Peter Maude Fine Wines
2017, Vivaltus, SPAIN
Vivaltus is the new project in Ribera del Duero from the Yllera family. They purchase top-quality grapes from old vines and ferment and age the wines with the advice of Bordeaux guru and Petrus winemaker of over 40 years, Jean-Claude Berrouet.
Brambled bilberry, loganberry and cassis fruits, the dark tight flesh with well-developed acidity that you have come to expect from this wine, touch of bitter black chocolate on the finish. This is a slow build, well integrated, and the power is subtle rather than overt, at least in comparison to the usual style of Ribera del Duero. Strongly savoury finish, with fennel and aniseed. Jean-Claude and Jeff Berrouet consultants, with winemaker Montxo Martinez and owners Marcos and Carlos Yllera, made from old vines growing from 750m to 1,000m in altitude, aged in French oak. 93/100 Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux.
The aim here is to produce an elegant wine within the powerful style of Ribera del Duero. For Berrouet, the aging potential of the wine is not about the quantity of tannins but the quality of those tannins. In fact, he explained how he attended an incredible tasting of Ausone going back 150 years, and he found that the more powerful vintages were not necessarily the ones that had aged better. I was very pleasantly surprised by the bottled 2017 Vivaltus despite the fact that 2017 was a challenging year and was decimated by frost in April that resulted in losses of up to 60% of the crop. The end of the season was warm and the harvest early, so the growing cycle was quite short. The wine is floral, perfumed, elegant and insinuating; the oak feels pretty well integrated, and the palate is balanced with very good tannins. A triumph over the adverse conditions of the vintage. 94/100 Luis Gutiérrez, Wine Advocate.