Tobelos Bodegas y Vinedos
Bodegas Tobelos is a relatively new wine project in Rioja which was founded in late 1999 through the hard work and vision of current manager Ricardo Reinoso. Reinoso, who has many years’ experience in managing wineries in the Rioja Denominacion de Origen, brought together investors from around the world who shared his same ideals and wished to create a top quality Rioja wine. Tobelos was initially named “La Encina” (as it was when I visited it many years ago!).
Buy Tobelos wines online at Fareham Wine Cellar.
Tobelos has a magnificent, minimalistic, modern winery located at Brinas, the gateway to La Rioja. The winery overlooks the Ebro River and is located at the base of the Sierra Cantabria and Obarenes mountains – see the map below. The winery itself is partly set into a hillside and is the very first winery a visitor to Rioja DOC, approaching from the north-east, arrives at. Tobelos sources it grapes from a number of contracted growers with many small plots, totalling around 15 hectares, with an average vine age of 20 years old. Many of these plots are at the top limit of altitude for grape growing. Tobelos also own their own, older vineyards (some 3 hectares) surrounding the winery called Mocotero and Los Quinones. Illustrious neighbours in the locality include Roda, Muga and CUNE. The winery was completed in 2003 however the 2002 vintage was the first to be made at and released from the winery!
Winemaking at Tobelos
Although Tobelos has a very modern looking winery, their approach to wine-making is quite traditional. Starting in the vineyards, which are maintained by hand, grapes are hand-harvested into 25kg boxes prior to sorting at the winery and de-stemming. The wine is fermented partly in cone-shaped stainless steel vats, with automatic pumping over, and partly in wooden vats. Some of the wines are allowed to undergo malolactic fermentation. The winery is partly gravity fed (like our favourite local sparkling winery, Hambledon Vineyard) and the wine makes its way, under gravity, to epoxy-lined concrete storage vats on the bottom level of the winery. The barrel ageing hall is split over two levels where the wines quietly sit and age in a mixture of American, French and central European oak barrels. The barrels are rotated over a 4 to 5 period as new ones are bought in.
Grapes for the Tobelos Crianza are sourced from vineyards with an average age of 25 years old at the foot of the Sierra de Cantabria in the villages of Brinas, Haro and San Vicente de la Sonsierra. It is made from 100% Tempranillo with a 9 day fermentation, twice daily pumping over and a maceration period of 20 days on the skins. The wine is aged in a combination of 35% American, 60% French and 5% central European oak for 13 months. Production is around 200,000 bottles per vintage.
Tobelos Crianza is a combination of modern and classic Rioja. It has a good, clear dark cherry red colour. It has a powerful with aromas of red fruit, cherries, kirsch, cocoa, spices and a good hint of vanilla oakiness. The palate is well-balanced and shows mature character. Big and ripe, but velvety soft and smooth with good persistent length. Great with stews, rice dishes, game or poultry.
The grapes for this Tahon de Tobelos come from Tobelos’ own vineyards between the villages of Brinas and San Vincente which have an average age of 55 years. Grapes are hand-harvested and destemmed prior to a 9 day fermentation, twice daily pumping over but this time with a maceration period of 22 days on the skins. The wine also undergoes malolactic fermentation in new oak casks. The wine is aged, like the Crianza, in a combination of American, French and Hungarian oak for 13 months. Production 32,000 bottle per vintage.
Tahon de Tobelos It has a bright garnet / red colour. The complex nose shows aromas of black and red berry fruit, slight balsamic notes, confit fruit and mineral notes. The palate is full and complex with lots of ripe, red and black fruit character (plums, damson, blackberries), integrated oak, cocoa, vanilla and a long, spicy finish. Try with game, red meats and semi-cured cheeses.