Garnacha and graciano… from the valley of the stars.
|Another novelty from Luis Moya. This time we have to go to Valdizarbe, in the central region of Navarra just south of the Pamplona basin. Izarbe comes from the Basque word “The Way of the Stars”, a special tribute to the fertile region where the vines are planted.
For centuries, pilgrims have walked through these vineyards, guided by the stars, on the Camino de Santiago, the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela.
Similarly to Artaxo, one of Luis’ flagship wines, Korteta is a blend of 60-80 years old garnacha vines originating from various neighbouring villages such as Artazu, Tirapu, San Martín de Unx and Muruzabal. The microplots are all sloping, on poor clay-limestone soils, located between 450-500m above sea level. These old vines produce only about 1kg of grapes per vine, which is about 1 bottle per vine.
As is always the case with Luis, the vines are free of herbicides and treatments with systemic products and are worked by hand. The varieties Garnacha 88% and Graciano 12% were harvested in 16kg crates. The grapes from the different plots are vinified separately using indigenous yeasts. Short macerations with 10% whole clusters were carried out (12 days) and the wine was left in stainless steel tanks for malolactic conversion.
The wine was then transferred to used 225-litre barrels, 54-litre demijohns, amphoras and stainless-steel vats for 12 months. As with all his vintages, the wine is neither clarified nor filtered, resulting in a “puro y sin maquillar” wine (pure and without make-up) as is Luis’ trademark.
The 2018 vintage, the first of this new wine, was particularly successful. Luis wrote to me the day after the blending of the different vats, barrels and amphoras. He was particularly happy with the result: “Es un cuchillo, acidez afilada. Estoy muy contento .” (the acidity is sharp as a knife, a lively acidity. I am very happy). Approximately 2,200 litres produced with bottling in September 2020.
The spicy, herbal and balsamic 2019 Korteta is his new “second wine” in the Bordeaux sense, produced with a blend of 88% Garnacha and 12% Graciano from different vineyards where the Graciano makes the blend sharper and energetic. It’s ripe without excess at 14.4% alcohol and has a low pH of 3.4 and good acidity especially for a warm year like 2019. It’s tasty and textured with some chalky tannins. This wine takes the name from a vineyard they have in the village of Artazu, but they use other grapes too. It fermented with 10% full clusters, which might have added to the spiciness. It matured in a combination of used barriques, glass demijohns and small tinajas. 3,000 bottles were filled in August 2020. This is also sold without appellation of origin.
91 pts — Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate (Nov. 2021)