Javier Arizcuren comes from a family of wine growers from Quel, in La Rioja Baja. As a professional architect, his projects include the Marqués de Terán and Finca Los Arandinos wineries and, more recently, the restoration of the historic cellars (16th century) and the building complex (19th century) of Conde de los Andes, in Ollauri (La Rioja).
After studying viticulture and oenology at the University of La Rioja and making various trips to national and international wine regions, in 2009 he began to make a small amount of wine on the ground floor of the family home.
In 2011 he took over the family vineyards and began to assess its potential and the distinctive character of Quel wines.
Sierra de Yerga
Of all the vineyards that make up the family heritage, only those plots with the greatest wine-growing potential are attached to the Arizcuren project. These are plots between 40 and 130 years old, mostly Garnacha and Mazuelo (Carignan) bush vines in areas with optimal soil characteristics, altitude and orientation for viticulture.
These plots are worked organically, without using herbicides, pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. At the end of the cycle, the harvest date differs from year to year, depending on the moment in which the grapes reach the maximum balance between fruit, acidity, phenolic ripeness, etc.
The clusters obtained turn out to be a kind of diary in which the climatological fluctuations that have made them grow and mature can be tasted.
The year-round work is completed by a careful selection of grapes in the vineyard that are transported in plastic boxes to preserve their integrity as much as possible prior to their entry into the production tanks.
Before and after
These two aerial views from 1956 and 2016 show the progressive abandonment that the viticulture has experienced in the area. In the first image you can see how the vineyard occupied almost all of the cultivable plots. Over time, farmers moved these vineyards to more fertile areas at lower altitudes. In addition, the traditional grape varieties of the area were replaced with plantations solely of Tempranillo.
Arizcuren seeks to reverse the process, trying to preserve the heritage of the wine tradition in the area and extol the peculiarities that this terroir grants to Rioja.
Source: Archivo Histórico Provincial de La Rioja, fotografía 59B.
THE URBAN WINERY
An open-door project for all those who want to know how to make, care for and live Arizcuren wines, made from minority grape varieties of the Rioja Qualified Designation of Origin, with the aim of recovering the traditional values of Rioja Baja and preserve the memory and wine heritage of the Yerga Mountain range.