Nowadays when people talk about Artadi, the first thing that is mentioned was their big decision to leave the appellation of Rioja in 2015. To really understand Artadi, you need to start at the beginning. In 1985, a group of growers, formed a co-operative in Laguardia, a village in the Rioja Alavesa sub-region of Rioja. Led by Juan Carlos López de Lacalle, the winery was much different at the beginning, producing largely easy drinking wine meant for early consumption. Inspired by Bordeaux, Lacalle began to increase quality, garnering worldwide attention for his wine called “Pagos Viejos.” Blending from various old vine vineyard sources, his fascination with these single sites would eventually manifest themselves into single vineyard bottlings in 2009.
The reason why López de Lacalle decided to pull out of the appellation, not including Rioja on his labels, was his unwavering belief that Rioja’s future lies in the idea and concept of “terroir.” The Rioja region is too big for the consumer to know what they are getting with just the generic appellation tag. These wines muddle the brilliance that many winemakers are displaying in their wines that do come from a particular place. Château Latour is not a Vin de Bordeaux, it is Latour, a great terroir, known throughout the world. That is the future that Lacalle sees.
“El Carretil” is one of the top wines from Artadi. A special old-vine parcel with limestone-rich soil. The 2016 is truly impressive. Decant and drink now if you’d like, although Rioja is one of the great aging wines of the world.
"Even if some compare it with El Pisón, the 2016 El Carretil doesn't quite reach the same heights, even though Carretil has to be one of their best plots, a limestone-rich vineyard at 500 meters in altitude in the village of Laguardia. The vineyard is further north and therefore a cooler place, even if it mainly faces south. This wine comes from three different parcels planted at different times (80 years, 50 years and 40 years ago), averaging maybe 50 years. This is always very mineral, with up to 17% limestone (the other soils have maybe 10%), and elegant, incisive and lively, with great tannins and lots of energy. The process is similar or the same for all the wines, so they try to express the differences provided by each place. And this has to be one of their best places. 6,500 bottles produced. 97 Points, Luis Gutiérrez, Wine Advocate.”
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