On the 3rd September we visited Juan Carlos Lopez de Lacalle, founder of Artadi, one of the groundbreaking winemakers currently making waves in Rioja. His premises in Laguardia are state of the art, ultra clean and attention is paid to every detail. Even the small trays used to bring in the harvest so that there is not too much weight on each grape, are uniform white in colour stamped with the red of Artadi.Touring the cellars, you can see that there is a fanatical fastidiousness at work here. However, Juan Carlos is modest, humble even, when it comes to his wines.
We move to his home to taste the new 2009 vintage, 2008 and 2007, which has just been bottled. As Jim states “2007 & 2008 are good wines, but 2009 puts them in their place”. The 09s are a delight: balance, power and freshness all come together. We have not tasted many young wines that are as compelling as El Pison, Artadi’s single vineyard wine, which is also the site for our homely lunch with Juan Carlos and his family. El Pison 1995 and barbequed lamb – a real treat and the perfect conclusion to a fantastic visit.