Bryan McRobert is a guy from South Africa who makes wines in Rioja. As the first line of an article is not a bad phrase. Especially because it seems to be a bit strange that a winemaker from that country comes up all the way here to do more wine. Nevertheless, Bryan has come and he is making very good wines.
Bryan was born in Cape Town and grew up on a farm located 50 km north in the Swartland region. It was there where he learned to cultivate the vineyards and elaborate his first wines, while studying Viticulture and Enology at the University of Stellembosch. There he has his own winery, Bryan MacRobert Wines CC, where he produces two wines: Tobias and Abbotsdale.
In 2013, he settled in Spain with Laventura Wines, located in a warehouse in Logroño from which he operates, though he has plots throughout the region: Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Alta and Rioja Baja. The vineyards are cultivated under organic methods. Sustainable production is fundamental for the concept of Bryan MacRobert wines. At first glance, it may seem that he is just another Rioja producer, yet if you take a closer look, you will realize that he doing very interesting stuff. When Bryan arrived in Rioja few years ago, he discovered that the Tempranillo was a very interesting grape with a huge winemaking potential so he decided to start experimenting with the Spanish variety.
Now you as faithful reader will be wondering why we are talking in Orange Wines about a South African winemaker working in Rioja. That is easy to answer. In his wine portfolio there is an Orange Wine made with Malvasia. Is it not perfect?
Before talking about this wine, we will first go over the other wines that he is making, which as we mentioned at the beginning, are very worthwhile.
The other white wine making is Laventura Viura, which includes a 10% of other white varieties. This is a wine made with grapes coming from old vines from organic viticulture whose natural fermentation takes place in 600-liter barrels for one year. A very pleasant wine both in the nose and in the mouth.
Bryan makes three red wines. The Laventura Lanave is his entry-level wine, a blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha. One year of aging in stainless steel tanks for the vintage 2014 and one year of barrel for the 2015. Laventura Tempranillo is his second red wine, with 80% of that grape grown in the Rioja Alavesa, plus 10% Garnacha coming from Rioja Alta and another 10% of Garnacha coming from Rioja Baja. Its aging is carried out in 500-liter barrels. It is a cool wine to drink. A pleasant wine that makes you ask for more.
Our favorite red is Laventura Garnacha. A very fine wine that gives you a lot of pleasure when you taste it. The 2015 spent a year in 600-liter barrels.
Finally, the Orange Wine, our favorite of them all. Laventura Malvasia. The grapes come from a small plot located at the feet of the Sierra de Cantabria. The must macerates on the skins for three weeks before being moved to a concrete egg where it ages for a year. It is a very fine and elegant wine, one of the finest Spanish orange wines we have ever tasted. The nose is very soft and captivating and the mouth offers a combination of flavors that makes you keep drinking more and more. Their wine is a limited production because it Bryan only makes around the 1.000 bottles in the vintage 2015.
Laventura Wines is member of the Rioja’n’Roll group along with other wineries in Rioja: Valgañón Alegre, Sierra de Toloño, Oliviere Riviere, Artuke, Barbarot and Exopto. The goal of this group is to make wines showing the character and soul of the winemakers without being limited to traditional classification of Rioja wines.
Soon we will talk to Bryan about his wines and winemaking philosophy.