Artuke 2021 Pies Negros Tinto 750ml
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As I've explained in previous vintages, this wine is produced with grapes from the Sierra Cantabria in the village of Ábalos, so the 2020 Pies Negros is another village wine, even if it won't get the official qualification, as they don't have a winery in Ábalos. It's a blend of 85% Tempranillo with 15% Graciano that fermented with destemmed but uncrushed grapes with indigenous yeasts and matured in 500-liter oak barrels for 12 months but with 10% of the volume kept in concrete. It has strong aromatics with pungent notes of licorice and ripe fruit without excess. This is 14% alcohol and has nice balance, a soft texture and very fine and grainy tannins.
Score: 92+ points -- Luis Gutierrez, The Wine Advocate, 2022
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.
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