2015 Rioja Bodegas y Viñedos Artuke
This is so not what you expect from Rioja: no oaky orange-coloured dry old thing with wire on the bottle that we remember from the '70s, this is all dark juicy fruit and silky, gently grippy tannins. A supple, youthful mouthful of balanced and immensely drinkable wine and a bargain basement price for this quality. Drinking range: 2015 - 2018 L&S (Mar 2016)
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If you're used to drinking oaked rioja, this juicy, youthful blend of tempranillo and five per cent of the white grape viura might come as a bit of a surprise. But it's typical of the kind you find in the region's tapas bars, with abundant raspberry and black cherry flavours, tangy acidity and a hint of peppery spice. Drink with: A lamb roast. Tim Atkin MW, www.timatkin.com (Nov 2016)
This is a very atypical Rioja. There’s no vanilla or coconut, no oak at all as far as I can tell, instead there’s bags of bright red fruit, herbs and a sort of floral quality. It’s almost like a young fresh Pinot Noir. Henry Jeffreys, The Spectator (Oct 2016)
Light sweet round fruit – not the most obviously Spanish red. Very simple and easy. Drinking range: 2017 - 2020 Rating: 15.5+ Jancis Robinson MW OBE - www.JancisRobinson.com (Sep 2016)
The young, unoaked, carbonic maceration red is now called simply 2015 Artuke, produced in the most traditional way in Rioja. 2015 was a challenging vintage in Baños the Ebro because they had hail on August 31st followed by some 80 liters of rain. That changed the style of the vintage, which until then was eminently Mediterranean. As the temperatures went down, the plant continued ripening the grapes. There are always some 5% white grapes with the majority of Tempranillo, from grapes harvested around mid-September. The carbonic maceration aromas are there, but in a restrained way, a mixture of red and black fruit with some red licorice and a juicy, fruit-driven palate, with unnoticeable tannins. Awesome value. Rating: 89 Luis Gutierrez, www.robertparker.com (Aug 2016)
By vinifying together all the grapes from plots from the same village, Baños de Ebro, we can transmit the particular character of our village’s continental climate and its chalky clay soils to the wine. Traditional 'whole berry' fermentation method (with the stalks). From vines planted between 1902 and 2005 between 420 to 480 metres above sea level, mainly on chalky clay. 95% Tempranillo and 5% Viura. Winemaker's notes
An excellent new wave producer is Bodeyas y Vinedos Artuke. Artuke Rioja is purplish, not faded garnet, in colour and has an attractive fresh, floral nose and savoury minerality. Harry Eyres
Bodegas y Viñedos Artuke
These wines from Rioja are rooted firmly in their terroir. Artuke is all about small scale, biodynamic production: twenty two hectares of vines spread over thirty two plots between the stunning, hilly villages of Baños de Ebro and Abalos on the upper terrace of the river Ebro in La Rioja Alta, Northern Spain. Artuke is run by the family of Miguel Blanco, who have been working the land in this Northern part of Rioja Alavesa for over a century. Now, the helm is taken by Miguel's two sons Arturo and Kike which as you might guess, is where the name 'Artuke' is derived from. The aim of the brothers has been this: To create a new and individual wine which still respects the history of the wine region and of their family wine tradition. The result: A thoroughly modern style of Rioja, but not heavily extracted or heavily wooded in style.
If you thought all Rioja was much the same - think again. From the big traditional mellow Ruconia Reserva with its long wood ageing, to the light bright and crisp elegance of Sandra Bravo's high altitude Sierra do Tolono, via the exuberant plumpness of the Joven Viña Diezmo and the restrained refreshment of the Artuke, this case encompasses so much of what is exciting and tasty about Rioja. Rioja - it may have been around for years, but it's bang up to date.
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