Laventura Rioja Malvasía 2018
Bryan MacRobert hails from South Africa, where he was assistant winemaker to renowned Swartland producer Eben Sadie before making his own exquisite range of wines. He and his Spanish wife Clara, however, now live in Logroño, where he made his first vintage of Laventura in 2013. One of a new breed of winemakers putting more emphasis on terroir and fresher, elegant wines in a region where the grand bodega and barrels still rule, Bryan's wines are already causing quite a stir and are some of the most thrilling bottles to come out of this traditional region in many a year.
And this is totally unique (for now), as it's the only bona fide orange wine being produced in Rioja. The grape is Malvasía Riojana, aka Alarije, grown in a high altitude vineyard hugging the Sierra Cantabria. Fermented naturally on skins for 3 weeks in a cement 'egg', then aged for a year on lees and bottled with minimal sulphur. While Bryan isn't trying to go the full hog of an oxidative orange wine as you'd find in Georgia, for instance, but this is groundbreaking: orange-pink colour, grippy texture, tannin and a dry blood orange flavour with lovely balanced acidity. Awe-inspiringly good and a delight with food such as roast pork or hard cheese. But just 750 bottles made.
Rioja | SPAIN