After lusting over all of the French wines that I saw at Elie Wine Company, my attention was directed to some Spanish wines. Elie had made several trips and started researching some wines in Spain, and he was so delighted with what he had found that he started an import business and is now selling to about six different states, the wines that he discovered.
Two of the wines were from the Rioja region, which has always been one of my favorites, going back to when I was just learning about wines. I bought two different Rioja wines that are both from the Alavesa district in Rioja. The two wines are made by Artuke Bodegas y Vinedos. The owners are Arturo and Kike de Miguel Blanco and they own a forty acre family vineyard where the majority of the vines are around thirty years old, and a few are approaching a hundred years in age. This vineyard manually harvests the fruit in the traditional manner, but they are experimenting as well.
The first bottle is Artuke 2012 which carries the Rioja designations and labels. It is a blend of 95% Tempranillo and the balance is Viura, which is a new varietal for me. This bottle of wine was made using Carbonic Maceration, which is the method that is used in Beaujolais for the Nouveau wines. This method enables lower tannins, and the period between picking and bottling can be less then six weeks. There were a total of 4,500 cases of this wine made. Elie suggested that this wine be served slightly chilled (cellar temperature) and thought it would go best with lighter foods like pizza, and he was right. It was a “Rioja-lite” for a lack of a better term, as it was a very easy drinking table wine. In fact the wine and the pizza were both finished at about the same time.
The other Rioja wine from the same vineyard was Pies Negros 2010 with a logo of a pair of bare feet crushing the grapes. I am anticipating that this will remind me more of a traditional Rioja wine as it is made of 90% Tempranillo and the balance is of Graciano. There were 2,915 cases of this wine made over the decades., and I look forward to drinking this wine, as I compare it to other Rioja wines that I have enjoyed