More than any country I have been to in Europe, Spain seems to be going through a profound and significant evolution. In the distant past viticulture was pretty widespread across many parts of the country, but due to various reasons (Spanish Inquisitions, revolutions, civil wars, phylloxera) vineyards were left abandoned until the 1960s. Since the 1970s with the global increase in demand for premium wines, often in new markets like North America, Asia and Eastern Europe, a lot of investment has gone into establishing and re-establishing viticultural areas across the country. There are many large companies spearheading this, such as the Torres family, but there are also a number of smaller producers that are developing in new areas after gaining reputations in other areas. One of these producers I had visited the previous day, and I got the chance to visit their estate in the Navarra D.O.
|High above the village of Artazu in Navarra
Rosado Garnacha 2011
Not too dark in colour, but not light either. Good expressive combination of fresh red fruits – cherries, raspberries, pomegranates – with some mineral savoury elements, and some cheesy elements too. Fresh mouthfeel, quite crisp with some red citrus notes to add to the mix. A little fruit sweetness. Texture balance approachability, adaptability with food.
Tinto Garnacha 2011
Nice dark dusty red and black fruit, some spicy elements as well, exactly what a typical Spanish garnacha should be. Soft and light but plenty of vibrancy of fruit and freshness, approachability and breadth, but focus and drive as well. Very good uncomplicated wine, easy drinking yet with character and personality.
Santa Cruz de Artazu 2009
Deep dark and oaky nose, quite toasty and caramelly, dark fruits and intense floral concentration. A lot more tannin and oak concentration on the palate, looking very youthful and hot, a product of the climate and vintage, and possibly age of the vines. Needs more time in bottle to show the complexity, at the moment slightly dominated by sweetness and oak. Classic powerful Spanish garnacha from 2009.
Santa Cruz de Artazu 2010 (tank sample)
More complexity, less overt fruit and oak influence on the nose, more interesting toasty notes (more French oak?), quite locked up for now, needs a year in bottle. Better balance and integration, better structure and concentration. Looking quite hot and ripe but in a more complex way. Very intense but better savoury elements and balance on the palate, powerful yet a lot more potential.
|The Artazuri range