Oxer Wines

Rioja en Bizkaiko Txakolina, Spanje

Oxer Bastegieta, een trotse Bask, begon in 1999 met het maken van Txakoli in zijn geboorteplaats Gernika. Kende ik voorheen alleen de simple, licht prikkelende Txakoli´s van een vakantie doorgebracht aan de prachtige Baskische kust, deed Oxer mij inzien dat er ook serieus goede, interessante witte wijnen van gemaakt worden.
In 2009 vertrekt Oxer voor een 2-jarige Master Wijnbouw en Wijnmaken naar La Rioja, raakt verliefd op de regio en besluit te blijven.

Heilig overtuigd van de kracht van oude wijngaarden, is hij continue op zoek naar de beste stukken grond met oude stokken in Rioja Alavesa. Dit is de kleinste subregio van La Rioja en gelegen aan de voet van het Cantabrisch gebergte met wijngaarden tot 800 meter hoogte. De koele invloed van de Atlantische oceaan samen met de kalkhoudende bodem, levert wijnen op met veel finesse.
Niet alleen laat Oxer de tipiciteit van iedere wijngaard zien door ´single vineyard´ wijnen te maken. Ook maakt hij single-varietal wijnen, zoals een 100% Garnacha, iets wat je weinig zult aantreffen in La Rioja. De wijnen van Oxer hebben een elegantie die voor mij een welkome verademing zijn naast de vele geconcentreerde blockbusters.

Oxer is een van de young guns in de regio die er een geheel eigen filosofie op nahouden en de focus verleggen van wijnmaken naar voornamelijk veel aandacht besteden aan de wijnbouw. Daar waar alles begint.

The Maker

The Wines

Marko

DO Bizkaiko Txakolina

Varieties: 60% Hondarribi Zuri Zerratia (Petit Courbu), 40% Hondarribi Zuri (Gros Courbu).
Production: 9000 bottles

MARKO was made to show the potential of the region´s grapes when picked later and vinified as a still wine. The outcome is a more mature and serious style Txakoli.

Vineyards

The vineyards are located in the village of Kortezubi, a little old town in Bizkaia, famous for its prehistoric caves which form a Unesco World Heritage Site. The vineyard soil is composed of calcareous clay.

Winemaking

The alcoholic fermentation is carried out in stainless steel tanks, using autochthonous yeasts. The wine then spends three months in contact with the lees using bâtonnage which gives it extra character.

Character

A very fresh wine dominated by green apple, pear, grapefruit and orange blossom. The wines shows a mouthfilling softness caused by the time spent on its lees, and has a salty finish.

What´s in a name

The Basque have great respect for nature and also for the houses they live in. They even give them names. Marko is the name of Oxer´s family house, which is surrounded by the vineyard used for this wine.

Analysis

Alcohol 12,5%
Total acidity (in tartaric acid) 7,06 g/l

Acknowledgements

Marko 2015: 90 points - James Suckling 2016

Marko 2016: 91 points - Guía Peñin 2019

Marko Gure Arbasoak

DO Bizkaiko Txakolina

Varieties: 45% Hondarribi Zuri Zerratia (Petit Courbu), 45% Hondarribi Zuri (Gros Courbu) and 10% Izkiota Txikia (Petit Manseng).
Production: 5300 bottles

MARKO GURE ARBASOAK is a hand-made selection of the best grapes from the best and oldest vines of the property. In this way the character of the grape and the soil can be perfectly expressed.

Vineyards

The vineyards are located in the village of Kortezubi, a little old town in Bizkaia, famous for its prehistoric caves which form a Unesco World Heritage Site. The vineyard soil is composed of calcareous clay.

Winemaking

Half of the wine is fermented in 500 litre French oak barrels and half in stainless steel tanks. After spontaneous fermentation the wine is aged for 8 months in contact with its lees. The wine is bottled unfiltered.

Character

Marko edición especial shows aroma´s of ripe apple and pear. The barrel fermentation and bâtonnage add smoky and yeasty complexity as well as creamy texture. A pleasant dry and mineral finish.

What´s in a name

The Basque have great respect for nature and also for the houses they live in. They even give them names. Marko is the name of Oxer´s family house, which is surrounded by the vineyard used for this wine.

