Tentenublo Rioja


Spain, Rioja

Roberto Oliv谩n is the force behind Tentenublo, and he is one of the growing band of Rioja winemakers who are much more interested in making extraordinary wines from single sites rather than volume blends. He has some vines which are in the family, and has gathered together many little vineyard plots around Vi帽aspre, his home village, near Lanciego in Rioja Alavesa. The high altitude helps define the brightly-defined style of his wines.

The name 'Tentenublo' comes from ringing bells - in Rioja, bells are rung to ward off hailstorms (to what effect is less clear) - which accounts for the animated bell chasing a rather blobby-looking hail cloud on the label. With the X茅rico label - a wonderfully nineteenth century looking masterpiece which has a picture of a different ancestor of Roberto's in each vintage, these make up the bigger cuv茅es that he makes.

The second main line he calls Escondite del Ardacho, after a local lizard. So far he has released four wines from different parcels around Vi帽aspre and each with different grape mixes under this label, so you have to look carefully for the cuv茅e name...

Finally (at least for now), there are some new wines released under the Los Corrillos label, the blending of some of the Vi帽aspre plots.

For anyone used to the rather bland merchant blends of Rioja, these wines might be described as 'challenging', but if you are prepared to give them time to open up in the glass, to try them with food, you will be rewarded by the great complexity and individuality that they offer.

The legislation (which means that a producer can only make Vinos de Pueblo from the village in which its facilities are based) is so nonsensical that people have found subtle, nose-thumbing ways around it. Roberto Oliv谩n of Tentenublo labels his wines as VLAV (an acronym for Vi帽edos Libres de la Aldea de Vi帽aspre). (From The 2021 Rioja report). Tim Atkin MW, www.timatkin.com  (Feb 2021)

I went to Vi帽aspre to visit some of Roberto Oliv谩n's vineyards to get a better understanding of his wines. He works a myriad of tiny plots with very old vines, some of which are almost dying and many plants are missing, so yields are tiny. Truly handcrafted terroir wines. Luis Gutierrez, www.robertparker.com  (Aug 2016)