Andrew Guard

2020 Rioja Tinto 'Gabaxo', Olivier Rivière

The red 2019 Gabatxo was produced with a blend of 40% Garnacha, half from Rioja Alta and the other half from Rioja Baja, 40% Tempranillo from Rioja Alavesa and 20% Graciano from Rioja Alavesa fermented separately, the Garnacha with full clusters, the rest destemmed and blended after fermentation finished. It matured in second-year oak vats for one year. Alcohol is 14%, and there's integrated acidity. This feels a little different from the rest of the reds and is a little different from the 2018, more aromatic and open, straightforward, but with a serious palate with chalky tannins. 22,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in November 2021
92/100 Luis Gutiérrez, Wine Advocate July 2022

Today there would not be a Sommelier or enthusiastic amateur taster in Spain that has not heard about Olivier Rivière and his small, artisan production of Rioja and Arlanza wines. He is one of the new Grandees of Spain.

Having been on the lookout for years, Olivier was eventually able to purchase some Tempranillo and Albillo vines at 1000 meters of altitude. These are in the village of Cavarrubias, in the Burgos province, in the AOC Arlanza. The vines are very old, and Olivier has produced a few very rare but stunning wines. “Viñas del Cadastro” and “El Quemado” are both produced from the same site, “El Quemado” coming from a little triangle shaped parcel at the top of the vineyard. Both these wines were matured in seasoned oak barrels for 18 months prior to bottling and are explosive and exotic but have the Riviere signature of elegance, freshness and definition. His old vines Albillo makes the very rare white “Basquevenas” that is silken, perfumed and rich. It is fermented and matured in seasoned barrels and reminds me in many ways of some of the great whites of the Northern Rhône.