Bodegas Exopto El Espinal Maturana Tinta 2016

  • This is the first release under Tom Puyaubert's “Colección Miguel Angel Mato.” Mato, a native of San Vicente de la Sonsierra, is the seasoned viticulturist in many of Exopto's principal vineyards. He also owns a number of old vineyards high on the slopes of the Sierra Cantabria. Under this new project, Puyaubert is making and releasing a series of small-batch wines from Mato's familial plots where the viticulturist is carrying out all the farming duties. In Tom's words, "we hope to highlight the unique character and hard work he [Mato] puts into his best plots."

    This unique parcel is still planted to head pruned Maturana Tinta, a reemerging variety in Rioja that is classified as Trousseau (though it should be noted that Puyaubert believes these vines to be Castets, a now almost extinct French wine grape variety that was historically grown in the Aveyron region of France).

    Another atypical facet of this cuvée is Puyaubert's use of "vinification intégrale,” whereby he places whole bunches into closed barrels where they ferment by rolling the vessels six times a day. No pump overs, no pigéage etc; this is more of an infusion than extraction. Following fermentation, the juice is racked into used 600-liter French oak for 12 months before bottling. It's unlike anything we have tasted from Rioja, which is the point. Look out for silky blackcurrant, and mulberry fruit, complexed by pungent graphite, white pepper, and cool, sappy bay leaf notes, all draped in smooth tannins. The finish is long and seriously classy.

    This is the first vintage of this unusual wine made from vines regrafted from Garnacha to Maturana Tinta. There are 1,800 bottles of this first vintage. Pair with roasted game or duck.