2014 Olivier Riviere "Ganko" Rioja (Previously $40) SKU #1319015

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RP 94
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Professional Reviews

K&L Notes

Olivier Riviere is part of the talented next generation of Rioja, a member of the "Rioja n' Roll" collective, and definitely someone who is making some of Rioja's most interesting wines these days. A blend of Garnacha and Mazuelo sourced from Cardenas (Rioja Alta), in iron rich red soil over sandstone. The wine is fermented with whole clusters and then spends 16 months in foudre. Very fresh and mineral, fragrant, high toned stuff!

Staff Reviews

  • John Majeski
    By: John Majeski
    K&L Staff Member
    Funny, when I saw this wine's stark black and white label my brain ran through reels of old Japanese monster films from the 1950s, those fabulous Toho Production classics like Rodan vs. Gamera or Ganko Fights Godzilla. OK, I know "Ganko" didn't really fight Godzilla, but it turns out the word means "stubborn," a nickname that winemaker Olivier Riviere acquired from his clever Japanese importer. Olivier inhabits his own skin, and like Ghidra or Godzilla, is not one to waver, but fortunately his singular Rioja wines are anything but abrasive or indelicate. Grown at altitude on very old vines, the result is a wine of veritas and virtue, brimful of lustrous, high toned fruit--pomegranates, red berries, minerals and lovely potpourri spice. Hardly a kaiju behemoth, but all the better for that! And yes, the ending is guaranteed not to disappoint. Astonishing performance from a cast, er, bottle of one...
  • Andrew Whiteley
    By: Andrew Whiteley
    K&L Staff Member
    Truly a remarkable and unique Rioja that deserves your attention. Especially if you're up for trying something unexpected and wonderful. Ultra bright and fresh, this Rioja is made up of Granacha and Mazuelo, but not a drop of Tempranillo. It has incredible aromatics and a lively floral quality that you are more likely to find in Burgundy or the Willamette Valley. The acid is tremendously refreshing, but balanced perfectly with the ripe red fruits. The tannins are fine and the finish long. This is a special wine that is extremely versatile in food pairings from light fish to hearty chorizo paella and some of your favorite vegetable dishes to boot.
  • Chantel Carroll
    By: Chantel Carroll
    K&L Staff Member
    The Ganko is made up of a an equal bend of Mazuelo and Garnacha. As much as I adore the Tempranillo based Rioja that I am used to drinking, I was super excited to taste such a different expression of Rioja. These old vine grapes grow in the high elevation, this allows for them to ripen slowly. This wine has a beautiful nose, black fruits, mocha, dried violets, and exotic spices. It has great acidity, and nice structure. I think it would drink nicely with chorizo or other charcuterie, it would also do well to rest in the bottle for a while and drink on a special occasion.
  • Morgan Laurie
    By: Morgan Laurie
    K&L Staff Member
    "Pretty" is a descriptive term I use, and know I should refrain from, but when I come across a wine like Olivier Riviere's Ganko, it's one of the first things that comes to mind. Aromatic, bright, lifted red fruit, fresh, herbaceous...just pretty. It's elegant, light and delicate but still carries some structure. It's refined and drinks just like the 1er Cru village Rioja Olivier considers this to be.
  • Joe Manekin
    By: Joe Manekin
    K&L Staff Member
    Original, category defying wines are difficult to place. This is definitely the case for the most distinctive Spanish red I have tasted year to date, the 2014 Olivier Riviere "Ganko." Unlike our other featured Riojas, this one has no tempranillo whatsoever, instead consisting of Garnacha and Mazuelo grown in high elevation vineyards, kind of way out in the sticks on the southern, Sierra de la Demanda side of Rioja Alta. Olivier brings his Beaune training and French sensibility to this wine, which comes across as incredibly bright and perfumed, fresh and high toned but structured and serious as well. In a wine world where Barbaresco meets a fresher style of southern Rhone wine, you will find this wholly original, subtly spicy, intense, freshly fruited Rioja. It is beautiful now, though likely to improve for at least another 7-8 years. For the Rioja completist or simply anyone who is curious, I think you will find a lot to like in this beauty. Highly recommended.


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