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Revolutionary Rioja

Tim Atkin MW is one of the UK's most respected wine writers; co-chair of the judges for the IWC, a columnist for both the Observer and the Sunday Times and more recently publishing on his own site (www.timatkin.com). One of the regions he focuses on for annual reports is Rioja - fantastic news as it is a region with a huge amount going on and a really interesting balance of tradition and modernity.

Yesterday he published his 2017 Rioja report and on downloading it this morning we were delighted to see great notes for both of our producers (Artuke & Tentenublo). Tentenublo retained its ranking as a 'second growth' in Tim's eyes with the single vineyard Veriquete and the core wine Tentenublo both receiving excellent notes (all below).

There was even more exciting news for Artuke with the winery both being elevated to a 'first growth' and with Arturo receiving recognition as Tim's Young Winemaker of the Year in the region (Roberto from Tentenublo won this last year - so we're doing pretty well all in all). Alongside this were fantastic write ups for all the wines across their range. Please check out the full notes below and the wines themselves.

2014 Artuke La Condenada Genérico - 97/100 

Rescued from neglect - hence it’s name, The Condemned - this is a 0.6-hectare field blend of Tempranillo, Graciano and Garnacha with a few white grapes planted in 1920. It’s a brilliant wine: dense, chalky and well balanced with layer after layer of flavour: mint, cassis, aniseed and blackberry and blueberry fruit.

2014 Artuke K4 Genérico - 96/100

K4 sounds like a Himalayan mountain, but is actually a one-hectare parcel of Tempranillo and 8% Graciano, grown at 630 metres. Smoky, smooth and spicy with focused plum and blackberry fruit and the freshness that characterises all of Arturo de Miguel’s wines.

2015 Tentenublo Veriquete Single Vineyard Genérico - 94/100

Veriquete is an 80/10/10 blend of Tempranillo, Viura and Garnacha from a single 0.5-hectare parcel on a mixture of sandy and red clay soils. This is a dense, sappy, focused wine that’s very youthful right now, with tannins and concentration that wouldn’t look out of place in an Aglianico. But there’s plenty of dark berry fruit weight, too.

2014 Artuke Pies Negros Genérico - 94/100

Pies Negros comes from a range of different vineyards in Abalos, located at altitudes of 530 to 630 metres. It’s a blend of Tempranillo with 10% Graciano that sees no new oak. Floral, intense and concentrated with a core of sweet red fruits, subtle wood-ageing and bright acidity.

2015 Tentenublo Genérico - 93/100

The Tentenublo red is a blend of Garnacha and Tempranillo with 10% Viura, Malvasia and Jaen Blanco from 15 different parcels in Lanciego, with a predominance of ferrous red soils. There’s a bloody, iron-like note to the wine, too, with plenty of colour, spice and acidity and some added freshness from those white grapes.

2015 Artuke Genérico - 90/100

Made with Tempranillo close to the winery in Baños de Ebro, this is a classic, whole-bunch fermented carbonic maceration red. Floral, juicy and unoaked with lovely texture and some pepper spice from the stems. Tradition at its best.

Rioja La Condenada

Meaning ‘The Condemned’ La Condenada is a plot Artuke bought in 2012 and which prior to that had been abandoned despite the vines being more than 100 years old. The wine here is very lifted and elegant with more red fruit notes and fine but plentiful tannins and does justice to this incredible vineyard.

Rioja Pies Negros

This delivers exactly what we are looking for in a Rioja – delicious dark plum and blackberry fruit flavours wrapped elegantly in a touch of spicy oak with plenty of concentration and character. Bring on the Jamon Iberico!

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