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Olivier Riviere Mirando al Sur Rioja Blanco

$118.00

What happens when you take a well trained French winemaker and place him in Spain’s most prestigious wine region? Magic. Olivier Rivière was born and raised in the southwestern French region of Cognac. Having studied oenology in Montagne St-Emilion, he plied and honed his skills in Bordeaux and Burgundy. His intention was to start making wine in the region of Fitou, but this plan was shelved following a trip to Spain. In 2004 he was brought to Rioja Alavesa by famed winemaker Telmo Rodriguez, who asked Oliver to help convert his vineyards to biodynamic farming. Smitten by the region, he never left. Today he either rents or owns 25 hectares of vines in Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa, and Rioja Oriental. Planted between 350 to 1000 meters in elevation, his oldest vines are over 90 years in age and include Tempranillo, Graciano, Mazuelo, Garnacha, Viura, Malvasia and Garnacha Blanca. He hand harvests his fruit in 14-kilogram bunches to avoid blemishes, and manually sorts through the grapes at the winery within 30 minutes of them being picked. He whole-cluster ferments each variety separately using natural fermentation and ages the wines in a mixture of tanks, foudres and demi-muids. Taking a page from his previous experience, he grades his wines based on the Burgundian model (ie, regional wine, village wine, premier cru, and grand cru).

Mirando al Sur is made from Olivier’s oldest vines of Viura, planted near the village of Labastida in Rioja Alavesa. It is named Miranda al Sur (‘Looking South’) because it is aged in used Sherry butts after a whole cluster fermentation in oak vats. Harder to place in a Burgundian context due to the impact of the biologic aging of this cuvée, the wines of Jura might be a better analogy for this wine.

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