· WINEMAKER’S NOTES ·
After twenty years of experience working the vineyards and vinifying each lot separately that goes into making his celebrated ARTADI Pagos Viejos, famed winemaker and Artadi owner, Juan Carlos López de Lacalle has selected three of his best pagos, or individual vineyard blocks, to create the prestigious ARTADI Valdeginés, ARTADI El Carretil and ARTADI La Poza de Ballesteros single-vineyard wines. Made from 35-65 year-old vines located in Rioja Alavesa at an average altitude of 1,700 feet, these hand-crafted wines are made in extremely small quantities for the rare wine collector and distinguished wine consumer alike. A wine that is both incredibly refined and well-structured, Valdeginés enters the mouth smoothly and is supported by a strong backbone of ripe and chewy tannins. Ending with a long, velvety finish, this extraordinary single-vineyard wine clearly demonstrates the quality potential of a stellar Rioja. Meant to drink now or age up to 50-100 years, only 630 6-bottle cases were produced.
Varietal: 100% Tempranillo
· VINTAGE ·
The 2009 vintage was one of contrasting weather conditions of extreme rainfall and temperature spikes. The year began with heavy precipitation (230 liters/m2) that provided a valuable hydric reserve and the necessary energy for the spring budding of the vines. This, paired with mild temperatures in April, brought about an early bud break and the presence of visible bunches that were not very plentiful but well formed. A hot and dry summer caused a premature vegetative stop, and an early withering of the shoots was found in vineyards with light soil. Fortunately, the heavy rain that fell September 10th-20th prevented excessive vine dehydration and promoted proper grape maturation. A cool September was the key to a balanced phenolic maturation, where harvest began in the youngest vineyards on September 24th and ended in the oldest on October 19th. Due to a complete absence of disease, 2009 was considered to be a very healthy vintage, with moderate yields that produced wines with fresh fruit of crystalline definition, subtle tannins, and smooth texture.
· AN EXCEPTIONAL VINEYARD·
Grown in the nutrient-poor, calcareous clay sub-soils that surround the ancient walled village of Laguardia, the 17.3 acre Valdeginés vineyard is located at an altitude of 1,728 feet above sea-level, in one of the highest grape-growing regions of the Iberian peninsula. A densely-spaced, east-facing vineyard, Valdeginés consists of two micro-terroirs where vines lie either in the shallow soil of soft sandstone slopes or along the ancient rock terraces that are made up of cooler, deeper soils. As all of the Artadi vineyards are dry-farmed and maintained naturally, chemical fertilizers and pesticides are never used in this inimitable vineyard. A blend of both hillside and terraced fruit, Valdeginés is consistently both incredibly complex and pleasing on the palate vintage-to-vintage.
· FERMENTATION AND AGING ·
After each cluster was manually harvested and put into small 15 Kg boxes, they were delivered to the winery within 15 minutes of picking and placed upon a sorting table. Once the best clusters had been selected, they were destemmed and the individual grapes went through a second selection to ensure that only the highest quality fruit was used for fermentation. A pre-fermentative cold maceration took place for two days in open-top oak tanks before alcoholic fermentation began between 20-25ºC over a period of 12-15 days. During this time, manual punch-downs and soft pump-overs were performed twice daily until the free-flow wine was transferred to barrel for malolactic fermentation. The wine was then aged in the same fine grain, 225-liter new French oak barrels with a light-medium toast. The barrels were racked once during a total aging time of 14 months and the wine was then clarified using egg albumen and lightly filtered before bottling on May 6th, 2011.
Wine analysis: 5.48 g/l (0.55%) total acidity; 3.54 pH; 13.94% 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 detail and hard work is something he learned at an early age, and these are the governing principles for his three world-class wineries in Rioja (Artadi), Navarra (Artazu) and Alicante (El Sequé). These three distinctive properties focus on three individual grape varietals, and have each been leaders in quality for over a decade.