Arínzano | binNotes Exclusive Interview with Manuel Louzada Goes International

Dear Readers:

What a way to end the week! Honored to announce publication of my recent interview with Arínzano wine maker and CEO Manuel Louzada on their international site.

Not familiar with the name?  Arínzano claims fame as northwestern Spain’s first Vino de Pago certified winery, producing exquisite, small-lot premium wines. The stunning site also lends itself well to enotourism, offering bucket-list experiences like their annual ‘Running of the Bulls’ adventure in nearby Pamplona.

Read my exclusive interview here.

Grateful to share this story about wine – the redThread™ that binds us all, with you. Thanks for considering wine an art, not just a beverage.

Cheers!

Copyrighted 2017 L.M. Archer | binNotes | redThread™. All Rights Reserved.

 

red Thread™ Exclusive: Manuel Louzada | Arínzano – Navarra, ES

red Thread™ Exclusive: Manuel Louzada | Arínzano – Navarra, ES

Welcome to binNotes | redThread™

by L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne Master Level

Today’s Exclusive Interview:

Manuel Louzada | Arínzano | Navarra, Spain

“Singular terroir, estate character, noble pedigree.”

Sometimes a winery doesn’t just surprise you – it knocks you on your palate.

I discovered such a winery by happy accident while tasting wines from another country (Achaval-Ferrer of Argentina). Those wines lassoed me with their voluptuousness, verve, and vibrancy. Turns out the same team, part of the Stoli Group empire,  purchased an artisan winery in Spain in 2015.

Today we talk to CEO and wine maker Manuel Louzada about his Navarra venture Arínzano, the first Vino de Pago designated winery in Northern Spain.

For those of you unfamiliar with Arínzano, the winery soon goes full gaucho here in the United States as it accepts Champion Best of Show saddle prize  for the Arínzano 2010 Gran Vino Chardonnay at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition award ceremony on Sunday, February 26, 2017. This event marks the first time in the competition’s fourteen-year history that a white wine emerges the winner, and the first time that the winner hails from Spain.

Clearly, something is goin’ on down on the Pago…as Manuel Louzada shares here.

r/T™:  Arínzano is Northern Spain’s first Vino de Pago certified vineyard, Spain’s highest category for winemaking, above D.O.Ca. Can you explain to readers the exhaustive requirements necessary to achieve this certification, including climate, terroir, and winemaking? Why was it so important to Arínzano to achieve Vino de Pago certification?

ML:  First, the Spanish Wine Classification is regulated by law and extremely strict, approved as well by the EEC (European Economic Community). In this particular case, the law 24/2003 de la Viña y del Vino contains the Wine Classification, which resembles a sort of hierarchical pyramid, from the Vino de Mesa (which has a wide source of grapes, being the least exclusive) to the highest, most exclusive both in quality and availability, as it comes from a single property, Vino de Pago (from the Latin pagus, determined district of agricultural land, mainly vineyards).

The Vinos de Pago have to go through exactly the same exhaustive requirements as the D.O.Ca, like La Rioja or Priorat. To start, vineyards must be located in a limited area and produce wines which have to be made and bottled in the region and before being release to the market submitted to the control organizations – Consejo Regulador, INTIA and EEC in the case of the D.O.Ca, while INTIA and EEC for the Vinos de Pago – so that these wines are authorized to be sold.

To achieve the Vino de Pago category, you have to demonstrate to the most important public organizations, INTIA and EEC, the uniqueness and exclusivity of your terroir, through a highly extensive in-depth study of soil and climate. Once this is proven, you have the obligation to produce wine for ten years and submit for organoleptic and physical-chemical analysis. This is not only to demonstrate consistency but, most importantly, to demonstrate that the wine has unique and singular characteristics. As you can see, it is not a simple process. On top of this, if at some point during that 10-year process—since you are the only representative—the wine does not reach the established standards for characteristics or the quality you risk losing this particular appellation.

The founding goal of Arínzano wines is to reflect the uniqueness and exclusivity of the amazing terroir where the different vineyards have been planted, therefore it was a natural evolution to become the first Vino de Pago in Northern Spain.

r/T™  The history of Arínzano reads like something out of a Gabriel García Márquez novel – a noble estate founded in the eleventh century by Sancho Fortuñones de Arínzano, selected by another nobleman in the 1600’s for the site of a palace. Over time, the estate lapses into ruin, only to be rediscovered in 1988. Today, in addition to its Vino de Pago certification, it’s the only vineyard in Spain certified by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for environmental responsibility. Can you briefly touch on the efforts Arínzano has made in four critical areas, and why the WWF is so important to Arínzano?

