Artadi 2019 Releases En Primeur
A Rare Opportunity to buy from a vintage already talked about in hushed tones.
Pablo Franco, director of the Control Chamber of the Denomination, has been quoted as saying a “Unique Vintage” and “Although it is still early to look at the results, we have high hopes that this vintage will be recorded as a memorable year in the history of Rioja wine.”
Juan Carlos López de Lacalle, Bodegas Artadi’s owner and winemaker, is a man who by his hard work, determination and skill changed the way that Rioja was viewed both domestically and internationally. Since establishing Artadi in Rioja, he has taken his knowledge and passion to Navarra and Alicante, where he and his team have been fulfilling the undoubted potential that exists in those areas.
Bodegas Artadi was established in 1985 from a cooperative of some thirteen growers based near Laguardia in Rioja Alavesa. In 1992, having seen the potential of their vines and vineyards, the Lacalle and Laorden took full control of the project and set about transforming every aspect of vineyard management and winemaking. Today, Artadi pretty much defines ‘modern Rioja’, although since 2016 they no longer use Rioja on their labels, having left the Consejo – a decision that caused a great deal of consternation, to put it mildly! The reasoning was understandable: Juan Carlos firmly believes in grape and terroir above all else and that any wine must be made around these two key elements – types of oak and aging processes must conform to what he sees as his wines’ best interests, and he felt that the rules laid down by the Consejo prevented his wines from reflecting their true origins. Artadi use only French oak for all their wines and their vineyards and wines are now certified organic.
2019 has produced some amazing wines but, much like Burgundy in 2019, quantities are significantly down on 2018, by an average of 35%. Spring saw few problems, but the summer was hot and dry, not particularly unusual but there was a damaging hail storm late in August and generally a lack of water. They had extraordinarily good conditions throughout September and October and the vines produced tightly packed clusters of small, healthy grapes that had everyone very excited during harvest, while the resulting wines and early tastings have confirmed their early expectations.
The extremely high quality of this vintage, as well as the relative rarity of most of these wines, make them potentially a good investment. Certainly, they will provide exceptional drinking in the future!
Price is per 6 x 75cl under bond UK, wines are due to be shipped late September 2021.
All wines are limited in quantity.
2019 Valdeginés – £145
Rating (92 – 93), Drink Date 2022 – 2028. Reviewed by Luis Gutiérrez, Issue Date 21st Jan 2021, Source January 2021 Week 3, The Wine Advocate The 2019 Valdeginés comes from an east-facing plot of five hectares opposite La Poza de Ballesteros. The plot was planted 35 to 40 years ago at 600 meters in altitude in the village of Laguardia, and it gets the morning sun. 2019 is a fresh and fruit-driven vintage. Despite the warmth of the year and the lack of water, it has ripe fruit, but the palate is not heavy; it’s quite fluid. There is a bitter twist that somehow also adds to the freshness. All 2019s are in stainless steel, as they are racked out of the barrels as soon as malolactic finishes; in 2019, that was in July. It’s harmonious and with round tannins. A gentle Valdeginés, which seems to be the character of the year. They are quite approachable and ready in general. They expect some 13,500 bottles of this. It should be bottled in the spring of 2021.
2019 Quintanilla – £195
Rating (92 – 93), Drink Date 2022 – 2028. Reviewed by Luis Gutiérrez, Issue Date 21st Jan 2021, Source January 2021 Week 3, The Wine Advocate This wine comes from a plot in the town of Elvillar, a walled, old-vine plot located in what was the 15th-century village of San Lorenzo de Quintanilla. The vineyard tends to produce powerful wines and its grapes always used to make it into the Pagos Viejos. The 2019 Quintanilla combines the power of the year and the place; there are more tannins here, and it has the chalky sensation of the limestone. It also has notions of ripe berries and the characteristic of this year’s wines, keeping the freshness. This is austere and mineral within the ripeness. They expect to bottle around 2,800 bottles. It should be bottled in the spring of 2021.
2019 La Poza de Ballesteros – £370
Rating (91 – 92), Drink Date 2022 – 2027. Reviewed by Luis Gutiérrez, Issue Date 21st Jan 2021, Source January 2021 Week 3, The Wine Advocate The unbottled 2019 La Poza de Ballesteros is, as always, a powerful and ripe wine. The exposition to the afternoon sun and the deeper soils give the grapes more ripeness, and this is a riper expression of Tempranillo. The wine has notes of black fruit and tobacco, and it’s round and generous, more voluptuous, with round tannins and instant gratification. It’s expressive and direct, quite gentle. The expectation is to produce around 3,000 bottles. It should be bottled in the spring of 2021.
2019 El Carretil – £725
Rating (94 – 96), Drink Date 2022 – 2029. Reviewed by Luis Gutiérrez, Issue Date 21st Jan 2021, Source January 2021 Week 3, The Wine Advocate The 2019 El Carretil comes from a largish plot of 3.64 hectares planted at three different times—1930, 1975 and 1988—on limestone, sandstone and silt soils with up to 18% active limestone.
2019 Viña El Pisón – £1260
Rating (96 – 98) Drink Date 2023 – 2032. Reviewed by Luis Gutiérrez, Issue Date 21st Jan 2021, Source January 2021 Week 3, The Wine Advocate The 2019 Viña El Pisón comes from their flagship from a vineyard planted in 1946 in Laguardia at 480 meters on poor clay, limestone and sandstone soils. It has aromas of fennel and licorice, and it’s ripe, reflecting a warmer year but without excess, just a little more voluptuous and generous, a little more Mediterranean. This is seamless and solid, nicely built like a jigsaw where all the pieces fit perfectly. It showcases the character of the vintage, ripeness with freshness. Carlos López de la Calle told me it reminds him of a sphere, with a weightless center and a solid structure. It has abundant, fine-grained, chalky tannins. This wine has amazing balance. It should be long-lived in bottle. This should deliver around 6,000 bottles. They expect to bottle it in the spring of 2021.