2020 Olivier Riviere “Rayos Uva” Rioja, Spain

Ruby red with lively aromas of fresh cherry, black raspberry and candied flowers. Minerally and energetic on the palate offering juicy red and blue fruit flavors sharpened by a spicy element.



Rayos Uva is Olivier’s version of a Bourgogne Rouge sourced from fruit grown in the sandy, gravelly and alluvial soils of Rioja Baja. The blend is dependent on the vintage but usually includes Tempranillo, Garnacha, and Graciano – percentages change each year to create a brightly fruity version of Rioja unmarked by oak.


With about 25 hectares of rented and owned vineyards in Rioja Alta, Rioja Baja,
Rioja Alavesa, and splitting his time between his own wines and consulting
with other producers, it would be an understatement to say that Olivier Rivière
is busy. Originally lured to Spain in 2004 by Telmo Rodriguez to convert his
vineyards to biodynamics, Olivier came to appreciate the rich history of Rioja
and the diversity of its soils and grape varieties. In 2006 he started his own
project, and owing to the high cost of land in Rioja, he traded his farming
talents for access to grapes from the best sites he could locate.
Coming from France, Olivier has an innate sense of terroir. Unlike many of
his peers in Rioja, he bases his cuvées not on political boundaries or the length
of barrel aging but on terroir. He believes in a quality hierarchy inspired by
Burgundy with generic Appellation and Village wines at the base and Premier
and Grand cru wines at the top. This is how to understand best what Olivier
is doing in Rioja, rather than the traditional Crianza, Reserva, Gran Reserva
model or traditionalists versus modernists.
In keeping with his education and advocation, nearly all of Olivier’s vineyard sources
– whether owned or leased – are farmed organically with biodynamic practices.
Harvested is manual and each variety is fermented separately. Depending on the
source, it may be partially destemmed or fermented whole cluster. Fermentations
are with indigenous yeasts. Macerations are gentle and short. Aging takes place
in stainless steel or cement tanks, foudre, and barrel with each container chosen
to benefit the expression of the terroir. SO2 is kept to a minimum, usually added
only before bottling. These are not your grandparent’s Riojas, nor are they your
parent’s. These wines represent a novel approach that relies almost entirely on the
specificity of site and the transparency of winemaking necessary to capture it.


Grape(s) Tempranillo, Graciano, Garnacha
Farming Biodynamic