La Tapada
Garnacha… from Azagra.

 

 

“La Tapada” is a vineyard located in Azagra, a town in the Rioja Oriental zone (formerly Rioja Baja) of the DOCa Rioja, located in the community of Navarra. The cultivation in this area is now mainly irrigated and highly mechanized.

La Tapada is one of the last vineyards cultivated with traditional methods that has resisted this industrial conversion. Its name also refers to how the Garnatxa was the grape variety covered or hidden, as part of the Denomination of Origin Rioja. This area of Rioja is also the most vilified, associated with poor quality wines because of the high yields and industrial approach.

This vineyard in the skilful hands of Luis is something quite different. Located at almost 300m above sea level, this vineyard has a slight slope with northeast exposure and limestone and pebbly soil. The Mediterranean climate leads to low rainfall, less than 350 mm. With this wine, Luis wants to show that the Garnatxa has enormous possibilities in this area. This is what the winemakers already knew 70 years ago when they planted this beautiful vineyard, today “TAPADA” (hidden) between the posts and wires of the neighbouring vineyards.

Despite a difficult 2017 vintage for many, Luis did not have frost and obtained particularly good quality grapes. The 2018 vintage was hugely different with excessive yields that led to a drop of quality that made Luis decide not to vinify it. This is part of the learning associated with working with a new vineyard.

For 2017, Luis manually harvested 3500 kg of grapes in boxes of less than 16 kg with a yield of about 1kg per vine. Grown in traditional bush vines, planted 1.6 x 1.6. Zero residue culture.

As with all his wines, fermentation is started with indigenous yeasts. Maturation lasts 12 months in French oak barrels of 1 to 4 passages. Bâtonnage performed during the first 6 months of aging. Total number of bottles: 2400.

Reviews

Vintage 2017

  • There is a pure Garnacha from Rioja, the 2017 La Tapada, from a vineyard in the village of Azagra, one of a handful of villages from Navarra that are included within the Rioja appellation. It fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel and matured in used 225-liter oak barrels for 12 months. It has a more mainstream profile, possibly because of the effect of the élevage, which gave it a spicy and smoky character, with notes of vanilla and coconut reminiscent of some old Rioja but with a more creamy/luxurious texture. It’s medium-bodied and has fine tannins and a finish where the creamy oak makes a comeback. 2,400 bottles produced. It was bottled in September 2019. Curiously enough, this vineyard didn’t suffer the frost of 2017, but in the more benign 2018, yields were higher but the quality didn’t convince Moya to bottle it.
    91 pts — Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate #248 (Apr. 2020)