Nobody brings the value drama like the Spaniards, and that goes for every conceivable price level. Izadi was founded in 1987 when the estate was purchased by the Anton family, who then hired Mariano Garcia (formerly Vega Sicilia, now Mauro and Aalto) as a consultant. This bottling is from what is considered by the Anton family to be their premier site, El Regalo, a single vineyard of Tempranillo planted in 1940 on a terroir of chalky limestone clay covered with pebbles near the village of Villabuena de Álava.
‘El Regalo’ means ‘the gift’ in Spanish, and the family clearly considers this bottling a gift of Nature from this unique plot. Hand harvested grapes from 70+ year old vines that are ‘practicing organically’ farmed certainly have the potential to make exciting wine. The press (94 Decanter, 91 James Suckling, 91 Wine Advocate) seems to confirm that happened here. Firmly committed to straddling the stylistic spectrum between traditional and modern, the wine makes no reference to the typical crianza, reserve, etc. hierarchy. It is merely “el Regalo”. The wine sees 20 months in new French oak, more of a nod to the modern side.
The Wine Advocate shows the Izadi Rioja El Regalo 2014 at a $30 retail. But with the current wholesale scenario of a staggering number of brands being offered through a small number of purveyors, there’s a limit to how much the ‘team on the street’ can sell in a given time period, or how committed they are to going beyond just selling the ‘easy ones’. In such an environment, even some really good juice gets lost in the shuffle and the only way to create interest at that point is a hot price, like almost 50% off. At $16.98, this wine becomes even more of a ‘regalo’ (gift). While it lasts.