Beautiful Viura grapes about to get hasversted, ripe and healthy still in October

We usually like to collect internally a small summary of how the year and the harvest have developed in each vintage, in order to be able to check back when we are making, aging and later tasting our wines. We believe that this can be interesting information also for those who are curious and want to “locate” our wines, our vintages … That is why we have decided to share these notes here from now on …

In this report, we are always talking about impressions and memories collected during 2020 by Bodega Akutain for its vineyards and its surroundings, located around the winery in Haro (Rioja Alta), right on the foothills of the Obarenes mountains, in the area that is located between the towns of Haro, Villalba, Sajazarra, Cihuri and Anguciana.

The winter passed until the beginning of spring without frights, raining adequately in quantity and time, and without frosts that could damage the vines. This continued throughout the rest of the spring and early summer, although we did have a couple of storms that left us some hail and ended up slightly damaging part of the grapes in our Gembres vineyard twice. Furthermore, this intermittent rainfall accompanied by good weather in the intermediate intervals favored the vegetative growth of the plant. However, this also favored the appearance and development of Mildew, becoming in 2020 very important to carry out the appropriate treatments on time (at Bodega Akutain we practice an integrated and environmentally friendly viticulture with traditional treatments). The rest of the summer (especially after “veraison”) has been quite dry and sunny, which has allowed a correct ripening without the grapes becoming too fat. The end of September came with some storms without consequences and October threatened harvest with a lot of rain. This rain finally stayed in the regions north of Rioja (it rained a lot during the first half of October in the neighboring region of the Basque Country and as we have heard, in the Bordeaux region as well) and allowed us to harvest calmly, thus rewarding with good grape quality to those who had the patience to wait for the right moment (in addition to other parameters, we usually monitor the level of dehydration of the stem when carrying out ripening controls). In Akutain we started harvesting our Cihuri vineyard on October 6th. Then we harvested the vineyard that surrounding the winery on October 7th and the Gembres vineyard on October 8th (being at almost 650 m, this vineyard is usually ready for harvest about a week later than the others ; however, in 2020 after the spring hail, the amount of grapes in this vineyard was considerably reduced, causing a concentration of the plant’s energy in fewer grapes, which led to an increase in quality and an earlier than usual harvest time). Finally, we finished introducing grapes to the winery on October 9th with the grapes from our Fonzabala vineyard.

As a result we have obtained in 2020 at Bodega Akutain high quality grapes, with an excellent ripeness point (both in the must and the sugar content, as well as in the seed and the skin). As for quantity, the production has remained as usual considerably below the maximum per hectare allowed by the D.O.Ca. Rioja for red varieties.

At the time of writing these notes, the wines are not finished yet, although it can already be appreciated that they are very balanced in alcohol content and acidity being accompanied by a lot of color and a lot of extract. It seems that thanks to this, the 2020 harvest will give wines with an important aging potential, although it is also true that our Fonzabala vineyard this year continues to give us “that fruit” that we like for our young, non-cask-aged wine, “Akutain Cosecha”.

And to put the icing on the cake, we have finished the harvest with great news after receiving very positive comments about Bodega Akutain and our wines from the well-known critic Luis Gutierrez in his latest report on Rioja published at the end of October in the prestigious magazine The Wine Advocate (Parker).

A huge motivation to keep working hard during these crazy times!!!