NOTE: The four critical areas:

  1. The conservation and restoration of the natural environment:  half of the estate is reserved for indigenous flora and fauna.
  2. Organic viticulture with a low-environmental impact, and integrated pest control.
  3. Use of only certified environmental materials in the construction of the winery.
  4. Natural waste water filtration through a series of lagoons.

ML:  Indeed, the history of Arínzano is fantastic. In some parts of Spain, the presence of vineyards was naturally tied to the economic situation of the area, especially in such a naturally rich region. During the least favorable economic conditions, some vineyards were uprooted to plant cereal grains, to feed the population, while when the economic conditions improved, vineyards were planted to enjoy wine, which was always recognized for its exceptional quality, with the locally produced foods. I believe that these cycles influenced the fact of having not vineyards in the property which led to its re-discovery in 1988. When you have in your hands such a magnificent estate, with incredible natural conditions, you feel immediately compelled to concentrate all your efforts to permanently take care of the environment. The fact that we have been recognized by the WWF is the result of all the daily efforts in the above mentioned areas. As a result, all the team is extremely proud and you can easily sense this difference when seeing the vegetal and animal diversity or the natural conditions of the Ega River.

r/T™:  Arínzano lies in northwestern Navarra, in a valley formed by the last slopes of the Pyrenees Mountains. It comprises 355 hectares – 128 dedicated to Vino de Pago certified vineyards. Soils include loams, sand, limestones, limonites, gypsum and dolomites. Both marine and Ega River influences impact the climate, and the region enjoys over 2500 hours of sunlight annually.

Talk about the varietals you’ve chosen to cultivate here, and how the mélange of soil types and microclimates impact the unique wines created at Arínzano.

When applying for the Vino de Pago Classification, we understood one of the most significant particularities of this magnificent property is the diversity of its microclimates. The grape varieties were chosen by taking into account the type of soil and the overall climatic conditions as well as the movements of the Cierzo wind (a cold and dry wind coming from the North) through the property, the orography of the mountains, and finally the proximity of the Ega River, which translates into a milder climate. The Chardonnay, for example, was planted in the higher parts of the property with very poor and superficial soils but optimal limestone. The temperature there is colder as the result of the combination of higher elevation and the Cierzo influence. On the opposite is the Merlot, which is planted in slightly richer soils, protected from the wind by the Populus trees and benefitting from the naturally milder, slightly more humid conditions generated by the Ega River.

r/T™. Do any of Arínzano’s production methods differ from other wineries in Spain? If so, how?

ML:  At Arínzano, we are convinced that the style of our wines must reflect the terroir where they come from. Starting almost two years ago my team, Diego Ribbert and José Manuel Rodriguez, and I dedicated our lives to understand each and every individual character of the Arínzano vineyards throughout all the vegetative cycle. We decided the most appropriate moment of harvest by walking each plot of vineyard and adopted the most appropriate winemaking technique to express and, if possible, help enhance the magnificent virtues of this terroir. Finally, the choice of barrels, only French, is in line with the wines obtained and the pursued style of the wine. The wines aging in barrel are tasted monthly to follow their evolution and to precisely decide when to blend and bottle.

In my opinion, on one hand, almost each and every winemaking technique has been discovered. On another hand, the majority of the high quality winemaking equipment is available for anyone. For me it is the importance of the terroir, the sensitivity to understand, protect and translate into the wine these particular characteristics together with maximum attention to details and handcrafted winemaking, as described before—this allows us to make the exceptional wines that we envision.

r/T™:   Both Arínzano and the Stoli Group winery in Argentina, Achaval-Ferrer, share certain unique similarities, viz., geographically challenging sites with diverse soils, complex microclimates, and culturally rich histories. Is acquiring Arínzano part of a deliberate strategy, part pure luck, or a combination of both?

ML:  Indeed, it is part of a deliberate strategy to have exclusively included in our portfolio so far such fantastic brands as Achaval-Ferrer and Arínzano. As a matter of fact, the characteristics mentioned in your question are the pillars to achieve exceptional wines and afterwards to allow the brands to grow as references in the world of wine amongst the highest reputed wines.

r/T™:   Arínzano employs a unique business model, a model which also includes luxury accommodations, tasting experiences, and cultural events. How have guests responded to these additional amenities? Do you have any upcoming events or amenities that particularly excite you?