Analysis

Alcohol 13%
Total acidity (in tartaric acid) 7,65 g/l

Acknowledgements

Marko Gure Arbasoak 2016: 93 points - Guía Peñin 2019

Marko Gure Arbasoak 2015: 91 points - James Suckling 2016

Iraun

DOCa Rioja

Varieties: 97% Viura, 3% Garnacha Blanca
Production: 1.396 bottles

IRAUN sprang from the idea to create an oak aged Viura defined by its freshness and subtleness. An aged white Rioja that is not overpowered by oak and creaminess, but very well expresses its terroir.

Vineyard

A 99-year old vineyard of 1 ha located in Elvillar (Rioja Alavesa) at 600 metres altitude with calcareous clay composition. A mixed plot of Tempranillo, Viura and Garnacha Blanca that only yields 3000 kg per hectare.

Winemaking

The alcoholic fermentation starts in stainless steel tanks, using only indigenous yeast, and finishes in amphoras and used French oak barrels. The wine ages for another 12 months in French oak.

Character

Iraun shows concentrated aroma´s of ripe yellow peach, Amalfi lemon, sweet spices and some yellow flower notes. On the palate it shows a stoney minerality. This 2016 vintage has an incredibly long finish.

What´s in a name

Iraun is Oxer´s tribute to his people and language (Euskera). The word means ´to endure´. Despite all obstacles and challenges, the Basque people persevered and they kept the oldest language in the world alive. In the label this is depicted as a Uroborus, a snake eating its own tail. The emblem of eternity.

Analysis

Alcohol 12,5% pH 3,41
Total acidity (in tartaric acid) 4,52 g/l

Acknowledgements

Iraun 2012: 92 points – Guía Peñin 2019
Iraun 2012: 92 points - Robert Parker 2016
Iraun 2012: 94 points - Tim Atkin MW Rioja 2017 Special Report
Iraun 2012: 93 points – James Suckling 2016

Artillero

DOCa Rioja

Varieties: 100% Tempranillo
Production: 1933 bottles

ARTILLERO is the perfect expression of Tempranillo from old vines growing on the soils of Rioja Alavesa. Powerful, yet elegant.

Vineyard

A 99-year (1919) old vineyard of 1 ha located in Elvillar (Rioja Alavesa) at 600 metres altitude with calcareous clay composition. A mixed plot of Tempranillo, Viura and Garnacha Blanca that only yields 3000 kg per hectare.

Winemaking

The fermentation of the hand-picked grapes is carried out in concrete egg, stainless steel tank, amphora and open barrel using indigenous yeast. The malolactic fermentation takes place in concrete egg and French oak barrels of 400 and 500 litre. After racking the wine remains another 12 months in oak for ageing.

Character

Black fruit (bramble, cherry, elderberry, roasted plum) together with the well integrated oak give Artillero its softness. This is balanced by a pleasantly fresh acidity and grippy but fine-grained tannin structure. Flavours of black fruit, sweet spices, violets and a touch of leather. An intense lively wine.

What´s in a name

The former owner of this vineyard used to be a gunner in the civil war. Artillero (Spanish for gunner) became his nickname. Grateful for the great care he took of the vineyard, now 99-year old, Oxer decided to name both the plot and the wine after him.

Analysis

Alcohol 14% pH 3,71
Total acidity (in tartaric acid) 4,89 g/l

Acknowledgements

Artillero 2014: 92 points – Guía Peñin 2019
Artillero 2014: 92 points - Robert Parker 2016
Artillero 2014: 92 points - Tim Atkin MW Rioja 2017 Special Report
Artillero 2014: 93 points – James Suckling 2016

Suzzane

DOCa Rioja

Varieties: 100% Garnacha
Production: 3046 bottles

SUZZANE expresses perfectly the characteristics that Garnacha offers us in Riojan soils. Moreover does it reflect the respect we have for the old vineyards of the region.

Vineyard

A vineyard of 3ha located in Cárdenas (Rioja Alta) at 580 metres altitude, dating back to 1903. It has an iron-rich clay soil with over 10% of rocks and gives low yields of 2000 kg per hectare. The various parcels this vineyard is comprised of show small differences which add to the complexity of the wine.

Winemaking

Fermentation takes place in 500 litre used French oak barrels and concrete egg, using indigenous yeasts. The wine ages for approximately 12 months in 500 litre French oak barrels and concrete egg.

