Tag: Artadi

Mar 03 2011

Artadi: The Winery that Reinvented Rioja Tempranillo

Posted on March 03, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Single vineyard wines, old vines, low yields, organic farming, ripe harvests, severe grape selection and non-interventionist winemaking. Today, we associate a lot of these practices with our best quality wines, but when Juan Carlos López de Lacalle, the legendary winemaker at Rioja’s Artadi, first began pioneering the practices in the mid 1980s, he was considered a revolutionary. Now he is regarded as the man who has changed the face of Rioja wines!

Artadi is not a boutique winemaker. Today the winery makes over a million bottles a year, but López de Lacalle’s philosopy is more inline with the artisanal winemarker. As he explained to the Wine Spectator’s Bruce Schoenfeld “The Riojas of the ’80s were smooth, but their skeletons were angular..There was no flesh on them, no possibility of a caress. We wanted a viable alternative. Much about us is the same as the other Riojas–we have the same terrain, the same tempranillo. But the expression of the grape is different, as is our philosophy for the wine.” (Four Trailblazing Bodegas by Bruce Schoenfeld, Wine Spectator, 28 January 2003).

The Vina El Pison, a single vineyard tempranillo made from vines planted in 1945 on sandy soils over pure limestone, regularly achieves skyrocketing Robert Parker scores. The Grand Anadas and the Pagos Viejos, two other old vine tempranillos, are equally well regarded. The more affordable Vinas de Gain, is also 100% tempranillo. Sourced from 40- to 60-year-old vines, it is aged in 40% new French oak for 12-14 months.

In many respects, López de Lacalle’s story sounds familiar to Australian wine lovers. In the mid 1980s, Rockford winemaker Robert O’Callaghan paid his growers more than twice the going rate for their old vine fruit at a time when the South Australian government was encouraging growers to pull out their old vines and ‘modernise’ their vineyards. Similarly Lopez de Lacalle encouraged the growers of Cosecheros Alvases co-op, the genesis of the modern day Artardi, to respect and nurture their old vines in a period when Rioja was slumping… [Read More]

Mar 03 2011

New Generation of Spanish Winemakers Create Renewed Interest in Tempranillo

Posted on March 03, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

On Saturday, I attended a Sydney Morning Herald’s Growers’ Market NSW Wine Festival tasting hosted by Huon Hooke and Nick Stock. I was impressed with the tempranillo wines on offer, especially the Audrey Wilkinson Tempranillo Hunter Vallery 2009.

Hooke was asked why we are only just starting to see tempranillo being made by a significant number of wineries in Australia. He said that, unlike other parts of the world, Australia has experienced relatively low Spanish migration. Consequently, in contrast to French and most Italian varieties,.. [Read More]

Nov 11 2010

Australian Tempranillo: Coming into its Own!

Posted on November 11, 2010 | By merrill@cellarit.com

My husband had the good fortune to attend the NSW Wine Awards Dinner at Guillaume at Bennelong in October. He came back raving about the Mount Majura Vineyard 2009 Tempranillo (Canberra District), which was among the top 40 best wines of the show.

Mount Majura produced its first vintage of tempranillo in 2003. Since then the wine has garnered so much acclaim that it has become the flagship variety of the winery!

Mount Majura’s Viticulturist and Winemaker Frank van de Loo very much believes that great wine is made in the vineyard,.. [Read More]