ML:  Throughout my personal and professional experience, I have received continual feedback that after visiting the vineyards, walking the winery, talking to viticulturists and wine makers to have a sense of their work and tasting both the wines in barrel and from the bottle at the winery, visitors had a much more complete experience and stronger connection to the wine. I wholeheartedly agree and also firmly believe that, if all the visitors experience the same values at each and every moment of the visit, these will translate into a long-lasting memory.

One unique experience we are developing for a future visitor offering is a 3-day visit taking advantage of the San Fermines Festival timing in early July. We design a winery visit that allows time in the vineyards and the winery, to understand our artisanal winemaking philosophy, to taste the wines in barrel and from our wine library, while enjoying the most celebrated moment in Pamplona [the Running of the Bulls.] To date this is an experience for our global team and select journalists, which was so much fun throughout the visit last year that I’m very much looking forward to hosting the 2017 experience.

r/T™:  Anything else you’d care to share with readers about Arínzano?

ML:  First of all, I would very much like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to explain a little bit more about Vinos de Pago which, in my opinion, will soon be the future of Spanish Wine.

Secondly, and after all being said, I can only invite the readers to come to the property to live the complete Pago de Arínzano experience. As once someone I very much admire taught me “…it is not important to invite someone, it is important that the invitation has been accepted…”

r/T™:  Finally, if your experience as a winemaker and owner of world-class vineyards has taught you anything, it’s taught you…?

ML:  I believe it has taught me almost everything I know. My personal background is not very typical for a winemaker… I’m the fourth generation of a family dedicated to the wine business. The first time that I have tasted wine was at the age of five, a tiny amount of Sparkling Wine from my family winery, Caves Messias, in the Bairrada region, which started my passion for wine. I studied in Spain and started my formal professional life in Portugal making Port Wine. Later I was invited to move to Argentina, to be in charge of Sparkling Wine of the most recognized producer, Chandon Argentina. Later, during my experience in Argentina, I was in charge of winemaking of all the wines production, Sparkling, Still and Iconic Still Wines, which allowed me to return to Spain and be in charge of Numanthia (Termanthia was one of the first five wines from Spain honored with 100 points by Robert Parker). Almost over two years ago, I took on a new challenge by assuming leadership of such a recognized brand like Achaval-Ferrer and one of the hidden jewels of Spain, the Vino de Pago de Arínzano*. With all this in mind, after studying winemaking and becoming passionate about making wines that reflect the terroir from where they originate, I have learned throughout each and every experience, especially with generous people equally willing to share their experiences.

Link to more information: Arínzano

*(NOTE: Outside the America market, the winery is referred to as Vino de Pago de Arínzano.)

Copyrighted 2017 binNotes | redThread™.  All Rights Reserved.

 Thank you:

Manuel Louzada

Patricia Clough

Wine Industry InsightNews Fetch | Wine People – Don Hagge

Wine Industry InsightNews Fetch |  Wine People – Don Hagge

Dear Readers:

WII_New_Masthead_6_Full

I’m so honored to be included in Wine Industry Insight’s January 12th 2017 News Fetch ‘Wine People,’ featuring my Conversation with Don Hagge of Vidon Vineyards of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Cheers!

Copyrighted 2017 binNotes | redThread™.  All Rights Reserved.

red Thread™ Exclusive: A Conversation with Don Hagge of Vidon Vineyard | Willamette Valley, OR.

red Thread™ Exclusive:  A Conversation with Don Hagge of Vidon Vineyard | Willamette Valley, OR.

Welcome to binNotes | redThread™

Inspired stories about wine and taste makers.

By L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML

Today’s Exclusive Interview:

A Conversation with Artisan Winemaker Don Hagge of Vidon Vineyard  | Willamette Valley, OR.

“A Petite Vineyard with a Boutique Winery”

Ever hear that phrase,  “Who do you think you are, a rocket scientist?”

Well, today’s guest IS a rocket scientist. One part humble midwestern farm boy, one part retired NASA astrophysicist-turned-winemaker, Don Hagge of Vidon (Vee-dohn) Vineyard talks softly and drives a big tractor. And at age 85, instead of slowing down, Don shoots for the moon – including a recent new release of his estate wines based upon NASA’s iconic space program, as well as implementation of a proprietary argon wine preservation tap system in his tasting room.

Recently, I caught up with Don to chat about life on his petite vineyard and boutique winery in Oregon’s Chehalem Mountain AVA.

r/T™:  You’ve been described as a physicist, farmer, winemaker and innovator. What aspect(s) of your role as physicist helped prepare for your current role as farmer/winemaker? What motivates you to take the road less travelled as an innovator?

