White wine Young. Winery: Exopto. D.O.Ca. Rioja. (La Rioja) Variety: Garnacha Blanca, Viura and Malvasía.
Red wine Barrel. 6 months in separate containers. Winery: Exopto. D.O.Ca. Rioja. (La Rioja) Variety: Garnacha Tinta, Graciano and Tempranillo.
Red wine Barrel. 12 months in French oak barrels. Winery: Exopto. D.O.Ca. Rioja. (La Rioja) Variety: Garnacha Tinta, Graciano and Tempranillo.
D.O.: D.O.Ca. Rioja
Tom Puyaubert is the main character of one of those short stories that give way to a new diversity of styles and proposals, which enrich the possibilities of one of the most famous wine-producing regions of our country: La Rioja. The vision he has of the denomination is a region where classic, historical wineries coexist with companies with relatively large structures, and also with a new generation of small producers like him, who try to delve into the territory. Tom is one of those "enfant terrible" who bring new content to the debate on the future of D.O.Ca. Rioja in terms of varieties, terroirs, or production practices. These are the result of his own personal experiences, his ability to identify the uniqueness of certain vineyards, and his unique vision and passion for wine. Tom Puyaubert studied agronomy and oenology in Bordeaux. He arrived in Spain in the early 2000s, leaving behind his native land of Bordeaux to settle in La Rioja with the purpose of selling barrels from the famous French cooperage, Saury. However, his permanent contact with the best Spanish winemakers, wineries and Rioja vineyards, led him to develop his personal winery project.
History of the winery
Tom Puyaubert opened Exopto in 2003, a functional winery located in a small industrial area of Laguardia. However, his main activity is still the sale of barrels. It is quite a simple winery, so it lacks the architectural charm of the wineries of La Rioja. Despite this fact, it still has the oenological tools that are necessary for the production of wines, with brand new oak barrels, some stainless steel, and we can also see his preference for uncoated cement, very traditional and noble materials that, according to Tom, allow the wine to express itself and develop a great complexity of aromas and flavours.
Bodegas Exopto does not have its own vineyard, so it works with around 14 hectares of rented vineyard, a small part in La Rioja Baja, in Monte Yerga, and most of it in Ábalos. These vines are planted in the traditional vase-shape, aged between 30 and 90 years, with 22 micro-plots with different types of soils, orientations, altitudes and, above all, climate and terroir. Here, Tom personally performs the most important tasks, such as green pruning, thinning of bunches and the harvest itself. All the Tempranillo vineyards are located in the village of Ábalos, Rioja Alta. Its climate, with Atlantic influence, is more likely to express the fineness and complexity of this variety. By contrast, the Grenache and Graciano vineyards are mostly located on the foothills of Monte Yerga, in the south of La Rioja. There, the vines enjoy a Mediterranean influence, an essential condition for the proper development of the Grenache, and the complete ripeness of the Graciano.
Among its controlled vineyards some unique plots stand out, such as La Periquita, in Ábalos, with 1.5 hectares of Tempranillo at 200 metres of altitude. Its soils are comprised of gravel and a sandy sub-layer; it is the base of their Bozeto wine. Las Abejas, in Ábalos, has 1.5 hectares, with clayey-calcareous soil, planted with very old Tempranillo vines (60 years); it is the base of their Horizonte wine. The Chulato plot is also located in Ábalos. It has 2 hectares, located on a hillside with very good exposure to the sun and with the presence of an underground river that surrounds the vineyard. This fresh atmosphere allows them to achieve very balanced and complex grapes that always maintain a very good acidity. El Portillo, in Ábalos, has 0.5 hectares and is located at 600 metres of altitude. It has gravel soils with a sandy sub-layer. Here, they cultivate very old Tempranillo and Grenache, located in the high part of the village. Las Balsillas has an area of 0.2 hectares and is located in Alfaro, in Monte Yerga, at 500 metres of altitude, with soils full of boulders, where the Graciano variety is cultivated. El Agudo is also in Alfaro. It has 3 hectares and is located at 500 meres of altitude, with a gravel and sandy sub-layer, where old 60-year-old Grenache is cultivated.
All the wines are made in concrete deposits or wooden vats, whose porosity favours the oxygenation of the wines to stabilise the colour, to avoid reduction problems, and to round the wines. In addition, the thickness of the walls of these deposits give them a very good thermal inertia that allows the grape to be kept fresh at the beginning of fermentation. Then it is progressively increased to 28ºC for optimum maceration. After the fermentation, they use these deposits to create Grenache and Tempranillo wines that are more fruity, and that will be included in the assemblage of the Bozeto wine.
Ageing in barrels has a very important role in the design of their wines. Therefore, they exclusively use French oak barrels, and ageing on lees during the first 6 months. Just as the assemble the different grape varieties, they also experiment with different barrel profiles: fine grains to favour the oxygenation of the wine, and medium grains to preserve the fruit. The different roasts will also provide complexity: Burgundy for minerality and structure in the mouth, long and of little intensity to respect the fruit and the balance of the wine.
Wines from Exopto
Exopto is made with 60% Graciano, 20% Grenache and 20% Tempranillo, from old vineyards that are between 50 and 100 years old. It ferments in oak vats and it is aged for 18 months in French oak barrels (50% new). On the nose, it has aromas of wild red fruits, Mediterranean herbs, undergrowth, pepper and liquorice. In the mouth it is silky, with outstanding flavours of plum, dark chocolate, liquorice, with a mineral touch. Its tannins very well integrated, great freshness, spiced and smoked finish.
Horizonte de Exopto is made with Tempranillo (80%), Graciano (10%) and Grenache (10%), from vineyards that are between 50 and 80 years. It ferments in oak vats and concrete deposits, and it is aged for 12 months in French oak barrels (20% new). On the nose, notes of black fruit (blackberry, blueberry) stand out, liquorice with balsamic hints and minerals. In the mouth, it shows wild red fruits and spices (clove, cinnamon) with ripe tannins that give it volume. Very balanced and elegant, but with great acidity and persistence.
Horizonte Exopto Blanco is made with Viura (85%), Malvoisie (5%) and White Grenache (10%), from vineyards that are 50 to 80 years old, integrated inside vineyards planted with red grapes. After a 6-hour skin-contact maceration, it is fermented in 225-litre French oak barrels and aged for 12 months on its lees in used French oak barrels. It has an intense aroma, with lactic hints and ripe fruit, peach, pear, apricot, and spices, cinnamon and aniseed. Very good balance in the mouth, with a pleasant acidity, structured and complex, and a perfumed and intense finish.
Bozeto de Exopto is made from Grenache (50%), Tempranillo (40%) and Graciano (10%) from vineyards that are 30 to 50 years old, cultivated on soils with boulders and gravel with a sandy sub-layer. It ferments in stainless steel deposits at low temperature (22-25ºC) and it is aged for 9 months in concrete deposits, wooden vats and used French oak barrels. It has aromas of black cherry and blueberry, with hints of ripe strawberry and raspberry, cedar and graphite. It has a medium body, with good presence in the mouth, fruity and spicy, round and long, with ripe and well integrated tannins.