “A single-vineyard wine made from 80 year old vines at an elevation of 750 metres. Bright red/purple colour. Lovely pure, sweet nose of bright raspberry and cherry fruit. The palate is fresh, elegant and pure with lovely sweet fruit. Sleek and refined, this is really polished but still has great definition and freshness. A really lovely wine, which carries the spicy oak so well. Give it a few years, I reckon”

Artadi El Seque Alicante 2009 ($44.95) $29 special 22 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 91 points
 “(90% monastrell and 10% syrah):  Opaque violet color.  Enticing aromas of cherry-cola, black raspberry, potpourri and Asian spices.  Very ripe but fresh and energetic, with excellent clarity to its sweet dark berry and spice flavors.  Juicy, penetrating and long on the finish, with the spice and floral notes echoing.”

Artadi Pagos Viejo Roija 2007 ($99.95) $79 special 13 bottles available
Wine Advocate 95 points
 “The 2007 Pagos Viejos is sourced from Artadi’s three best and most elevated vineyard sites, all planted to Tempranillo over 75 years of age. The wine was aged for 18 months in new French oak. It sports a superb aromatic array of toasty new oak, pencil lead, violets, incense, black cherry, and blueberry. Elegant, ripe, and velvety on the palate, it has superb depth and concentration, savory flavors, a firm structure, and a 45-second finish. Give it 6-8 years of additional bottle age and drink it from 2016 to 2032.”