Bodegas Artadi 2014 Valdegines Tinto 750ml
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The 2014 Valdeginés was about to be bottled, but it was the final blend with the sulfur adjusted and everything. Like all of the 2014s, this wine will not carry the Rioja appellation. 2014 is slightly more generous than 2013; the tannins are rounder and the mouthfeel is softer, more approachable without being weak, perhaps more commercial/easy to understand, generous and nicely polished. The oak feels very integrated in the wine, even though the wine is still very young. With time in the glass, there are more notes of licorice and an earthy sensation. Some 14,000 bottles produced.
Score: (91 - 93) points -- Luis Gutiérrez, RobertParker.com, Aug 2016
Artadi has left the Rioja appellation. That's big news. For now, the idea to bottle village wines from the 2014 vintage onward has been put on hold, as the names of the villages are 'owned' by the appellation. But they have discontinued Pagos Viejos, with most of those grapes going to the 2014 Viñas de Gaín; and they will bottle between 1,000 and 2,000 bottles of a different 'Pagos Viejos' to sell exclusively at the winery for the people who visit them to have access to something exclusive. They will also have a small amount of white under the name Pagos Viejos using the white grapes found intermixed in the old vineyards. They also intend to produce a new single vineyard plot (Ribaltallo), situated on very sandy and stony soils above Contino that Juan Carlos López de Lacalle planted some ten years ago, and there is also a small parcel of old vines.
At the time of my tasting the 2014s had no labels, but they will most likely say only Álava-Spain. The 2013s are still under the Rioja appellation. The 2014s were in tank ready to be bottled (the bottling was delayed because they found a problem with some corks), with the sulfur adjusted and everything else ready. Even though I don't like unbottled samples, as I often find oxidative aromas, I decided to taste them because the next article on Rioja will be in some 16 months' time when I should retaste them bottled and with some bottle age together with the 2015s.
On a completely different note, they have recently purchased an important wine importing and distribution business that brings to Spain wines from many of the members of L’Académie Internationale du Vin, of which López de Lacalle is a member himself; and they have also started selling direct to final customers under the name Abó & Lacalle. At the same time, they have created their own importing company in the US, Artadi USA Importers. Lots of changes for Artadi.
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