This project was launched by Artadi, the well-known producer who abandoned the DOCa Rioja appellation a couple of years ago. Owner Juan Carlos López de Lacalle settled in the area in 1999 to work alongside Agapito Rico, a local producer with proven experience working with Monastrell (Mourvèdre) grapes in Jumilla.
Far from its key project based around Laguardia and the Atlantic character of its Garnachas in Navarra, the emphasis here is totally Mediterranean. Artadi's base is El Pinoso, an estate with 40 hectares of vineyards on clay-poor sandy loam soils located in the western end of the Denomination.
El Sequé (21€) is one the best Monastrell wines made in Spain: powerful and fully ripened, reflecting the climate conditions in the area, but offering a balsamic tone that brings freshness. Aging is done in 500-litre barrels, which suit the lower tannin levels found in Mediterranean varieties.
The range first included the entry level wine Laderas del Sequé. It had a small amount of Syrah and was later renamed as Monastrell by El Sequé (€9-€10). As vineyards get older this wine will eventually be discontinued with the grapes going to the flagship wine (around 80,000 bottles).
Other wineries in the group are Artadi and Artazu.