2016 Vivaltus, Ribera del Duero, Spain
Needs time to open up, as even at five years old it has muscles and well-framed fruits, but it is so worth the wait of a few hours in a carafe. Fragrant raspberry leaf, sandalwood, tobacco, pencil lead, juicy black cherry, blood orange, melted tannins, all with finesse and complexity. The wine is made from old vines, up to 90 year (almost entirely) Tempranillo sat at between 750m and 1000m altitude, from a selection of their own vines, and those of local growers. This is the first vintage on the Place, and a new project, and it’s standout. 25% new oak, Jean-Claude and Jeff Berrouet are consultants, working along with winemaker Montxo Martinez and owners Marcos and Carlos Yllera.
Jane Anson, janeanson.com
The eponymous 2016 Vivaltus was really impressive. I was already amazed at the unbottled sample, and the finished wine seems even better! It's a blend of Tempranillo with some Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, mostly from old vines. It fermented in stainless steel with neutral yeasts and aged for around 12 months in French barriques, 20% of them new. But there's no oak in the nose, which is ethereal and perfumed, elegant and nuanced, with notes of violets, wild berries and herbs. The palate shows ultra-refined tannins and comes through as beautifully textured, with a fine, chalky minerality, very good precision, clean and focused flavors and a long, tasty finish. This is really amazing.
Drink 2020- 2030
Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate
It has a more delicate profile with somewhat more mature fruit than El Jardín de Vivaltus. It is compact, but it makes you salivate. Savoury, with complete tannins, but replenished with delicacy. It is a Ribera with a soft, deep and elegant profile. Very well crafted. A fantastic project that will echo in the future for sure.
Ferran Centelles, Jancisrobinson.com
What a debut! Even given the distinguished track record of Bordeaux-based consultant Jean-Claude Berrouet, this is a remarkable wine that is part of a welcome new trend in Ribera del Duero. Elegant and refreshing, it has very fine tannins, floral top notes, subtle oak and just a hint of leafiness from 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Releasing the wine through the Place de Bordeaux with five years of age gives you some idea of the ambition that owner Yllera has for this superb cuvée.
Tim Atkin MW, timatkin.com
About this WINE
Vivaltus is a new project from the Yllera family, who have a long history of winemaking in Spain’s Ribera del Duero region. Recently, the Vivaltus team brought on legendary consultant Jean-Claude Berrouet, best known as the winemaker of the globally-renowned Château Pétrus in Bordeaux.
Vineyards are among some of the highest in Ribera del Duero, up to 1,000 metres above sea level, and vines average 80 years of age – although some are more than a century old. Predominantly Tempranillo is grown, with a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot making up the rest. In the winery, Jean-Claude opts to use minimal new oak, a significant feature in many top wines of the Ribera.
The 2016 vintage is the first release of Vivaltus and was launched to great anticipation and critical praise. Hailed as “a superb cuvée” and “a fantastic project”, the quality of the vineyards and winemaking shine through, making this a rich and balanced wine that’s expected to age well for at least a decade. Vivaltus is set to become a successful and well sought-after annual offer.
A high quality red wine grape that is grown all over Spain except in the hot South - it is known as Tinto Fino in Ribera del Duero, Cencibel in La Mancha and Valdepenas and Ull de Llebre in Catalonia. Its spiritual home is in Rioja and Navarra where it constitutes around 70% of most red blends.
Tempranillo-based wines tend to have a spicy, herbal, tobacco-like character accompanied by ripe strawberry and red cherry fruits. It produces fresh, vibrantly fruit driven "jovenes" meant for drinking young. However Tempranillo really comes into its own when oak aged, as with the top Riojas where its flavours seem to harmonise perfectly with both French and American oak, producing rich, powerful and concentrated wines which can be extraordinarily long-lived.
In Ribera del Duero it generally sees less oak - the exception being Vega Sicilia where it is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and then aged for an astonishing 7 years in oak and is unquestionably one of the world`s greatest wines.
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The complexity and yet subtlety of the aromas is beguiling. The lower oak in the aging process really allows the aromatics of the grapes to shine through. It needs a bit of coaxing but what one is left with is an array of sweet red fruit, blueberry, violets. The palate is wonderful with a truly “liquid” quality – everything tied together perfectly, filagree / melting tannins, lovely refreshing acidity and a rich and yet balanced fruit core. The quality from the vineyards really shines through on this first release for what is sure to be a successful and well sought-after annual offer. Clean, rich, focussed and precise – a very good Ribera del Duero.
Drink 2023 - 2030
Stuart Rae, Buying Commercial Manager, Berry Bros. & Rudd
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