The Rioja Oriental until recently was known as the Rioja Baja. In fact, many of Ontañon’s vineyards are actually planted at altitudes on a par with or higher than those in Rioja Alta and Alavesa, defying misconceptions that Rioja Baja is one of the lesser sub-regions within Rioja. Their vineyards sit high in the Sierra Yerga mountains in the prestigious region surrounding Quel. The Perez family have been making wine in this region for over 80 years, and like many other growers they sold their grapes to the big Rioja bodegas. In the 1980s Gabriel Perez broke with this tradition when the family started making and marketing their own wines.
Unlike many other bodegas, who source their grapes from other growers, most of the grapes that Ontañón use for their wines come from the 250 hectares of their family-owned vines. Their Reserva wines come from the cooler La Pasada vineyard which is 800m above sea level. The hot and dry climate, tempered by the cooler altitude, allows perfect ripening of the grapes.
They take great pride in maintaining their vineyards in a sustainable manner with organic farming. They favour a long maceration period and the wines are then aged in a combination of American and French oak, which gives them a more contemporary interpretation of the traditional Rioja style.
We are offering a Mixed Dozen of three bottles of each of –
Ontañón Ecológica Rioja 2019
Certified organic vineyards at an altitude of 500m source this juicy 100% Tempranillo wine. It is fruit-driven, having a long maceration of the grapes and spending just five months in American and French oak barrels (new and used).
A youthful, medium colour, there is an enticing perfumed nose of summer fruits, which leads into a soft, ripe mouthful of raspberry and plum fruit. This is a modern and very attractive style of Rioja. Very gluggable!
Artesa Rioja Crianza 2018
Made from 100% Tempranillo from another of the family vineyards 600m above sea level, the wine is matured for 12 months only in American oak.
Deep in colour, there is nose of brambles, black cherries and a hint of oak. The palate bursts with black cherry fruit supported by a hint of vanilla, and it shows more complexity than the first wine.
Ontañón Rioja Crianza 2018
Produced from 40-year-old vines of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Garnacha, this spends 12 months in 60% American and 40% French oak barrels (a mix of used and new). It has another 12 months of bottle ageing before being released.
Deep in colour, it has perfumed black fruit and wood spice nose. On the palate this is a more complex wine with good concentration of cherry and plum fruit, a silky texture and a touch of liquorice at the finish. There’s a trace of smooth tannin and good length. Classic Rioja.
Ontañón Rioja Reserva 2010
Made from 95% Tempranillo and 5% Graciano from La Pasada vineyard at 700-800m, this spends 36 months in a mix of American and French oak, before spending a further 24 months in bottle prior to release.
Another deeply coloured wine but with signs of maturity at the rim, this has developed beautifully with age. There is a complex nose of dark fruit and red cherry with hints of tobacco and spice. On the palate it is more structured and complex with layers of black fruit, spice and orange peel, and has great length. Absolutely gorgeous now, but will continue to develop for another 5 years.