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Artadi Valdegines 2015

Artadi Valdegines 2015

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"Since 2014, all of Artadi's wines have been sold without appellation of origin, but their origin is, of course, Rioja, as most of the vineyards are in Laguardia or in the nearby villages. The 2015 Valdeginés fermented with indigenous yeasts in open-top vats like before, but the time in barrel was shortened to nine months (from 12). The year was dry and this is a little warmer. The fruit feels quite forward and black rather than red, without the tannic structure of the 2014s. They are very different vintages. There is some more lightness on the finish here, and I had difficulties deciding which one I preferred. The truth is that 2014, 2015 and 2016 are very good vintages for Artadi. 2017 has been more difficult, and the wines feel a little tannic from the lack of rain. 13,000 bottles produced. Drink: 2019-2025. 93 points

This was my first visit to Artadi since they left the Rioja appellation of origin. The wines are bottled as Vino de España, even though all their grapes grow within the Rioja limits. They work 80 hectares of vineyards mainly in their village, Laguardia, and neighboring Elvillar. They age their wines in some 800 barrels and each vintage gives them some 400,000 bottles to sell.

I tasted the 2014, 2015 and 2016 vintages. The 2016s are still unbottled, mainly because 2016 is a year of big change, but I wanted to bring you the information sooner rather than later. So, there are new wines in 2016 from Artadi! The 2014 vintage has more structure, wines for long aging in bottle (they are a bit closed now, but they benefit from decanting). 2015 has more fruit without the tannic structure of 2014, more accessible with rounder tannins, expressive and gentle, very clean and defined. 2016 was a big crop in the zone, producing more ethereal wines but with lots of depth, an improved version of 2008 with high acidity. In 2016 they lowered the time in oak. The wines were taken out of barrel when malolactic finished, some eight months in the case of this vintage, because malolactic is slow. In 2015 they had already started trying to have less time in barrel, but the big change is in 2016."

Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate (235)