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Olivier Rivière

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Native from France, Olivier Rivière was born and raised south of Bordeaux in Cognac. After completing his oenology studies in Montagne St-Emilion, he started working with Elian Da Ros in Côte-du-Marmandais and later at Domaine Leroy, where he developed the passion and skills of making wine using organic and biodynamic methods.

As his dream was always to make wines at his own domaine, he quickly understood that it will be impossible to find what he was looking for in France due to the incredible cost and scarcity of available great vineyards.

He decided to cross the border and in 2004 he took a job with an estate in Rioja where his job was to convert its vineyards into biodynamic culture. This experience opened his eyes as he saw the potential and opportunity of accessing unique old vineyards in the region. At that time he decided to stay in Rioja and start his own wine making adventure there.

At the beginning, Olivier found a suitable grower in Cárdenas and bought and vinified his grapes. At the same time, he was able to rent 1.2ha plot, and had his first harvest in 2006. Over the next years, he managed to purchase vineyards, some of them in unknown regions to most – but what was unique to all of them was a combination of old vines in great terroir and altitude, with high potential for making great wines. As of today, Olivier owns and leases a total of 3ha vineyards in the Rioja region and in the Arlanza appellation (in Burgos). All his vineyards are farmed biodynamically.

Olivier has a congenital sense of terroir. His wines have more in common stylistically with Burgundy, than with the typical Spanish wines.

Instead of adopting the common Spanish system which qualify wines based on their aging time before release (Crianza, Reserva, and the Grand Reserva system), he believes in a Burgundy-inspired hierarchy of quality, being terroir specified as generic appellation and Village wines as the base, and Premier and Grand Cru wines at the top. There is minimalist intervention in the vinification process and the use of sulphites and new oak is kept to a minimum.

This unique and revolutionary approach creates wines which combine their Spanish identity (by using local Spanish varieties from different terroir) with freshness and complexity, which differ them from any other Spanish wines.