wines of Bodegas Ontañón, Rioja
Part 5 of a series based on a visit to this famous Spanish wine
Ontañón is a family-owned winery based in Quel, a village in the
Rioja Baja. They have 250 hectares of vineyards in the region, and a
winery near the vineyards. They also have a separate winery near
Logroño that is just used as a barrel ageing hall, and this was
built in 1998. It is also used as a visitor centre, and as well as
being filled with barrels, it is also full of art.
village of Quel is at 484 metres altitude, and the highest vineyard,
the 90 hectare La Montesa, is at 600–700 metres altitude. This
helps offset the relatively high temperatures of the Rioja Baja, the
most southerly part of the Rioja region.
the 1980s the grapes were sold, as is common in this region where
most growers sell to large companies who make the wines. But Gabriel
Pérez Cuevas broke with tradition and started making his own wines
and selling them. At this time, Gabriel was friendly with a local
artist called Miguel Angel Sáenz, and it is his paintings and
sculptures that decorate the Logroño winery. It is one of the
most visited in all Rioja, along with Lopez de Heredia and
Dinastia Vivanco, with 15 000 visitors a year. €6 gets you a tour,
a tasting of the reservas and sweet wine, plus local cheese and
bread and oil.
visited the Logroño site with Raquel Pérez Cuevas, Gabriel’s
daughter and the fifth generation of the family to be in the wine
Ontañón Vetiver Crianza Blanco 2007 Rioja, Spain
100% Viura, 12.5% alcohol. Rich, intense and toasty with peach and
pear fruit. Bold with nice acidity and lots of flavour. Fresh and
quite spicy with a mineral edge; a modern, full-flavoured style.
Ontañón Crianza 2006 Rioja,
90% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha. Dark coloured. Aromatic nose
shows sweet dark fruits and a herbal, garrigue-like character. The
palate has fresh berry and cherry fruit with a subtly minty, herbal
character. Nicely savoury with some peppery notes. 90/100
Reserva 2004 Rioja, Spain
95% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano, 24 months in American and French
oak. Nicely fresh and forward with cherry and berry fruit
underpinned by grainy, mineral tannic structure. Restrained oak.
Nice fruit-forward style with some savoury characters. Stylish.
Ontañón Mitología 2001
Apparently, the main market for this wine is Russia. Complex
aromatic nose showing sweet berry fruit, summer pudding, spices and
herbs. The palate shows fresh, vibrant, youthful dark cherry and
berry fruits with fine spicy structure. Really nice acidity. Very
fresh and young tasting for a 2001, and with potential for further
Ontañón Riberas de Marco Fabio
Moscatel Semi Dulce 2009 Vino de la Tierra Valles de Sadacia, Rioja,
12.5% alcohol. Very lively, full aromatic nose with notes of
herbs, lychee, sweet grapes and a hint of barley sugar. The palate
is sweet and rich with a minty edge to the bold, pure, grapey fruit.
Really attractive wine. 89/100
1, Finca Allende
2, La Rioja Alta
4, Bodegas Riojanas
5, Remirez de Ganuza
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