Tentenublo winery is located in one of Rioja's three wine-producing sub-zones, Alavesa. The one and only, but totally resourceful, person who moves the strings in the cultivation of the vines and also in the production of the wine, is Roberto Oliván and it would be good to keep this name!
Roberto Oliván, at just 37 years old, is achieving success on the wine canvas, inversely proportional to his age. He has a rare personality that combines an unwavering creativity, with a very quiet and gentle profile. After his Ph.D. in enology, and full of experience from his travels to Chile, California, Australia, and New Zealand, he returned to his homeland and in 2011, founded Tentenublo Wines, intending to make his family's small wine business productive, practicing the art of winemaking for a living. A few years later he put the words 'Rioja' and 'minimal to no cask' side by side, daring to change the hitherto known style of the region's wines, and in 2015 he was awarded 'Young Winemaker of the Year'! As he says "the wine must be consumed and the barrels must be empty for the new harvest!" indirectly suggesting the end of the barrel style Rioja we knew! It is also worth noting that he was the first to add a small percentage of white varieties to the red blends to enhance their aromatic profile!
The winery's vines are located in the village of Vinaspre, where Tempranillo, Garnacha, Viura, and Malvasía varieties are grown. There the 100 hectares of vineyard are divided into 30 small parcels surrounded by three mountain ranges, the Iberian, the Cantabrian, and the Pyrenees. The slopes of the Sierra de Cantabria mountain are very steep with the altitude reaching 700 meters, while the climatic difference between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean creates extreme weather conditions. The harvest can only be done manually and from cultivation to vinification, Roberto chooses only organic techniques with the least possible intervention and low but very elegant yields. But the best part about it is that he can literally do what he thinks is best for his vines, as he is part of an awesome group of young Rioja winemakers who are making noise and completely changing the landscape of winemaking in Spain. Rioja n' Roll!
We have a particular weakness for the wines of Tentenublo because they are not only products of winemaking but a reflection of the history and culture of Viñaspre. From the style of blending the varietals to the appearance of the bottle, Olivan tells traditional stories! His main inspiration is his family bonds so in the Xérico series, he pays tribute to the four generations of his family, with labels that each year depict an ancestor. That is, a family tree imprinted in a collection of wines! The Escondite del Ardacho single vineyard range shows respect for biodiversity with labels depicting the environment of a local lizard species. Roberto has imagination and humor and this took off in his best-selling wines, the eponymous Tentenublo series which includes the Rioja Blanco and Rioja Tinto. The term comes from a local dialect and describes the ringing of bells that were rung to drive hail clouds away from the vines for protection and the label shows a bell chasing the cloud literally!
The wines of Tentenublo Wines arouse the interest of wine critics and sweep the awards, while they have already acquired a fanatical audience, that is, those who can get hold of them, since their production is limited. Roberto Oliván is ambitious, creative, and has the makings of a winemaker that speaks to your heart. People who combine tradition with evolution so well and have created informal "schools" in the world of wine are uniquely gifted and few and far between. One of them is Roberto, and one of them is the special Apostolos Thymiopoulos. You thought that too right? So yes, we dare say it. Roberto Oliván is the Apostle of Rioja!