The sample I tasted from the 2016 La Condenada was the final blend, waiting to be bottled, and the nose was spectacular: flowers, wild herbs, wild berries, subtle earthiness, a spicy touch. It feels like the vineyard, which was semi-abandoned, is slowly recovering and is delivering better and better wines each vintage. It seems to have all the ingredients for a nice development in bottle. Very promising. They expect to fill 1,300 bottles in January 2018.
Score: (93 - 95) points -- Luis Gutierrez, Robertparker.com, Feb 2018
Artuke has started new projects in the last few years, and their portfolio will soon include two more single-vineyard wines, one from Baños de Ebro and the other one from Samaniego. In 2016 they also fermented a varietal Garnacha from the Alto Najerilla, a vintage with more acidity when they harvested earlier. The wines are more fluid, in search of the character and personality of each place—a change that occurred in 2013. In 2015 they suffered from hail, and in 2017 they had frost.
This small 22 hectare estate is spread over 32 different vineyard plots in the villages of Baños de Ebro and Abalos which makes it one of the smallest and most carefully run in the district. The difference in climate, altitude and soil types between the plots bring rich benefits and distinctive nuances to the character of each wine product at the estate. This is backed up by the lack of trellising in the vineyards and a reliance, even with their oldest vines, of bush vine plantation and hand picking of the grapes into small containers. The Bodega in its current incarnation came into existence in 1991 when Miguel Blanco and his wife, Conchi, broke with a hundred years of family tradition and began to bottle their own wine. Up until that time the grapes and juice had been sold off to other producers. Over the years the passion of Miguel and Conchi influenced their sons, Arturo and Kike, to take over the running of the winery. With a dedication to blending grapes and producing wines sourced from the different areas their vineyards are located, the family has set aside the traditional Rioja classification system. While this was a difficult decision the brothers wanted to maintain greater control in the maturation and release of their wines so that they could adjust the ageing length and barrel ageing requirements to suit the nature of their wines more precisely. The brothers aren’t ones to shy away from a challenge and as such they are always on search for new vineyard sites, either existing or that they will plant, that are located at higher elevations. The goal as always is to adapt the vineyards to their grape growing style with the aim to continue to craft their lovely, pure expressions of terroir driven wines from Rioja. This is a unique find and we look forward to sharing the wines with you.