Bodegas Exopto Rioja Horizonte de Exopto Blanco 2017
I hope we’ll still be mates after saying so, but this wine bears almost no resemblance to Puyaubert’s early white Riojas. Where those lavish initial releases looked to Burgundy for their inspiration, today’s wine plays homage to the Loire Valley or Germany with its rocky, chalky freshness and citrussy drive. Exopto’s white is a blend of mostly Viura with some 10% Garnacha Blanca and the remaining 5% split between Malvasía Riojana, Jaén Blanca and Torrontés, picked predominantly from vines that are co-planted in Exopto’s Tempranillo parcels. From 2017, this wine has been raised in a mixture of concrete egg and 600-litre demi-muid as Puyaubert seeks to capture the mineral salinity and tension that is gifted by the rocky limestone soils and old vines in his highland vineyards in Ábalos. Tim Atkin’s comment below nails it—this is an outstanding white by any measure. Guided by citrus-driven va va voom and a lick of reduction, this new-wave white is at once coolly smoky, pithy, amply textured, aromatically complex and thirst-quenching. Do not miss this.
“Frenchman Tom Puyaubert makes this outstanding white wine from co-fermented Viura, Garnacha Blanc, Malvasía, Jaen, Moscatel and Torrontés, using a combination of larger, older wood and concrete eggs. Leesy, textured and subtly wooded with a hint of skin tannin and an exotic undertone.”95 PointsRioja Special Report 2019