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.
This is deeply coloured and really fresh with ripe blackberry fruit and some floral black cherry notes. There’s a compact, spicy structure under the bold, rich fruit. Concentrated and fruit driven with some cocoa and cedar notes. Modern yet still retaining freshness. Lots of fruit here. 93 Points, Jamie Goode, Wineanorak.com
This shows really attractive fresh blueberries, violet and elderberry reduction with vanilla. Full-bodied but with firm tannins that pick up the dark fruit and carry it medium-long. 92 Points, James Suckling
91 Points, Tim Atkin MW, Ribera del Duero Top 100 2019
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.
Concentrated, rich and vivid with tannic blackberry and black cherry fruit. Rich and a bit jammy with a chocolatey edge to the sweet berry fruits. Has some grip on the finish. Modern, ripe and sweetly fruited. This has lots of potential. 94 points, Jamie Goode, Wineanorak.com
This comes from a single parcel of 80-year-old vines in Anguix and sees 100% new French wood. Stylishly oaked, it has the freshness, poise and balance of the 2016 vintage, with plenty of structure and focus, red berry and bramble fruit and alluring perfume. 94 Points, Tim Atkin MW, Ribera del Duero Top 100 2019