93 Points - Parker
When Javier Arizcuren isn’t designing wineries for Rioja’s cutting-edge winemakers, he’s crafting some of the region's most expressive wines. As both an architect and a winemaker, Javier brings his discerning and creative mind into all of his work.
Solo Mazuelo is naturally cold macerated, fermented in concrete vats for about twelve days. It went through the malolactic fermentation in oak barrels, with an extended ageing - first twelve months in the same oak barrels and then for another twelve months in concrete vats - that is designed by Javier specifically to respect and enhance the characteristics of the Mazuelo variety.
Think fruity aromas of black plum, black and red currant, mild spices, cocoa, tobacco, dry flowers and balsamic notes.
In Javier’s own words:
“Mazuelo (Rioja's indigenous Cariñena) is a variety that was historically used in la Rioja to contribute to the longevity and freshness in the wine. Its was always part in the coupages of the greatest Rioja wines, contributing mainly to their longevity.
The La Cantera vineyard was planted by my grand father over thirty years ago in an ideal plot of land for the Mazuelo variety.
Its difficult cultivation and very low yields makes it more and more rare in Rioja. With this wine, we are able to show the essence of the variety planted in this particular Rioja's Terroir, in medium-high altitude vineyards on the northern slopes of the Sierra de Yerga, with a North-east orientation.”
Javier's urban winery/architectural studio is in downtown Logroño, the capital of La Rioja. Logroño traditionally had small wineries in many of its buildings, until a few decades ago. Javier’s is now the only urban winery in Logroño.
Annual Production: 4332 bottles (The club has access to 200 annually)
Type: Tinto (Red)
Finish: Perfumed and lasting
Grape Variety: 100% Mazuelo
Viticulture / Farming: Organic Farming - Terroir Driven
Ageing: In 225 and 500-litre oak barrels for 12 months, then and extra 12 months in concrete vats. It was bottled in November 2019
Winemakers: Javier Arizcuren
Bodega: Arizcuren Bodega y Viñedos
Region: La Rioja, Yerga subregion, Vineyards of La Cantera and El Arenal
Designation of Origin: DOCa Rioja
Micro-Climate: Continental/Mediterranean - hot and dry summers and cool/mild in the winters
Elevation: 530 to 600 meters above sea level
Age of Vines: Over 30 years old
Soil: Sandy loam and clay, with stones on the surface
- Drink now or keep for up to 12 years
- No decanting necessary, just uncork 15 minutes before serving
- Pairs with Tapas, Manchego or any cheese (cow, goat or sheep), Ibérico ham, Paté or any Spreads, Poultry, Pasta or Pizza, Legumes or Meat, typical Spanish dishes, all Mediterranean and Asian rice-based dishes spiced but not too hot.
- Ideal at 14/15 Celsius
the Sierra de Yerga, is an important mountain range that separates the Ebro River watershed from several other notable river valleys, such as the Duero, the Tajo (the Tagus), the Júcar and the Turia, and constitutes an important geographical vector for the Garnacha grape varieties in Spain.
We like to divide the Rioja viticultural area in seven terroirs, even though there are some experts that consider nine distinctive terroirs instead of seven.
Out of the seven terroirs, the Yerga (or Sierra de Yerga) terroir is in the south-east or lower part of the Ebro River course within La Rioja region.
Just as a reminder the seven subregions or main terroirs we consider in Rioja are from North to South: Obarenes (Oja and Tirón rivers), Occidental Sonsierra, Oriental Sonsierra, Najerilla, Moncalvillo, Iregua & Leza, and Yerga.
Natural fermentation in concrete vats, first in cold maceration for about 2 - 4 days, then a natural fermentation for about 12 days, with daily foot-treading and minimal remontados (pump-over or agitation) .
The malolactic fermentation and initial ageing of the wine was done in 225 and 500 litre oak barrels, for twelve months, followed by a second ageing equal period of twelve month in concrete vats. This achieves a perfect integration of the tertiary oak tannins, keeping all the organoleptic characteristics of the Mazuelo variety, and its freshness.
The wine was bottled in November 2019; therefore it has matured in the bottle for almost two years.
Javier Arizcuren was born into a family of viticulturists in the village of Quel, La Rioja Oriental. As both an architect and a winemaker he often finds his two worlds colliding; among his architectural projects include the Bodegas of Marqués de Terán and Finca Los Arandinos and more recently he worked on restoring the famous historic calados (tunnel systems used for wine storage) of Ollauri and the buildings of las Bodegas Conde de los Andes.
After studying viticulture and enology at the university of Rioja and experimenting in making small amounts of wine, in 2011 he decided to take care of his family’s vineyards, further honing his winemaking and discovering the unique character of the Sierra de Yerga’s terroir. Javier works with 16 hectares of family vineyards ranging from 30 - 120 years old of mainly Garnacha grapes but also Mazuelo, Viura and Tempranillo, always looking to preserve the traditional viticulture of his village.
All the parcels are cultivated using sustainable and organic methods, without any pesticides, herbicides, or any synthetic products. The plots are all located in the Sierra de Yerga, this important mountain range separates the Ebro River watershed from several other notable river valleys, such as the Duero, the Tajo (the Tagus), the Júcar and the Turia, and constitutes an important geographical vector for the Garnacha grape varieties in Spain.
In 2016, Javier opened his urban winery in Logroño, the capital of Rioja. The space serves as both his architectural studio and his bodega, where he crafts and ages his wines. He designed the multi-purpose space to be efficient, modern, clean, and it beautifully celebrates all the rituals of the artisanal winemaking process. The doors are always open to anyone who wants to see the behind-the-scenes life of Arizcuren wines.
Logroño traditionally had small wineries in many of its buildings, until a few decades ago. Javier’s is now the only urban winery remaining in Logroño.
Ratings & Reviews
93 Points - Tim Atkin (Master of Wine)
"One of three Mazuelos in Javier Arizcuren range, this lightly wooded example of his signature grape comes from two parcels in Quel: La Cantera and El Arenal, covering 2.5 hectares in total. Serious, compact and firm, with black fig and tapenade flavours, lots of supporting acidity and top notes of the mountainside herbs that surround the vines. 2022-30."
93 Points - Luis Gutiérrez Santo Domingo (Wine Advocate, Robert Parker)
"I found the 2017 Solomazuelo to be quite classy, showing varietal characteristics with integrated and respectful oak. The variety needs heat and seems to behave well in warm vintages like 2017. It's harmonious, and besides the floral and tree bark-like note of the variety, there is also something fresh reminiscent of orange peel. The palate has superb balance, very fine tannins and good freshness. This is a very elegant Mazuelo! It matured in 225- and 500-liter oak barrels for one year and a further year in concrete vats. 4,332 bottles were filled in November 2019"