Sologarnacha - 2018
93 Points - Tim Atkin (Master of Wine)
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 Garnacha is naturally cold macerated in small stainless steel vats for about three days, and fermented in the same stainless steel open vats for about twelve days with daily gentle foot-treading. It went through the malolactic fermentation in used French-oak 400-litre barrels, with an ageing period of twelve months in the same barrels.
Think fruity aromas of juicy cherries and red plums, dark berries, mediterranean aromatic herbs, and some mineral, earthy notes.
In Javier’s own words:
“Garnacha was the most extended variety in la Rioja no more than forty years ago. But now it covers just about 10% of all Rioja's vineyard.
With this wine I want to show the beauty and qualities of this variety, especially in this very specific Rioja Terroir of the Northern slopes of the Sierra de Yerga, and therefore the suitability of the terroir to the Garnachas.
The grapes come from two of the few old vineyards of Garnacha left in the area."
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: 2,450 bottles (The club has access to 130 annually)
Type: Tinto (Red)
Finish: Warm and lasting
Grape Variety: 100% Garnacha
Viticulture / Farming: Organic Farming - Terroir Driven
Ageing: In 225 and 400-litre French-oak used barrels for 12 months. It was bottled in December 2019
Winemakers: Javier Arizcuren
Bodega: Arizcuren Bodega y Viñedos
Region: La Rioja, Yerga subregion, Vineyards of El Pastor and El Foro
Designation of Origin: DOCa Rioja
Micro-Climate: Continental/Mediterranean - hot and dry summers and cool/mild in the winters
Elevation: 550 to 600 meters above sea level
Age of Vines: Over 60 years old
Soil: Sandy loam and clay
- Drink now or keep for up to 8 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 open stainless steel 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 400 litre oak barrels, for twelve months.
The wine was bottled in December 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)
"Well-known local architect Javier Arizcuren is making some of the most exciting wines in the Rioja Oriental, using old-vine parcels in Quel to brilliant effect. This combines amphora and oak-aged portions and is intensely aromatic, with notes of wild thyme, sweet dark berry fruit, fine tannins and supporting acidity and grip. 2022-28."
92 Points - Luis Gutiérrez Santo Domingo (Wine Advocate, Robert Parker)
"The 2018 Sologarnacha is ripe and reaches 15% alcohol, giving it a more Mediterranean profile, generous and round, with notes of aromatic herbs and cereals. It has pungent, intoxicating flavours à la Châteauneuf, with a liqueur-like twist in the finish. It's showy and impressive. This fermented in stainless steel with 10% stems and indigenous yeasts and matured in used French barriques, but there are no aromas or flavours from the oak. 2,450 bottles produced."