Owner and winemaker of ARTADI, Juan Carlos López de Lacalle, developed his passion for wine and viticulture at a young age. Often accompanying his grandfather during harvest time in Rioja Juan Carlos understands the importance and dedication to detailed, delicate hard work that it takes to produce excellent wines. Built on these principles, today he has three award-winning wineries located in Rioja (Bodegas ARTADI), Navarra (Artazu) and Alicante (El Sequé).
Producing wines made from the single most important variety of each appellation, working with estate-grown fruit and developing a team of viticultural experts that respect the traditions and climate of each region are Bodegas ARTADI’s fundamental keys to success in each of the three regions. If asked, Juan Carlos would say the peculiarity of different soils, disparate climates and the inherent excellence of the grape varieties are the genesis of the authenticity of ARTADI’s portfolio of wines.
The ARTADI winery produces 200,000-300,000 bottles per year from Rioja Alavesa. With the highest elevation in Rioja, the Álava region is typically known for producing wines that are richer and more aromatic. Reflecting their roots in natural viticulture, chemical pesticides and fertilizers are never used and green harvests are performed when necessary. In respect of the local Tempranillo variety, only mono-varietal wines are produced from a single or multiple vineyards.
Grapes are vinified with the utmost care – clusters are manually harvested and then delivered to the winery within 30 minutes of picking in small, 15 Kg boxes. Once at the winery, the clusters are selected on a sorting table and then after being destemmed, each individual grape goes through a second selection to ensure that only the highest quality fruit goes into the oak tanks for fermentation. A pre-fermentative cold maceration then takes place for two days in open-top tanks before alcoholic fermentation begins at 23ºC over a period of 12-15 days. During this time, manual punch-downs and soft pump-overs are performed twice per day until the wine was transferred via gravity to 100% French oak barrels for malolactic fermentation. Barrels are racked once during a total aging time of 12 months and the wine is then clarified with egg albumen and lightly filtered before bottling.
Decades of intense labor in the vineyards have given famed winemaker and owner Juan Carlos López de Lacalle the experience and passion for making wines of true excellence. With Viña El Pisón & Pagos Viejos receiving consistent scores of over 90 points for the last decade, including 100 points from Wine Advocate for 2004 Viña El Pison, ARTADI is a leader of quality and excellence recognized by wine writers and enthusiasts around the world.