Garnacha was the majority variety in La Rioja Baja until around 30 years ago. Arizcuren Strictly Garnacha aims to show the benefits of this variety in a specific place, the northern slopes of the Sierra de Yerga and its suitability for cultivation. To do this, we work with some of the few remaining old vineyards, on the one hand looking for a representative wine, and on the other to value the variety-forming ensemble: a Gobelet conduction system and an area; that of Sierra de Yerga. This way, perhaps the "desertification" process of the once historic Garnacha vineyards that existed in this area may be reversed. The wine seeks to be an expression of the both the variety and of the place where it grows, therefore no exogenous products are used in the process (except a small amount of sulphurous), and the wood is used exclusively for the wine stabilization process, without it being excessively marked.
Sierra de Yerga, Quel, La Rioja - D.O.C. Rioja
Early morning manual harvesting in 11Kg boxes with grape selection in the field. De-stemming and vatting in 500-litre stainless steel tanks. Cold pre-fermentative maceration for 2-4 days. Alcoholic fermentation with wild yeast at a controlled temperature of around 25ºC. Daily stirring and pumping over until a density of 1070 is achieved, followed by only stirring until fermentation is finished. Low sulphurous dose, with a total for this wine of 50mg/litre. Short post-fermentative maceration (2-3 days). Malolactic fermentation in stainless steel tank. 8 months in 225-litre American oak barrels (6th year) and an additional 2 months in new French oak barrels.
"To recover the memory of La Rioja Baja and to preserve the wine heritage of our ancestors; bringing the expression of a terroir, the Sierra de Yerga, to the bottle."
Javier Arizcuren comes from a family of wine growers from Quel, in La Rioja Baja. As a professional architect, his projects include the Marqués de Terán and Finca Los Arandinos wineries and, more recently, the restoration of the historic cellars (16th century) and the building complex (19th century) of Conde de los Andes, in Ollauri (La Rioja).
After studying viticulture and oenology at the University of La Rioja and making various trips to national and international wine regions, in 2009 he began to make a small amount of wine on the ground floor of the family home.
In 2011 he took over the family vineyards and began to assess its potential and the distinctive character of Quel wines.
Of all the vineyards that make up the family heritage, only those plots with the greatest wine-growing potential are attached to the Arizcuren project. These are plots between 40 and 130 years old, mostly Garnacha and Mazuelo (Carignan) bush vines in areas with optimal soil characteristics, altitude and orientation for viticulture.
These plots are worked organically, without using herbicides, pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. At the end of the cycle, the harvest date differs from year to year, depending on the moment in which the grapes reach the maximum balance between fruit, acidity, phenolic ripeness, etc.
The clusters obtained turn out to be a kind of diary in which the climatological fluctuations that have made them grow and mature can be tasted.
The year-round work is completed by a careful selection of grapes in the vineyard that are transported in plastic boxes to preserve their integrity as much as possible prior to their entry into the production tanks.
In 2016 Javier Arizcuren designed his own urban winery, a space transformed into a place for winemaking and aging wines. The entire process is carried out by hand in a series of multipurpose rooms. The grapes arrive at the winery in boxes and from there, all the operations of making Rioja wines are carried out: destemming, vatting and fermenting, devatting and pressing, aging in oak barrels, clay amphorae and vats, racking, bottling, labeling, encapsulated and of course, expedition and sale.
An open-door project for all those who want to know how to make, care for and live Arizcuren wines, made from minority grape varieties of the Rioja Qualified Designation of Origin, with the aim of recovering the traditional values of Rioja Baja and preserve the memory and wine heritage of the Yerga Mountain range.