2021 Olivier Rivière "Rayos UVA", Rioja, Spain


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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. The breakdown of this particular vineyard is 50% Graciano, 30% Garnacha, and 20% Tempranillo.

Grapes are hand-harvested, left partially whole cluster and fermented in tank. Aged 6-8 months in concrete vats and foudre.


A Bordeaux native, Olivier studied as a viticulturalist in France at Montagne St-Emilion before getting more hands-on experience in organic/biodynamic farming at Domaine Leroy in Vosne-Romanée.

From there, lo-fi winemaking was imparted on him by the great Fred Cossard at St Romaine's Domaine de Chassorney. These two formative experiences shaped his approach to wine growing and making deeply expressive wines. But rather than sticking to his roots in France, it was roots of a different kind (the Spanish kind) that intrigued him the most.

He has since started making some of the sexiest, most energetic expressions of Rioja, all off organic vines. These wines share more DNA with those of the avant-garde of Burgundy or the southern Rhone Valley than most Spanish wine you will drink today. Exciting stuff and absolutely worth the modest prices asked.