Bodegas Exopto Rioja Horizonte de Exopto (Ábalos) 2018
6 pack Buy. Spicy, vibrant and juicy Tempranillo, Grenache blend. 93 points Wine Advocate.
Bodegas Exopto is one of the new wave of modern winegrowers and quality wine makers in Rioja – Outstanding, well tended, cool vineyards on rocky soils, very old vines and low yields (the total opposite to the trend of mass produced, American oaked wine of the region).
Passionate artisan winemaker, Tom Puyaubert (in fact a Frenchman who married an Espanola!) is fanatical in his focus on their vineyard: 50-100 year old Tempranillo and 70 year old Garnacha vineyard located in Rioja Alavesa (600 metres altitude and the coolest in Rioja). He uses French oak and is producing small quantities of top quality vino (3000 cases – miniscule production for Rioja). No doubt about it Exopto is a Riojan star in the making!
The blend of 80% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha and 10% Graciano is drawn entirely from Ábalos, in the lee of the Sierra Cantabria ranges. Everything is co-fermented, so it’s really a field blend from various parcels. This tiny village is just a kilometre or so from Rioja Alta’s border with Rioja Alavesa. Forming a small pocket between the River Ebro and the Basque Mountains to the north, the rocky terroir of this area is most similar to nearby Alavesa–the soils are rich in limestone, the climate is cooler and the altitude even higher than most of the Alta area. Ábalos has always been Tom Puyaubert’s most significant source, a position further cemented by the addition of his new parcels in La Mimbrera, Carrapeciña and El Hoyo.
This wine is blended from a dozen old-vine plots, and the wine’s personality offers considerably more tension than the early Horizonte releases. Tom credits this not only to the wine’s cooler, rocky Ábalos roots, but also to the 600-litre demi-muids now in use alongside less new oak (now only 20% and falling). Fermented naturally in cement vats, the wine underwent a short, post-ferment maceration of one week. Then, half of the wine was matured in 600-litre demi-muids and the rest in barriques for one year. It’s a richer, deeper and more structured Rioja than the Bozeto of course, yet there is also good vibrancy and freshness from the limestone soils and altitude of the vines. The 2018, which sees no new oak and more higher-altitude fruit than previous vintages, is a spicy, vibrant, punchy style, showing oodles of red and dark cherry fruit, peppery spice and a streak of earthy minerals.
93 points, Luis Guiterrez, The Wine Advocate “… There is a lot of depth and nuance here: there is fruit, ripe without excess, spice, aromatic herbs and a touch of licorice and earth. The palate is medium-bodied and reveals great balance, powerful but elegant, quite classical and with all that it needs to develop nicely in bottle in this cooler year.”
93 points, James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com “Aromas of blackberries, blueberries, violets and lavender follow through to a medium to full body, with firm, linear tannins and a clean, bright finish. A little tight now, but nicely crafted. Drink or hold.”
RRP $51 Our Special Buy when you buy 6 of this wine $39.99
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Grenache and Blends, Tempranillo
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