Exopto’s old vine holdings surround the town of Abalos at an altitude of 600-plus metres in the Rioja Alta district. Of the three districts in Rioja (Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Baja), Rioja Alta is the coolest and has the highest rainfall. Exopto’s Tempranillo vines are between 50-100 years old, Garnacha (Grenache) is 70 years old and Graciano, 30 years old. Soils here are clay and limestone over a sandy, rocky base and ripening very late. Only French oak is used in the ageing process.
"The red 2017 Horizonte de Exopto is a traditional blend of Tempranillo with 10% each Garnacha and Graciano, but now not all of grapes come from the village of Ábalos--since 2016, they have added two plots in San Vicente de la Sonsierra. The destemmed and lightly crushed grapes fermented in concrete vats with indigenous yeasts, and the wine matured 50/50 in 600-liter demi-muids and 225-liter barriques for one year. The wine is surprisingly fresh, expressive and aromatic and has a touch of black pepper, perhaps because there are more grapes from higher-altitude vineyards that didn't suffer the frost, and the result might be fresher than some wines from 2016 or 2015. The move to bigger barrels and less oak seems to have paid back with much better integration of the wood and additional nuance. A great effort for the vintage and a bit of a surprise--lighter and less concentrated but more drinkable. 9,000 bottles were filled in November 2018." 92 points, Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate #243