Andrew Guard

2016 Rioja Tinto 'Pozo Alto', Olivier Rivière

2016 Rioja Tinto 'Pozo Alto' According to records, Pozo Alto was registered in 1930 but it was most likely planted well before this time so the vines are about 90 years old. At the foot of the Sierra de Cantabria just outside the village of Leza, Pozo Alto has a sandy clay soil of decomposed limestone and sandstone. This site is planted mainly with Graciano with smaller amounts of Tempranillo and Garnacha – making it rather unique as Graciano fell out of favor after phylloxera. 2015 is the inaugural vintage of this wine but due to hail in August, 85% of the crop was lost resulting in only a couple of barrels.

In just 10 years Olivier has established himself as one of Spain's most revered winemakers. His wines have rapidly become amongst Spain's most sought-after, with all of the top restaurants and "in the know" collectors seeking them. Only small quantities are made, and in some instances tiny quantities...

We have had a great response to Olivier Rivière’s small production of Rioja and Arlanza wines since we first introduced them some years ago. I met first Olivier in Deauville, France where he was showing his wines at a wine fair that featured may producers that I was interested in. I had heard great things about his wines and was very keen to work with Spanish wine. Needless to say I wanted the wines to be good but I loved them! I gave him an order on the spot and we haven’t looked back.

It's hard to put you finger on what makes these wines great. All the wines have lovely balance and a purity of fruit that I rarely see. Most of all though they have superfine texture and cashmere-like tannins - they can be full bodied but are very lithe and incredibly drinkable!