DH:  Since I grew up on a farm, the vineyard side is pretty much hard-wired.  The scientific approach and methodology, ingrained as an experimental physicist, is helpful in the winemaking process.

While I’m not UC Davis trained, I don’t think it’s hurt me as a winemaker. I do things differently – I think I’m more systematic and organized. I’m always trying to understand what’s going on and why.  

r/T™:  You arrived to winemaking at an age most people are ‘retiring.’ In your physics career, Ernest Lawrence figures prominently as a mentor, both academically and professionally. Any such figures in winemaking that have helped/inspired you?

DH:  
Laurent Montalieu of Northwest Wines is the first winemaker I worked with, but many wine makers in the local community have been inspirational.

I think the land really inspires me. I fell in love with the land while doing tech work in Oregon, riding my bike through the Willamette Valley on weekends.

I would stop to taste wines from the area, and ended up talking to a lot of local wine makers like Lynn Penner-Ash, who was at Rex Hill at the time. I really liked Rex Hill wines, and found out that they got some of their fruit from Jacob-Hart Vineyard on Chehalem Ridge.  So when I was thinking of buying this land [on Chehalem Moutains AVA], I told Lynn – she got really excited, and even asked me to keep her in mind if I ever had fruit to sell, because she was just about to start out on her own.

r/T™:  Talk about the innovations you’ve made as an artisan winemaker, such as implementing your own glass stopper bottling machine – anything else you’ve ‘tinkered with’ to improve production? Do your colleagues ever come to you for help with their stuff? 

DH:  My approach to winemaking is to constantly search for ways to improve efficiency in making the best possible wine from available grapes.  [For example,] Argon is used for oxygen management; [which is] superior to Nitrogen. 

Occasionally I get questions from winemaker friends about how and why I do certain things. They don’t always agree with me, but that doesn’t prevent me from trying it anyway.  If you haven’t made any mistakes in life, you haven’t done much. 

r/T™:  You purchased the land for what is now Vidon Vineyards in 1999, and built your home there in 2003. In 2014, Vidon Vineyard became 100% estate-grown fruit. You’ve invested not just toil, but time and treasure ensuring LIVE and Salmon-Safe certification. Talk about what sustained you during this painstaking route towards sustainability and self-sufficiency? It’s quite a commitment.

DH:  
The goal was always to make great wine from this land I purchased.  This required continuous learning and improvement in both the viticulture and winemaking aspects.  Although I now get a lot of satisfaction from sipping my wines, I know they could be better.

r/T™:  Your vineyard boasts three soil types (Jory, Nekia and Willakenzie), southern exposures, and elevations ~400-500 ft. You’ve planted your 12.5 acres accordingly, with seven different varietals, including not just Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir (Pommard, 115, & 777), but also Syrah, Tempranillo, and Viognier.

How do you approach blending and bottling to yield the flavor profiles you seek in the finished wine, with so many flavor profiles at play?

DH:  Since all my Pinot Noir blocks are on Jory soil, the differences for each vintage is only because of the clones.  My 3-Clones is a blend of 1/3 each of the single clones +/- 5% with 11 months in French oak.  My Single Clones are not blended and are aged 18 months in oak.  I don’t blend the other varieties except for co-fermenting 3-5% Viognier with Syrah.

r/T™:  As a farmer/physicist, what about each of these varietals alternately excites/frustrates you?

DH:  Pinot Noir is a finicky grape  and it’s difficult to keep the alcohol below 14% without watering – which I don’t do.

Even though Pinot Noir is suppose to be finicky, I think I’ve been pretty lucky, because since I started growing it, I’ve never really had a ‘bad’ year working with it. I’ve never found it to be a whole lot different from other varietals. I don’t do anything differently with it.

The main thing is to be meticulous and be clean, and to keep the oxygen out – I am adamant about that. And go back to the vineyard – if you make sure you have micronutrients in the soil, if you treat your soils right, then you won’t have problems inside with fermentation, etc.

r/T™:  You enjoy the good fortune of enlisting Adelsheim’s Chad Vargas to handle the vineyard labor and spraying, while you ride tractor for mowing and tilling. Can you tell readers a bit about that dynamic?

DH:   David Adelsheim a neighbor and a good friend. When I started my vineyard, Chad Vargas offered to work with me because they bring in contract crews, so he started handling the labor part. Now they spray, till and mow for me, too. This year Chad is starting his own company, and he’ll continue to manage the vineyard and provide his services. I still like to drive the tractor in spring, though. 

