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Respecting the local winemaking traditions inherited from his grandfather and safeguarding the old-vine Tempranillo indigenous to his native Rioja Alavesa, famed winemaker and Artadi owner, Juan Carlos López de Lacalle cultivates the individual “personalities” of his different vineyard blocks to create the Artadi Tempranillo. A wine that clearly demonstrates the approachability, quality and balance of a modern Rioja wine, the Artadi Tempranillo is clean and elegant with vibrant red fruit and subtle tannins. Made to enjoy soon after release, this consumer-friendly wine is gratifying, accessible and agreeable.

Varietal: 100% Tempranillo

2011 was a year of contrasts and an extremely dry vintage, where the Artadi vineyards received roughly 30% less rainfall than in previous years. The year began with a low hydric reserve and while the short, but heavy rains of March and April helped promote a healthy bud break, the vines’ seemingly rapid awakening from dormancy was stifled by the cooler-than-normal summer temperatures, which slowed down cluster growth and the ripening process. A sharp spike in temperature in late August -September caused a second dry spell to hit Rioja Alavesa, and Artadi’s vineyard management team had to watch each of their vineyard blocks carefully to make sure their vines achieved a perfect phenolic maturation. Harvest began on the 19th of September and ran through to the 11th of October. The resulting wines are said to be fruity and fresh, but with dense tannins - an interesting year and a vintage to watch.

Located within Rioja Alavesa at one of the highest points in Spain, the five vineyard blocks that contribute to this wine surround the medieval village of Laguardia, at an altitude of 1,890 feet. In a climate moderately influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and protected by the strong, cool winds of the northerly Sierra Cantabria mountain range, the vines that go into making the Artadi Tempranillo grow in sandy, clay and calcium-rich alluvial soils. Densely planted with varying orientations to the sun, the vineyard blocks are comprised of 10-20 year-old vines. By performing integrated and environmentally respectful viticultural practices where chemical fertilizers and pesticides are never used, and carrying out a green harvest and dropping fruit when needed, the Artadi team ensures their Tempranillo to be some of the best in the world.

Vineyards: Cerradillo Joven, Las Fuentes, Valmayor, Verdecillo, and Las Horcas Joven Vineyards

After the clusters were manually selected and harvested, they were delivered to the winery within 30 minutes of picking in 180 Kg boxes. Once at the winery, the clusters were then selected on a sorting table and, after being destemmed, each individual grape went through a third selection to ensure that only the highest quality fruit went to tank for fermentation. A pre-fermentative cold maceration took place for two days in open-top tanks before alcoholic fermentation began at 23ºC over a period of 7 days. During this time, manual punch-downs and soft pump-overs were performed twice per day until the free-flow wine was transferred to barrel for malolactic fermentation. The wine was then aged in fine grain, 225 liter second- to-fourth-year French oak barrels with a light-medium toast. The barrels were racked once during a total aging time of 10-12 months and the wine was then clarified with egg albumen and lightly filtered before bottling. Just over 10,000 9L cases were produced.

Wine analysis: 4.85 g/l (0.485%) total acidity; 3.68 pH; 14.0% alcohol by volume

Owner Juan Carlos López de Lacalle has been surrounded by old vines and great wines since early childhood when he used to accompany his grandfather during harvest time in Rioja. Dedication to detailed hard work is something he learned at an early age, and this is a governing principle for his three award-winning wineries in Rioja, Navarra and Alicante. Artadi’s ideology is that “the value of a great wine is intimately linked to the land and its people.” The conviction to safeguard this intimate link is what drove Juan Carlos to make wine in three distinct regions of Spain. Producing wines made from the single most important variety of each appellation, working with estate-grown fruit, and developing a team of viticultural experts that respect the traditions and climate of each region are Bodegas Artadi’s fundamental keys to success. Juan Carlos says that the particularity of different soils, disparate climates and the inherent excellence of the grape varieties are the genesis of the authenticity of Artadi’s portfolio of wines. Indeed, when one looks at Artadi’s contribution to Spanish winemaking, we find wines with character, personality and identity that reflect their roots in natural viticulture.
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