Armit Wines is helping indies promote its famous Ribera del Duero wine Aster with digital activity. We’ll be offering ideas and suggestions over the coming months, and there’s an £800 prize for the most imaginative campaign, to be spent at a Spanish restaurant
Aster is one of the most forward-looking estates in Ribera del Duero, as anyone who’s visited its state-of-the-art facilities in Burgos will know. The wines don’t taste this good by accident: La Rioja Alta, which founded the estate in 1989, has invested heavily in technology as well as people.
Aster has developed a devoted following in the independent trade and this summer importer Armit Wines is encouraging merchants to promote the flagship Crianza in any form of digital marketing.
The campaign can involve any mixture of web, newsletter, social media or video activity. For the next five months The Wine Merchant is teaming up with Aster to run a series of articles offering ideas and inspiration for how to get involved.
The independent merchant judged to have created the most imaginative and successful campaign will win £800 to spend at a Spanish restaurant at the end of the year for a well-earned post-lockdown celebration.
According to Tim Atkin MW, the province of Burgos – where Aster’s home of Anguix is found – is “where most of the best wines come from” in Ribera del Duero.
It’s an extreme environment of short, hot summers, low rainfall and bitterly cold winters. Tempranillo – known locally as Tinta del Pais – ripens rapidly, producing more concentrated and robust wines than are typically found in Rioja, but with a moderating, high-altitude freshness.
Aster’s average yield is 4,000kg per hectare – around 20% lower than in Ribera del Duero generally. Wines are made in a purpose-built winery constructed in 2002, with all maturation taking place on site.
100% Tinta del Pais, blended from four high-altitude vineyards on silt-loam soils.
The grapes are harvested manually in the early morning, destemmed and lightly crushed, and then fermented in stainless steel. Then 70% of the juice is transferred to French oak barriques for two months of malolactic fermentation.
Maturation takes place for 22 more months in barrique.
• 92 points, James Suckling: “Attractive aromas of dark berries, sandalwood and blanched almonds follow through to a full body with chewy, yet round tannins and a flavourful finish. Delicious wine.”
• 90 points, The Wine Advocate: “The classical textbook 2014 Crianza has very good integration of the oak and juicy fruit, which is ripe without excess.”
• 90 points and silver medal, Decanter World Wine Awards: “Complex aromas of red plums, strawberries and elegant sweet spices. Cedary on the palate with a fine-grained texture and rich concentration.”
Aster Finca el Otero
Another 100% Tinta del Pais, made only in exceptional vintages. The fruit comes from 70-year-old vines in a single vineyard – in the oldest 20% plantings in Ribera – on particularly barren soils.
The best barrels are selected and the juice transferred to new French barriques and matured for 16 months.
• 96 points, Tim Atkin: “This is the best vintage yet … fine, deeply coloured and very polished, with scented French oak and textured tannins.”
• 95 points, James Suckling: “Super aromas of blackberry and black chocolate follow through to a full body, deep and tannic yet polished and beautiful. A muscular and intense wine.
• 17.5/20, Jancis Robinson: “Savoury, rigorous but delightfully ripe Tempranillo nose without any aggressive alcohol or oak. Really nice cross between creamy cocoa and dry, soaked rope tightened up with slightly inkiness and real persistence.”