B-21 Top Recommendation
Whether viewed as a simple rebellion or an act of treason, esteemed producer Bodegas Artadi sent shockwaves throughout Rioja in 2015 when they left the appellation. Artadi continues to produce top notch wines in the region, and while the outstanding 2018 Artadi Viñas de Gain may not bear the Rioja designation on the label, its pedigree cannot be denied.
The Artadi story began in 1985 when the prime coop vineyards belonging to a group of local growers in the Rioja Alavesa sub-region were purchased by the visionary Juan Carlos López de Lacalle, who recognized their incredible potential. Juan Carlos introduced a philosophy of sustainability and an emphasis on terroir, leading him to separately vinify the grapes from each vineyard to preserve their uniqueness based on soil, aspect and altitude. His efforts were rewarded in 2004 with the Bodegas’ first 100 pt. Robert Parker review. As the introduction to Artadi’s range of Tempranillo based wines, the Viñas de Gain is a blend of these various parcels ranging from 20-30 years, displaying rich vibrant red fruit with a firm, powerful structure, offering incredible value.
Located in the northern Basque region of Rioja, Alavesa has slighter higher elevations and has more chalky clay and limestone in its soil, giving the wines a distinctive dusty mineral tone on the finish. While the 2018 Vinas de Gain may not be defined as Rioja, its origins in Alavesa are clear, exhibiting pure fresh fruit, spice and earth nuances and balanced acidity, trademarks across the Artadi portfolio. As the entry level offering in Artadi's range, the 2018 Artadi Viñas de Gain displays impressive purity of fruit with layers of flavor reminiscent of a complex Burgundy, an impressive value as well.