Andrew Guard

2015 Rioja Tinto 'Ganko', Olivier Rivière

2015 Rioja Tinto 'Ganko' The blend for this, possibly my favorite wine from Olivier, has changed and it's now a 50/50 blend of Garnacha and Mazuelo, which provides acidity and a vertical sensation like no other vintage of Ganko in the past. This is all from the village of Cárdenas in the Alto Najerilla in Rioja Alta, from high altitude, old vines on sandy soils in a zone where only a bunch of small plots remain because it's hard to work. Rivière believes in this area to the point that he has purchased land to plant vineyards on some of the slopes. This has a lovely coolness and edge to the ripples of pure and vivid fruit it exudes; super wine.

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!