Artuke Rioja 2018

Last time, I told you Artuke had produced their best collection of wines in 2017. Well, their 2018s are even better, and the wines have reached a very high level. I think they are one of the best examples of the progression and growth of a small grower into the world-class category. LUIS GUTIERREZ

Some of you hopefully remember the Artuke offer from last year – where I outlined the new move in Rioja to vineyard specific wines with real identity lead by a group of young winemakers Rioja ‘n’ Roll.

Rioja ‘n’ Roll, a small group of like-minded winemakers who have banded together to show a more modern approach to things, focusing more on the sub-regions and single sites of Rioja they aim to bring a better understanding of the unique terroir of Spain’s greatest viticultural region to the people. They, like us and most of the wine drinking community, are more interested in origin and demonstrating a sense of place than large, soulless, multi-regional blends. After all terroir is the most exciting thing in the world of wine and Rioja has some of the most incredible sites.

Artuke, one of the Rioja ‘n’ Roll gang, is run by two brothers Arturo and Kike who now have 25 hectares of vines in some extreme corners of Rioja. These are terrific wines, very expressive of their sites and come from very old vines and relatively inexpensive for their quality.

2018’s are the strongest line up yet from this great little producer. ALEX WILCOX

The Artuke family doesn’t stop. They don’t stop looking for ways to improve their vineyards and wines, and they have also recently purchased a further 3.2 hectares in the villages of Samaniego and Villabuena de Rioja. They now work a total of 28.9 hectares in Baños de Ebro, Ábalos, San Vicente de la Sonsierra, Samaniego and Villabuena, all head-pruned traditional varieties, mostly Tempranillo but also some 15% Graciano and 3% Viura. The average age of their vines is around 30 to 40 years, and their total production is 150,000 bottles. LUIS GUTIERREZ