Character

Suzzane is a very elegant wine. The seductive velvet texture is balanced by juicy acidity and softly gripping tannins. Aroma´s of black berry and black cherry, sweet spicy flavours such as cinnamon and cacao, tobacco and floral notes (violet, lavender). All leading to a concentrated and complex aftertaste.

What´s in a name

Suzzane refers to Leonard Cohen´s song Suzanne and is an ode to women. Elegance is key in this wine.

Analysis

Alcohol 14,5% pH 3,6
Total acidity (in tartaric acid) 5,95 g/l

Acknowledgements

Suzzane 2015: 93 points – Guía Peñin 2019
Suzzane 2015: 93 points - Robert Parker 2018
Suzzane 2015: 93 points - Tim Atkin MW Rioja 2018 Special Report
Suzzane 2014: 91 points - Robert Parker 2016
Suzzane 2014: 93 points - Tim Atkin MW Rioja 2017 Special Report
Suzzane 2014: 92 points - James Suckling 2016
Suzzane 2013: 95 points, Outstanding - Decanter March 2017 (Best Premium Riojas)

Kalamity

DOCa Rioja

Varieties: 48% Tempranillo, 48% Garnacha, 2% Viura, 2% Garnacha Blanca
Production: 2.076 bottles + 300 Magnum

KALAMITY was first made from the 2014 vintage and released in 2016. The idea is to bring together various grape varieties and different subregions (Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa) in one wine.

Vineyards

A vineyard of 3ha located in Cárdenas (Rioja Alta) at 580 metres altitude, dating back to 1903. Iron-rich clay soil. A 99 year old vineyard of 1 ha located in Elvillar (Rioja Alavesa) at 600 metres altitude. Calcareous clay soil.

Winemaking

The best grapes from each plot are selected and vinified separately in amporas, 500 litre French oak barrels and concrete egg, using indigenous yeasts. After 12 months of ageing the blend is being decided.

Character

Kalamity shows an array of aroma´s, from dark berry fruit to animal notes and from violets to spicy, peppery flavours. These aroma´s will develop into even more complexity in the coming years. A wine with enormous length and minerality.

What´s in a name

The eye-catching name and label express Oxer´s love for Shakespeare. ¨Honi soit qui mal y pense¨ (Shame be to him who thinks evil of it) comes from the play ´The Reign of King Edward the Third´.

Analysis

Alcohol 14,5% pH 3,6
Total acidity (in tartaric acid) 5,57 g/l

Acknowledgements

Kalamity 2015: 95 points (Guía Peñin 2019)
Kalamity 2015: 94 points (Robert Parker 2018)
Kalamity 2015: 95 points - Tim Atkin MW Rioja 2018 Special Report
Kalamity 2014: 93 points (Robert Parker 2016)
Kalamity 2014: 92 points - Tim Atkin MW Rioja 2017 Special Report
Kalamity 2014: 93 points – James Suckling 2016

Marko Late Harvest

DO Bizkaiko Txakolina

Varieties: 100% Izkiota Txikia (Petit Manseng).
Production: 500 bottles
Bottle size: 50cl

MARKO LATE HARVEST is one of the few late harvest wines being made in the region. With its ability to concentrate sugars while still retaining very high acidity, Izkiota Txikia is the perfect variety for high-quality aromatic sweet wines.  

Vineyards

The vineyards are located in the village of Kortezubi, a little old town in Bizkaia, famous for its prehistoric caves which form a Unesco World Heritage Site. The vineyard soil is composed of calcareous clay.

Winemaking

The grapes were harvested the 20th of November. After whole bunch pressing a spontaneous fermentation takes place in French oak barriques. When the perfect balance between alcohol and residual sugar is reached, the fermentation is stopped. The wine then ages for 10 months on its lees.

Character

Marko Late Harvest shows aroma´s of quince, orange peel, pear, honey and sweet spices (cinnamon, ginger). This sweet wine is full-bodied and well balanced by a citric acidity. It has a long lingering finish.

What´s in a name

The label is a reference to a famous Edgar Allan Poe poem: ¨And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming.¨ Instead of raven it are crows that circle around the Izkiota Txikia vineyard. The man waiting refers to late harvest and the sand clocks symbolizes the proximity to the ocean (at only 8 kilometres).

Analysis

Alcohol 13%
Residual sugar 70 g/l

Acknowledgements

Marko Late Harvest 2015: 93 points - Guía Peñin 2019