Oregon will always have many small vineyards and wineries which is what makes it neighborly.  We need and depend on each other in several ways.  We work together to create great Oregon wines that are competitive in the larger market.

r/T™:  What’s next on your agenda for Vidon Vineyard? Do you ever foresee increasing your current ~2000 case yearly production levels?

DH:  Not above what the vineyard will produce which is between 2000 and 2500 cases.  Estate planning at my age is next!

r/T™:  What excites you most about your wine?

DH:  I can tell you about my own experience – a very specific one. In 2004, I was at lunch with a friend in Palo Alto, sipping a wine of mine that the restaurant carried, and tasting it brought me back to Burgundy – a bit lighter, a bit of barnyard.

I really love France – I really liked it while I was there [while doing post-graduate research]. I will never forget that feeling drinking that 2004 wine of mine – taking me back to a place I love. It was just really special.

r/T™:  Anything else you’d care to share with readers about Vidon Vineyard?

DH:  It has been a great journey!  We started with a piece of land covered with stumps, rocks, scrub trees, poison oak and blackberries and turned it into a Boutique Winery on a Petite Vineyard that produces great wines.

r/T™:  Finally, if your experience as a vineyard owner and winemaker has taught you anything, it’s taught you…?

DH: Care for the land and it’ll yield good fruit from which great wine can be made!

For more information:

Vidon Vineyard

(503)538-4092

17425 NE Hillside Drive • Newberg, Oregon 97132

Thank you:

Don Hagge

Carl Giavanti

Images:  ©Paul Cunningham Photography.

Copyrighted 2017 binNotes | redThread™.  All Rights Reserved.

BKWine Magazine: Domaine Drouhin Oregon Tasting Notes

 

Dear Readers:

BK WIne Magazine logo

I’m excited to announce publication of my tasting notes for wines of Domaine Drouhin Oregon featured in my interview with vigneron Veronique Drouhin Boss in Paris-based BKWine Magazine.

Link here for English version.

Link here for Swedish version.

(Tack  to my Swedish-born editor, Per Karlsson for his skillful translation)

And thanks to you for your ongoing appreciation of these artisan wines crafted in ‘Oregon Soil with French Soul.’

Roserock Drouhin Oregon vineyards, Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, copyright Andrea Johnson
Roserock Drouhin Oregon vineyards, Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, copyright Andrea Johnson

Santé!

Copyrighted 2017 binNotes | Red Thread™.  All Rights Reserved.

My latest in BKWine Magazine: The French Woman of Oregon, Véronique Drouhin Boss of Roserock Drouhin Oregon

My latest in BKWine Magazine: The French Woman of Oregon, Véronique Drouhin Boss of Roserock Drouhin Oregon

Welcome to binNotes | redThread™

Inspired stories about wine and taste makers.

By L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne Master Level

The French Woman of Oregon | Véronique Drouhin Boss of Roserock Drouhin Oregon

BK WIne Magazine logo

Ho ho ho! Just in time for the holidays – Part 2 of my Oregon artisan wine maker series with Burgundian born vigneron Véronique Drouhin Boss  of Roserock Drouhin in BKWine Magazine.

Read the full interview here.

Swedish version available here.

View my original binNotes | redThread™ interview with Véronique Drouhin Boss here.

The Hedonistic Taster tasting notes on Roserock Drouhin Oregon here.

The Hedonistic Taster tasting notes on Domaine Drouhin Oregon here.

Copyrighted 2016 binNotes | Red Thread™.  All Rights Reserved.

 

Holiday Exclusive III | Artisan Wine Makers 2016

Holiday Exclusive III | Artisan Wine Makers 2016

Welcome to binNotes | redThread™

Inspired stories about wine and taste makers.

By L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML

Holiday Exclusive : Artisan Winemakers 2016

A final holiday shout out to all the artisan winemakers who shared their stories and trade samples with binNotes|redThread™  and The Hedonistic Taster in 2016.

Thank you for enduring the struggles necessary to share the fruit of your toil with us – wine, the red thread that binds us all.

Much peace, prosperity and joy to you all this holiday season, and in the coming year.

See you back here after the New Year.

View the entire selection of binNotes | redThread™ interviews here.

View the entire selection of The Hedonistic Taster tasting notes here.

Copyrighted 2016 binNotes | Red Thread™.  All Rights Reserved.