Dinastía Vivanco, Riojaby Tom Cannavan, 09/06
In 1985 Pedro bought the site of the current winery and museum, in the heart of Rioja Alta. In 1990 he started the ambitious project that would become the driving
force for himself and sons Rafael and Santiago: the Bodegas Dinastía Vivanco.
Rafael is a softly spoken and charming ambassador for Dinastía Vivanco. He is winemaker, trained in Spain and Bordeaux, but with extensive worldwide travel under his belt. Rafael's brother Santiago works mostly on the commercial side of the business, with his degrees in law and business management.
Rafael showed me around their new and beautiful underground cellars that have just been completed next to the existing winery. It soon became clear that the family has huge ambition for Dinastía Vivanco, and is lavishing time, money and passion on improving every aspect of the business. I suspect that ambition is to make Vivanco one of the icon wines of Rioja.
|The immaculate winery is built so that grapes and wine are moved by gravity at most stages. The temperature controlled grape receiving bay contains not one, but two sorting tables, were very small crates of grapes are
delivered and sorted by hand. From there they fall down into the winery's large wooden vats, each of which is computer-controlled, combining the best of traditional and modern technology. Ageing is in a combination of
French and American oak; all French for the Reserva bottling.
The Vivanco range is still developing, but will include a varietal Graciano, or a blend heavily dominated by Graciano. The Vivanco's have a soft spot for this variety, and have planted warm sites in the Rioja Baja were they believe it will flourish. As well as tasting the current commercial releases, I tasted four varietal barrel samples from the 2005 vintage. I have to say that these included some really impressive wines, and if the Dinastía Vivanco continues with its approach of investment, quality raw materials and attention to detail, the future vintages from this new Rioja estate will be well worth keeping an eye on.
Dinastía Vivanco (Spain) Rioja Crianza 2002
A Tempranillo-based blend, this has a very spicy, peppery nose of vanilla and soft red fruits. On the palate there is good freshness to the fruit, with lots of cherry and ripe berry flavours. There's a real jammy ripeness to the fruit, which along with the sweet oak is just a touch cloying, but grippy, roughening tannins and that charry oak quality do add balance. Very good. £8.99, Bibendumns, Cellar Door, Off the Vine, The Wine Shop (Leek), Fresh and Wild, Partridges, Roberson.
Dinastía Vivanco (Spain) Rioja Reserva 1998
A blend of Tempranillo and Graciano aged in French oak, the nose of the 1998 Reserva has a lovely succulence and savoury spice, with some tobacco and Sandalwood notes over soft, plummy fruit. On the palate this is very dry and savoury, with a slightly dusty quality to the fruit, and plenty of spice and liquoricy, bittersweet tannin. Again it is perhaps a touch over-oaked, leading to a slightly drying finish, but with plenty of concentration and power. Very good. £11.99, Bibendumns, Off the Vine, Partridges, Roberson, Wine Buffs.
2005 barrel samples
Mazuela (Carignan) 2005