Artuke is a small winery located in Baños de Ebro, a village in Rioja Alavesa on the banks of the river. In 1991, Roberto de Miguel decided to move away from bulk wine production onto bottled wine. Now his children Arturo and Kike, whose names are the basis of the winery they now lead, are shaping this project, firmly rooted in its surroundings and landscape.
Artuke is part of Rioja’n’Roll, a group of young producers who are committed to making singular wines which reflect their origins and terroir. Conscious of their heritage —they carried out a detailed study of the soils in their plots, located in Baños de Ebro, Ábalos, San Vicente de la Sonsierra and later in Samaniego— they fight to preserve it rather than transform it. That is one of the reasons behind their efforts to work the 25 hectares they own in the old way —no trellis on site; their plants are all bush vines, even the new ones.
Such commitment with their roots has led them to recover vineyards like La Condenada (literally, the doomed one), an abandoned plot with sandy soil and sandstone subsoil purchased by the brothers in 2012 and planted with old Tempranillo, Graciano, Garnacha and some Cagazal or Calagraño vines, an obscure variety which resembles Palomino Fino). They want to maintain the style of viticulture that was traditionally done in the area so Arturo and Kike are gradually buying small abandoned plots next to La Condenada that used to be part of the vineyard. For now, they have managed to group 7.5Ha.
The first vintage of La Condenada was 2013 (1,000 bottles, €46), a wine which completes the trio of single vineyard wines in Artuke’s portfolio. Another single-vineyard wine is El Escolladero, formerly K4, (1.190 bottles, €40), a blend of Tempranillo (75%) and Graciano (25%) sourced from a high altitude plot planted over 60 years ago on clay-chalky soils in Ábalos.
The last one they released is Paso Las Mañas (2,500 bottles, €23), sourced from a 3.9Ha vineyard on the highest slope in Samaniego (730m) with clay soils and stones on the surface which they planted in 2013 with Tempranillo from Finca De Los Locos. All of their vineyards are organically farmed.
Finca Los Locos (8,000 bottles, €20), one of their flagship reds, was named as a tribute to their grandfather, who had the vision to buy a 3Ha plot on a terrace at 550 meters of altitude overlooking the River Ebro. It was 1950 and locals in Baños thought planting vines in such an unproductive plot with sand, gravel and three times more chalk than the average in the area was madness (Finca de los Locos means The Crazy People’s Plot). The grandfather’s stubbornness is today one of Artuke’s most prized plots, planted with Tempranillo and Graciano grafted with massal selection.
Their range of village wines includes two bottlings: Artuke (80,000 bottles, €6.75), a traditional carbonic maceration style fermented with whole clusters and Pies Negros (60,000 bottles, €12), made with Tempranillo grapes from Ábalos and 10% Graciano.
All of Artuke wines will maintain the generic green back label of Rioja's Regulatory Body, ignoring the new village and singular wine classifications.