Barranco del Prado - 2018
94 Points - Tim Atkin (Master of Wine)
Barranco del Prado takes its name from the plot it comes from, a 0.32-hectare vineyard that survived over 300 years of history. One should expect something quite unique from such a crop.
The treasured vineyard is a reflection of a bygone era and a pure expression of the Sierra de Yerga Terroir.
The wine is rich, wild, and concentrated, with the typical freshness of grapes cultivated at 800 meters of altitude. It envelopes you in an enchanting floral bouquet and wild aromatic herbs with notes of violets and incense. This wine has a beautifully intense and long finish.
Only 678 bottles and 64 magnums were produced and just 70 bottles are available to Albae. Barranco del Prado, which is found on the wine lists of several Michelin-star restaurants in Spain, may also be kept for well over ten years maturing in the bottle. Don't miss out on this masterpiece.
The vines are pure strains, ungrafted, from the era before the phylloxera outbreak which devastated the vineyards of Europe in the mid to late 19th century, all of them planted over 120 years ago. They are cultivated on the north side of the slopes of the Yerga Mountain at 768 meters above sea level.
Typically all vineyards planted over 90 years ago in Rioja had a mix of grapes. This vineyard has a handful of indigenous vines apart from Garnacha, two varieties, one red, Tinto Velasco (in the past also known as Graciano de Alfaro, although the DNA actually is not related with Graciano), and one white, Calagraño (one of the most ancient grapes of Rioja, now almost extinct).
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: 678 bottles & 64 magnum (The Club has access to 70 bottles and 8 magnum annually)
Type: Tinto (Red)
Finish: Very long & Smooth
Grape Variety: 97% Garnacha, 2% Tinto Velasco & 1% Calagraño
Viticulture / Farming: Organic Farming - Terroir Driven
Vinification: In open-top stainless-steel vats. Cold maceration for 2 to 4 days. Alcoholic fermentation for about 20 days with daily foot treading. No malolactic fermentation
Ageing: 18 months in French oak barrels. Bottled in March 2020
Winemaker: Javier Arizcuren
Bodega: Arizcuren Bodega y Viñedos
Region: La Rioja, Yerga subregion, Municipality of Quel
Designation of Origin: DOCa Rioja
Micro-Climate: Continental/Mediterranean - hot summers and cool/mild in the winters
Elevation: 768 meters above sea level
Age of Vines: Over 120 years old
Soil: Sandy loam from decomposed Granite and Silica
- Drink now or keep for up to 15 years
- Decanting is recommended
- Pairs with Tapas, Manchego or any cheese (cow, goat or sheep), Ibérico ham, Paté or any Spreads, Legumes, Meat or stews, typical Spanish dishes, all Mediterranean and Asian rice-based dishes spiced but not too hot.
- Ideal at 14/15 Celsius
Arizcuren wines directly represent the Sierra de Yerga Terroir.
The Sierra de Yerga is the mountain range that separates the Cidacos River valley and the Alhama River valley, both tributaries of the Ebro River, in the oriental part of the Rioja wine region.
The vineyard is found in the municipality of Quel, located on the northern side of the Yerga mountain range, which runs West to East.
Most of the 16 hectares of the Arizcuren family vineyards are on the slopes of this majestic mountain range, some also in the valley. The valley is a very rich area biodynamically speaking, with a large variety of aromatic plants, orchards, flora, and fauna.
The paraje Barranco del Prado is North-facing and sits quite high on the slopes of the Yerga mountain, at 768 metres of altitude, whilst the mountain peak is at 1,101 metres above sea level.
This is an excellent environment and microclimate that provides freshness to the vineyards, which Javier has been diligently caring over.
All of Arizcuren's wines are made using traditional and sustainable practices. After destemming, the grapes undergo three days of cold maceration followed by natural fermentation with indigenous yeasts for about eighteen days in open-top stainless steel vats with daily foot treading and gentle movement of the wine over the cap. The wine doesn't go through malolactic fermentation and is immediately transferred to used French-oak barrels for eighteen months of maturing. It was bottled in March 2020.
Javier Arizcuren was born into a family of viticulturists in the village of Quel, La Rioja Baja. 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 and Viura, 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
94 Points - Tim Atkin (Master of Wine)
"To my mind, this is the best Garnacha release yet from Javier Arizcuren. Fermented and aged in amphoras in his stylish urban winery in downtown Logroño, it's fresher brighter and better balanced than previous releases, with the youthful enthusiasm of a parcel planted more recently. Floral, refined and racy with good “minerality” and savoury tannins. Impressive for such a young site."
93+ Points - Luis Gutiérrez Santo Domingo (Wine Advocate, Robert Parker)
The 2018 Barranco del Prado has an extra degree of freshness when compared with the 2015 I tasted before. This was produced with Garnacha from an ancient, ungrafted vineyard at 750 meters in altitude, planted mostly with Garnacha and some other varieties, a traditional red variety, and even some white grapes. In a year like 2018 when the grapes ripened thoroughly, this reached 15.5% alcohol and still feels quite balanced, and it has retained very high acidity and a healthy pH. The vines are on sandy soil, which makes them resistant to phylloxera and tends to deliver wines with finesse. The destemmed grapes fermented with indigenous yeasts, and the wine matured in well-seasoned, neutral French oak barrels for 18 months. There are 678 bottles and 64 magnums that were filled in March 2020.