BODEGAS ONTANON tempranillo blanco 2017
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intense tropical fruit aromas, with hints of pineapple, white flower and citrus. the palate has texture and balance with ripe stone fruit characters, crisp acidity and a lengthy finish.
ontañón tempranillo blanco is made from the tempranillo white grape. in 1988 a wine grower in the rioja baja region discovered in the midst of his tempranillo red grapes one of his vines had produced yellow green clusters of grapes. after several years of investigation, the consejo regulador of rioja accepted that this was a natural mutation of the usually red grape.
currently tempranillo blanco is found only in the rioja wine region of spain. in 2007, the spanish institute for foreign trade working with the consejo regulador of the rioja region came to an agreement that would allow the planting and use of tempranillo blanco in white rioja wines produced under the doc labels.
only a handful of wine growers in rioja have tempranillo blanco vines. bodegas ontañón saw the potential of this grape and planted in 2010. 2016 was the first vintage of tempranillo blanco that they released.
about the producer
ontañón is the name of the mountain valley where for many generations the pérez-cuevas family has owned land. the family’s identity is rooted in this sub-region of rioja oriental, which is located near their hometown of quel. their vineyards are, on average, about 750 meters above sea level with a combination of iron-rich clay soil and some calcareous deposits and are some of the highest altitude vineyards in the entire rioja region. the climate is strongly influenced by the high elevation, but also by the mediterranean weather patterns. this area experiences the greatest temperature shift, day to night, in all of rioja, yet produces wine of amazing consistency and balance. ontañón wines are pure of fruit with a strong underpinning of acidity - true to where they come from but in a style that is unique to this distinctive parcel of land. bodega ontañón is a multi-generational, family-owned winery located in the southeastern subregion of rioja oriental. our 250 hectares (ca.620 acres) of vineyard land sit high in the sierra yerga mountains outside of the township of quel, which has been one of rioja’s outstanding winemaking centers for three centuries. we take great pride in maintaining these vineyards in the most sustainable manner possible, as it is our land that supports our family tradition in wine. “passion for the vine, passion for wine and passion for art” is our motto, as we believe that each of these elements contributes to the human experience and illustrates the vital connection of the land to people and culture. raquel, rubén and maría pérez cuevas are part of the fifth generation of the pérez cuevas family to carry on the tradition of grape growing in the southern part of rioja. their father, gabriel, inherited a portion of his family’s vineyards, located in the high mountain slopes of the sierra de yerga mountains just south of the river ebro in rioja oriental. when he took over in the early 1980s, gabriel began making wine from these vineyards rather than selling the fruit as his ancestors had. he was determined to produce wines that embodied the region of quel, where his family had deep roots and where he believed the highest quality wines from rioja were produced. he began to sell his wines, then labeled as “arteso”, in the local area and later throughout spain. as sales continued to increase, gabriel purchased more vineyard land in his native region. during his father’s and grandfather’s time, quel was the center of quality wine from rioja. all of the original “wineries” were dug out of the rock faces that encircled the town and consisted of hollowed-out clay fermentation vats with chimney-like chutes dug straight through to the top of the cliffs. the grapes were delivered in old comportillos (grape baskets), carried down the mountain slopes from the vineyards via mules. this tradition primarily evolved as a practical measure so that neither the winemakers nor their pack animals had to carry the year’s harvest up the back-breaking steep cliffs, but it also mirrored early gravity-flow systems. of course, in that age there were no barrels and no extensive winemaking regulations as there are now in the d. o. ca. of rioja, but the fruit from this part of rioja was known to be among the best.