Deeper colour than the 'Tinto', a raw freshness, a hint of reduction, super-taut black fruit and sappy energy from whole bunch fermentation. It's 'sauvage' energy is captivating from now and becomes more so with a little aeration. Drinking range: 2018 - 2023 L&S (Oct 2018)
*Case price discount: Mix any 12 bottles (or 9l equivalent) of wine or 6 bottles of Champagne, Spirits, Sweet Wine or Fortified to get the 'case price' for each bottle.
Still youthful in the glass. Really vibrant fresh aromatics, cherry and herbal notes mingle beautifully with an ashy (whole-bunch?) smoky note. Has a lightness of touch and a purity of fruit with chalky tannins that are still resolving. Precise acidity adds freshness and verve. Should age well. Drinking range: 2019 - 2028 Rating: 16.5 Alistair Cooper MW - www.JancisRobinson.com(Dec 2019)
For a different take on Rioja, try this Tempranillo co-fermented with 20% Viura from high-altitude vineyard plots around Viñaspre near Lanciego. It's meaty, dark and a bit feral with brambles, gravelly tannins and piercing acidity on rustic but pure palate. Decant before serving. Rating: 91-100 Decanter Magazine(Sep 2019)
Xérico is what Roberto Oliván calls his "very own house wine", produced from a co-fermentation of Tempranillo with 20% Viura. Spicy, meaty and earthy with no oak to interfere with the firm, sappy, appealingly rustic flavours. Drinking range: 2019 - 2022 Rating: 90 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 hail cloud 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.
If you thought all Rioja was much the same - think again. This case will take you on a tour of the exciting, evolving landscape here. From the bigger, more traditional mellowness of Ruconia’s Reserva with its long barrel ageing, via the light bright and crisp elegance of Sandra Bravo's high altitude Sierra do Tolono, to the more exuberant full on fruit led style of the Artuke wines, this selection encompasses so much of what is exciting and tasty about Rioja.
Rioja - it may have been around for years, but it's bang up to date.
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