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Viñedos El Pacto – Back to the roots


Grapes growing in Alto Najerilla Valley in the foothills of the Sierra de la Demanda in Rioja, Spain as part of the Viñedos El Pacto projectGrapes growing in Alto Najerilla Valley in the foothills of the Sierra de la Demanda in Rioja, Spain as part of the Viñedos El Pacto project

Richi Arambarri and Raúl Acha are the dynamic young duo behind Vintae, the forward-thinking Spanish winemaking company behind such ground-breaking projects as Hacienda López de Haro in Rioja Alta, Matsu in Toro and the multi-region Proyecto Garnachas. Viñedos El Pacto, Vintae’s most ambitious project to date, sees Richi and Raúl take inspiration from their ancestral roots in Rioja and return to the villages, vineyards and styles of viticulture that made Rioja what it is today.

This project is a world away from the Rioja of the Industrial Revolution, with its large warehouses in Haro that stored wine purchased from growers like Richi and Raúl’s families. Embracing small-scale farming, natural viticulture and connection to the land that has otherwise been lost in the region, Viñedos El Pacto is their pact: a pledge to fight against the disappearance of genuine village wines of Rioja.

Vintae owners Raul Acha and Richi Arambarri

Raúl Acha, technical director and winemaker (left) and Richi Arambarri, CEO (right), owners of Viñedos El Pacto in Rioja.

The traditional rural areas of old Rioja

The first El Pacto wine, Sonsierra, was released in 2009, and represents the cornerstone of a project that is now reaching maturity with the release of a collection of wines emotionally rooted in the vineyards of Sonsierra and Alto Najerilla. With its old-vine vineyards, bathed in daylight sunshine and sheltered from rain by the Sierra de Cantabria mountains, Sonsierra is an ideal place to cultivate wine grapes.

The villages of Baños de Ebro, San Vicente de la Sonsierra and Navaridas are home to naturally low-yielding vineyards that can produce uniquely expressive wines, with the singular Atlantic freshness that is part of Sonsierra’s DNA.

Also increasingly recognised for the freshness of its wines, the relatively cool, humid Alto Najerilla Valley at the foothills of the Sierra de la Demanda boasts an abundance of old-vine, massal-selection vineyards. Planted at elevations of over 600m above sea level on soils of stony ferrous clay, these vineyards produce Rioja wines with a pronounced mineral quality.

Alto Najerilla Valley in the foothills of the Sierra de la Demanda in Rioja, Spain

The Alto Najerilla Valley in the foothills of the Sierra de la Demanda is gaining increasing recognition for the freshness of its wines.

The many expressions of the El Pacto project

The project boasts an impressive and ever-growing portfolio of wines, from viñedo singular expressions to celebrations of key varieties including Mazuelo, Viura and Garnacha.

El Pacto

El Pacto de la Sonsierra is a red wine produced from grapes sourced from 27 different plots, all of them organic. Tempranillo is the main variety here, although Graciano, Mazuelo and white grapes are also present. Fermented in 20,000kg tanks with ambient yeasts, this wine is aged for 14 months in 40% new 225-litre oak barrels.

El Pacto del Alto Najerilla Blanco is a Viura-led white (with small additions of Malvasía, Garnacha Blanca and Jaina) from vineyards in the villages of Cárdenas and Nájera. All of the vines are over 40 years old, although some plots were planted as early as the beginning of the 20th century.

El Pacto de Cárdenas Ojo Gallo (meaning rooster’s eye) is a clarete-style wine that was once renowned in the area. Ojo Gallo usually has an intense colour, but the Cárdenas style has always been very pale in colour. This fresh, energetic red expresses the primary aroma characteristics of Garnacha, but also balsamic and floral notes.

Viñedos El Pacto selection of wines from Rioja, Spain

The Viñedos El Pacto project boasts an impressive and ever-growing portfolio of wines, from viñedo singular expressions to celebrations of key varieties.

El Pacto de Cárdenas Ojo Gallo is perhaps most symbolic of Richi and Raúl’s heartfelt desire to revive the ancestral traditions of the Alto Najerilla. Saved from virtual extinction, this historically popular wine from the region is now produced from four old-vine plots in…


Source : https://www.decanter.com/sponsored/vinedos-el-pacto-back-to-the-roots-530458/