2021 Artuke, Rioja Tinto “Artuke” Spain.
Bright, juicy and expressive, the 95% Tempranillo and 5% Viura, a white Rioja grape, Artuke Tinto is 100% whole cluster, full stem inclusion and carbonic macerated, making it kind of like a Cru Beaujolais in the glass with crushed raspberry, black cherry, plum and Jolly Rancher watermelon fruits along with spring florals, wild herbs, anise and hint of chalky stoniness. This wine which was sourced from all organic vines was closed stainless steel tank fermented using the whole bunches of Tempranillo and Viura, after which it was pressed to a combination of neutral French oak barrels and larger casks for one year, allowing this fresh red Rioja to mature nicely and provide seamless textural quality. This was the first time having these Artuke wines and this one, dark ruby in the glass, especially caught my attention for the style, which is not too common in Rioja, though it is a throwback to the region’s past and is very pleasing for youthful drinking. This highly quaffable dry and medium bodied red is smooth and clean, making it great with no pretense meals, picnics and or tapas.
The Artuke Rioja wines come from calcareous sandstone soils with a combination of sand and clay in the higher elevation areas of this famous region that see some cool night time temperatures to go with an arid continental climate all of which contributes to the sublime balance found in these wines. Artuke’s winemaker Arturo Miguel is building a good reputation for his wines and is part of new generation of young Spanish vignerons in Rioja, the country’s most historic and best known region, that are changing things up here and focusing on individual terroirs rather than the Reserva and Gran Reserva Rioja of the past. Miguel is the second generation of his family to grow and bottle their own label wines since the end of the Franco dictatorship and he has pushed for all organic farming, as well as focusing on his four specific vineyard wines, which are the Pies Negros, Finca de los Locos, La Condenada and Paso las Mañas. There a lot like in Arturo’s lineup of wines and I look forward to following this label, this was a strong showing of offerings, with this one being a lovely and easy value.
($20 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive