Last week we were joined by Carlos Lopez de Lacaille of top Rioja producer, Artadi, for a fantastic tasting of their wines. We’ve been importing in Artadi’s wines for several years now but this was the first chance we’d had to welcome a member of the family behind them to guide us through the range. It was a fascinating and informative evening!
Founded in 1985, Artadi rapidly established an excellent reputation for high-quality, terroir-focused wines, intent on expressing the qualities of Rioja wines at their best.
Artaid focuses on two key concepts when creating their various wines – wines blended from several vineyards to create a style that consistently expresses Artadi’s vision of Rioja, and single-vineyard wines expressing the unique style of a particular site. They were pioneers of the latter concept in Rioja and now produce three separate single-vineyard wines.
Artadi has also expanded their operations into the neighbouring wine regions of Alicante and Navarra, hoping to capture the essence of these regions too.
We kicked off the tasting with the delicious Artazuri Blanco form their Navarra estate. Elegant and fresh it’s an interesting blend of Viura and Chardonnay.
Moving on to the reds we began with the El Seque from Alicante. 80% Monastrell, 10% Syrah and 10% Tempranillo, it was surprisingly open and forward with loads of fruit but also nice hints of earthy, funky complexity.
The 100% Grenache Santa Cruz de Artazu from Navarra comes from vineyards planted nearly 100 years ago. Deep and complex it showed great floral notes on the nose and a terrific fresh acidity that Carlos describes as ‘electric’.
We moved to the Rioja wines next with the Artadi Tempranillo first up. Coming from the estates younger vines, up to around 15 years old, this was a fruit-driven, easy-drinking style that offers really good value.
Artadi’s Viñas de Gain comes from the older vines, around 30 to 50 years old. There’s a definite step up in depth and concentration with a much weightier mouthfeel. A beautiful wine.
Next up were a pair of Artadi’s single-vineyard wines which were both stunning, but in quite different styles. The Valdegines, coming off 50 year old vines, was more fresh and elegant, a style Carlos described as feminine. The La Poza de Ballesteros was a distinct contrast with a deeper, earthier and more savoury nose. It was an intense wine, bigger and burlier than the Valdegines but still beautifully balanced. One of the wines of the night.
The final wine was the Pagos Viejos. This is from a selection of Artadi’s oldest vines that results in terrific depth and complexity. More subtle in style than the preceding La Poza but equally superb.