Artadi Valdegines 2021


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“The bottled 2021 Valdeginés showed much better than the unbottled sample I tasted last time. The wine is a little austere, very integrated and harmonious, with fine tannins. It feels very young and undeveloped but with high potential, with all the elements and balance to age nicely in bottle. The 2021s are going to need time in bottle. Carlos López de Lacalle says Valdeginés is a serious wine but with a jovial palate, with energy and charm. 15,000 bottles were produced, which is the largest production of the single-vineyard wines. It was bottled in May 2023. Drink: 2025-2031. 94 + points

I tasted the 2020s and 2021s from Artadi. They have been working to understand their soils in the valley, where they have quite a lot of sand in the vineyards.

I tasted the bottled 2021s from Artadi and the 2022s from barrel. 2021 was a cooler year, in the style of 2018; and 2022 saw an extremely warm summer, but the results are much better than expected. Since 2021, they have reduced the single-vineyard bottlings of very small plots that were bottled for collectors (sold directly at the winery) and are using those grapes to improve the Viñas de Gaín, with the idea to increase the quality to reach what was before the Pagos Viejos and even discarding some of the vineyards that in the past were part of Viñas de Gaín, reducing volumes too.

The 2021s are much better than what I previewed last year. It’s a fresh vintage that follows the path of 2010, with fine but ripe tannins and lighter, elegant and fine-boned wines, because, despite being a warm year, the plants didn’t get stressed and the ripening was very good without very high peaks; the wines are ripe and fresh. They are in the process of moving the élevage to larger barrels, 500- and 600-liter ones starting in 2021, with the idea to replace maybe 15% of them and move all the wines to 600-liter barrels.

2022 was the warmest year in recent times, a year with stress, but the result is much better than expected, with lower alcohol, less structure and lower pH. Carlos López de Lacalle reckons the plants got blocked and there was no ripening, or if anything, there was a phenological stop that generated less tannins and sugar. For them, it is a unique year that takes them back to the 1990s, with less alcohol, less structure and more ethereal wines! All the 2022s I tasted were already in stainless steel to be bottled a little earlier, around March/April. They are changing, and the end of the élevage is going to be in foudre, so 600-liter barrels until malolactic is over in the spring and then foudre (now in stainless steel) for almost one year. In 2022, El Pisón and La Hoya already saw that treatment, and it was introduced to the other wines starting in 2023, slowly, as they have to buy new foudres of their size, one foudre for each of the single-vineyard wines.

They have done soil studies and found great geological diversity that has helped them to better understand their terroir. The vinification was similar for all wines, fermentation in open stainless steel tanks after a cold maceration of 24 to 48 hours and 10 to 12 days with two daily treadings and a short pump-over followed by malolactic in barrel and aging in demi-muid for nine months. Alcohol levers are around 14.5%, which defined the style of the wines, ripe without excess with balance and good freshness.”

Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate (02/24)