So chalky and intense with broken stones and subtle cherry and strawberry undertones. Full body, silky tannins and a long, fresh finish. Solid and stylish. Straight arrow. From a vineyard in Laguardia with the particularity that the soil has a much higher percentage of limestone than other vineyards in the region.
96 points, James Suckling (July 2015)
Possibly the best of the "new" single vineyards, the 2012 El Carretil is the only wine that might challenge the supremacy of El Pisón. This is a pure Tempranillo from soils richer in calcium carbonate that produces more austere tannins and a different, chalky texture. Analytically, this wine is always more acidic (lower pH than any of the rest). The nose is austere and a little closed, it takes time to start revealing its aromas as the character is more backward. Here the oak is perfectly integrated (and all these wines mature for 14 months in brand new French oak barrels and never come through as oaky), serious and mineral. It's not a fruit-driven wine, it talks more about the soil, compact, serious and a bit taciturn. The palate is solid, with great consistency, austere and with chalky tannins. It is vertical, straight, slippery and elegant but still very young and in need of time to develop more complexity in bottle. The entry is sharp but then it seems to gain volume as it warms up inside your mouth, growing like the incredible Hulk; a gentle giant, incisive and pure. It could be drunk now but it should blossom with some more time in the bottle. It has great acidity and the combination of stuffing, acidity and balance will secure a long, slow development. The acidity cleanses the palate but at the same time makes it very long. We all know about El Pisón, but we should also pay attention to El Carretil.
95+ points, Luis Gutierrez (April 2015)
Opaque ruby. Vibrant smoke- and mineral-tinged black raspberry, cherry-cola, Indian spice and vanilla scents show wonderful clarity and lift. Intense red and dark berry preserve flavors reach every corner of the palate, picking up a sexy floral note with aeration. Rich yet vibrant Rioja with outstanding finishing thrust, great persistence and smooth tannins that build slowly and harmoniously.
94 points, Josh Raynolds (November 2015)
RiojaThe largest and most famous region in Spain covers an area of over 63,000 ha. Sheltered by three mountain ranges, Rioja is fairly dry with an average annual rainfall of just 530 mm. The climate of the region varies from cooler wetter, elevated areas of the northern Rioja Alavesa, to the warm and dry areas of the Rioja Alta to the hot continental Rioja Baja on its south-eastern side. Rioja is famous for its red wine styles which are usually a Tempranillo dominant blend with portions of Garnacha (Grenache) and Cariñena. Rioja has a hierarchy of quality based on the maturation and ageing of its wines. Joven styles are generally fruit-forward unoaked styles made to drink young, while oak maturation is used for Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva styles. Traditionally American oak is used in the region, although the use of French oak barriques is on the rise. The finest Tempranillo grapes are grown on the chalky soils of the Alavesa sub-region offering elegance, perfume and acidity for the Reserva and Gran Reserva styles while the Rioja Alta and Baja produces the majority of fruit that provide the body and spicy ripe fruit characters. Attractive white Rioja wines made from Viura, Garnacha Blanca and Chardonnay, are also produced in both modern unoaked and more traditional oaked styles.
ArtadiArtadi is a modern Spanish producer with vineyards in Rioja, Navarra and Alicante. Founded in 1985, the original winery was once a co-operative of 13 growers who owned precious vineyard parcels around the town of Laguardia in Rioja’s Alavesa. Visionary winemaker and businessman Juan Carlos Lopez de Lacalle realised the potential of these vineyards and purchased the Bodega, setting out to produce contemporary world-class wines. The vineyards are planted predominantly to Tempranillo and are now farmed along organic and biodynamic lines, with an emphasis on individual vineyard and terroir expression. Artadi’s philosophy of meticulous attention to detail from the vineyard to the winery is seen in the purity and expression of the wines. Contrary to local tradition, only French oak is used for maturation. In the 1990’s, Artadi expanded into Navarra and Alicante producing superb examples of Garnacha and Monastrell.