El Espinal was the first label under Tom Puyaubert’s Colección Miguel Angel Mato. Mato, a native of San Vicente de la Sonsierra, is the seasoned grower who does all the work, cultivating by mule in some of Exopto’s principal vineyards. He also owns several old vineyards high on the slopes of the Sierra Cantabria, including El Espinal. Here, the 'pin' in the plot name Espinal references the pine trees on the exposed slopes of the Sierra Cantabria in San Vicente, which have always been a part of this high-country landscape. This site—a 0.3-hectare, limestone/clay vineyard—is planted to bush vines of the extremely rare Maturana Tinta vine, a re-emerging variety in Rioja. The Wine Grapes bible classifies it as Trousseau, although Puyaubert tells us that this is not the case and that these vines are rather Castets, a now almost extinct French variety that was once grown in some quantity in the Bordeaux area (and is related to Cabernet Franc). Another atypical facet of this cuvée is Puyaubert’s use of Vinification Intégrale, whereby he fermented the fruit in closed, 600-litre French oak barrels, which were rolled several times a day. There were no pump overs, no pigéage, etc., just rolling (this results in infusion rather than extraction). Following fermentation and pressing, the juice was then racked back into these same casks for 15 months before bottling.