Latin for ‘to wish strongly’, Bodegas Exopto was established in 2003 by Tom Puyaubert, a Frenchman at the pointy end of the new wave of Spanish winemakers. He’s fanatical about reclaiming unique old vineyards and now has about 22ha (54 acres), spread across more than 30 different plots, the vast majority of which have vines over 60 years old. Incredible. Tom’s focus is on “respect for the environment”, which sees him using horse-drawn ploughs and biodynamic practices. This guy’s the real deal; passionate and skilled, crafting hand-made wines in tiny quantities.
“Exopto is one of the consolidated new names in Rioja. Frenchman Tom Puyaubert is nowadays producing better wines than ever. Always humble and down to earth, he is focusing more and more on the vineyards… In the winery he is settling with 600-liter demi-muids, and the oak feels better integrated in the wines, respecting the character of the different vineyards.” Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate (Big deal to be on the radar of this guy).
Bozeto means ‘sketch’ or ‘outline’ and as is an apt description for Puyaubert’s entry-level wine, which is designed to be a delicious, easy-drinking introduction to his range. Garnacha makes up about 40% of the blend and is sourced from a 60-year-old plot in Rioja Oriental, while the tempranillo is from a selection of mature vines in high county in Rioja Alta. Unusually for a wine of this price, there’s also some graciano from Rioja Oriental that adds some freshness and finesse. The wine was fermented in a combination of concrete and steel tanks, before being aged for six months in a combination of concrete and 5,000-litre old oak vats. There was a small amount of semi-carbonic maceration, which adds an extra dimension of vibrance and freshness to the finished wine.
“Deep red with a bright rim. Spicy cherry and black raspberry on the nose, with brisk mineral and floral overtones. Juicy and focused, offering sweet raspberry and blackberry flavors and snappy acidity. Impresses with precision rather than power and finishes with juicy berry flavors and good persistence.” Winemaker’s notes.
Amazing to have such big names review wines at this price, let alone give them good scores. Gives you an idea of the esteem in which Exopto is held.
"Tom Puyaubert does pan-regional red blends as well as anyone… with the focus on sappy, juicy black plum, raspberry and red cherry flavours rather than oak. Tasty, balanced and youthful."
91 points, Tim Atkin, Rioja Special Report 2022
"A pretty nose of cassis, plums, raspberries, bark and sweet spices. Medium-bodied with sleek tannins. Round, plush and juicy with plenty of fruit and a spicy finish."
90 points, James Suckling.
I found this a terrific entry level Rioja that's fresh and all too easy to drink.