2017 El Escolladero, Rioja, Artuke, Rioja, Spain
"The 2017 El Escolladero is a blend of Tempranillo with 15% Graciano from a vineyard in the village of Ábalos that was planted in 1950 on clay and limestone soils at 660 meters in altitude. It fermented with uncrushed grapes and indigenous yeasts and matured in 600-liter oak barrels for 12 months. This was one of the last plots to be harvested in a very early vintage, around the 20th of September, which is extremely early anyway. Graciano was healthy, and it was a good year for the grape, so perhaps it contributed more to the blend since it yielded better. This is quite different from the wines from the early years when they used new oak. Now, all barrels are first used with the entry-level wines and are later used for the single-vineyard ones.
There is no oak whatsoever here, and it has a great combination of power and elegance. The palate is medium-bodied, and the tannins are very fine. Power and elegance. This has to be the finest vintage for this wine and one of the best Artuke has produced. 1,160 bottles were filled in January 2019." Luis Gutierrez. Drink 2019-2027. 95Pts.
Previously known as K4, which always sounded like a mountain in the Himalayas, El Escolladero is a 0.95-hectare parcel at 660 metres in Ábalos. The clay-based soils contribute to a wine that is quite compact on the palate, with grip and dark berry fruit leavened by refreshing acidity and top notes of sage, lavender and thyme. 2022-30Drinking range: 2022 - 2030Rating: 97Tim Atkin MW, www.timatkin.com (Feb 2019)