2016 Rioja Tinto
|Grapes||Tempranillo, Viura, Garnacha|
Striking fresh nose of sun-warmed ripe dark hedgerow fruit leads one to expect a softer palate, but the entry is tart, bright and appetising with firm and even mildly bitter tannins which give an intensity and length which make this more than intriguing - a complex and stimulating wine which, like all Roberto's wines, becomes more and more interesting. Clearly made with food in mind, it will age for a while, but it's a joy now. Drinking range: 2018 - 2025 L&S (Oct 2018)
*Case price: Mix any 12 bottles of wine or 6 bottles of Champagne, Spirits or Fortified to get the 'case price' for each bottle.
The straight Tentenublo red comes from 14 parcels in and around Lanciego and combines Tempranillo and Garnacha with 10% Viura, Malvasía and Jaén Blanca in classic Roberto Oliván style. Youthful, floral and wonderfully perfumed, this has real zip and precision, savoury red fruit and some grip from iron-rich red soils. 2020-26 Drinking range: 2020 - 2026 Rating: 92-92 Tim Atkin MW, www.timatkin.com(Oct 2018)
Roberto Oliván 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 Viñaspre, 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 hailstone on the label. With the Xérico 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 cuvées 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 Viñaspre and each with different grape mixes under this label, so you have to look carefully for the cuvée name...
Finally (at least for now), there are some new wines released under the Los Corrillos label, the blending of some of the Viñaspre 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.
Rioja is at the heart of a 'new wave' of Spanish winemaking. There are some really exciting producers crafting wines that are fresh, pure and fruit-focused - a world away from the dusty, over-oaked Rioja of old. We are proud to represent a few of the most gifted young winemakers in this new wave. Here are three examples that will make for a delicious, heart-warming Christmas.
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