Peter Maude Fine Wines

2017, Vivaltus, SPAIN, Magnum 1500ml


Vivaltus is the new project in Ribera del Duero from the Yllera family - and this is their first ever release - with the 2016 vintage. 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.

What a début! Even given the distinguished track record of consultant Jean-Claude Berrouet, this is a remarkable wine. Elegant and refreshing, it has very fine tannins, floral top notes, subtle oak and just a hint of leafiness from the Cabernet Sauvignon.
97/100 Tim Atkin MW.

The eponymous 2016 Vivaltus, the grand vin in its initial vintage, was ready for bottling when I tasted it. It's a blend of Tempranillo with some Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, mostly from old vines. It fermented in stainless steel with neutral yeasts and aged for around 12 months in French barriques, 20% of them new. But there's no oak in the nose, which is ethereal and perfumed, elegant and nuanced, with notes of violets, wild berries and herbs. The palate shows ultra-refined tannins and comes through as beautifully textured, with a fine chalky minerality, very good precision, clean and focused flavours and a long tasty finish. This is really amazing. 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. This has great balance and finesse, unlike anything I had tasted from Yllera before: they confessed this wine had changed their understanding of great wine and is going to influence the way they produce their wines from here on. A truly breathtaking Ribera del Duero. 96/100 Luis Gutiérrez, Wine Advocate.

Needs time to open up, as even at five years old it has muscles and well-framed fruits, but it is so worth the wait of a few hours in a carafe. Fragrant raspberry leaf, sandalwood, tobacco, pencil lead, juicy black cherry, blood orange, melted tannins, all with finesse and complexity. The wine is made from old vines, up to 90 year (almost entirely) Tempranillo sitting at between 750m and 1000m altitude, from a selection of their own vines, and those of local growers. This is the first vintage on the Place, and a new project, and it's a standout. 25% new oak, Jean-Claude and Jeff Berrouet are consultants, working along with winemaker Montxo Martinez and owners Marcos and Carlos Yllera. 96/100 Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux.

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