“To recover the memory of La Rioja Baja and to preserve the wine heritage of our ancestors; bringing the expression of a terroir, the Sierra de Yerga, to the bottle.” Javier Arizcuren
“He is almost certainly the only top winemaker in Rioja who’s also a qualified architect” Tim Atkin, MW
When Javier Arizcuren took over his family vineyards in 2009, he decided to pursue something no one in his family had previously: make wine. A winery-designing architect and fifth-generation grapegrower, Javier was inspired by the fantastic 16 ha of mountain vineyards now in his care. He continues to sell some grapes, keeping his most prized parcels for his eponymous project.
These low-yielding vines, some of which are up to 130 years old at elevations of 1700-2600’, celebrate the historical wine tradition of Quel and the Sierra de Yerga. Over the last 60 years, many winegrowers have abandoned mountain viticulture, moving down to the fertile low fields, replacing the local grapes with Tempranillo, and in the process damaging the reputation of Rioja Baja (Javier prefers the traditional name to Rioja Oriental). Javier is making a valiant effort to combat this, by seeking out more old vines to save and bottling the terroir of the Sierra de Yerga to raise its reputation. It’s working. His wines have garnered early support and rave reviews
The grapes are grown organically in Quel, using grazing herds instead of herbicides and pesticides, and vinified with spontaneous fermentation and minimal intervention in his urban winery in Logroño, steps away from his architecture office.