This past week, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate covered Spanish wines. This is what expert, Luis Gutierrez had to say: “Let me start with a bang: I haven’t been so excited about Rioja in many, many years! And what has happened?
Why is their Spanish wine expert so excited? Because of all the new blood and new boutique projects that are launching.
He then highlighted Exopto, the newish project from Frenchman Tom Puyaubert and his group of friends who have been transforming the entire region with their use of biodynamics – even teaching their neighbors how to transform their vineyards.
Exopto has become a force throughout Spain in a short amount of time. Pyaubert has several vineyards that he’s been improving in the region focused on Tempranillo and Garnacha. Each year it seems like he adds a new element to his winemaking, consistently tinkering to find the freshest, purest version of Rioja he can, expertly slicing and dicing the vineyards for his blends.
His ‘Horizonte de Expoto’ is probably the most exciting in the lineup in terms of both exceptional quality and price. The wine is a combination of grapes from Abalos and San Vicente de la Sonsierra and is a traditional blend of 80% Tempranillo with 10% each of Garnacha and Graciano. The wine is made in concrete vats with indeigenous yeasts and then matured in 600-liter demi-muids and 225-liter barriques for a year. Needless to say, when the wine comes out, it is rich with nuance and incredible depth.
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93 Points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
A traditional red blend of 80% Tempranillo with 10% each Garnacha and Graciano, the 2020 Horizonte de Exopto combines grapes from Ábalos and, since 2016, also San Vicente de la Sonsierra, as he cannot produce village wines from there as his winery is in Laguardia! This year he also added the new plots from Baños de Ebro that represent 15% of the blend and which he feels add fresh red fruit notes and silky tannins. It showcases the Sonsierra zone with fresher Tempranillo with balance, length and the chalky sensation from the limestone soils. It fermented in concrete vats with indigenous yeasts and matured 50/50 in 600-liter demi-muids and 225-liter barriques for 12 months. It follows the path of 2019 but with a little more freshness.