Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Winery, a Foundation and a Museum: Dinastía Vivanco – Tasting, Tapas and a Tour with Santiago and Rafael Vivanco, Rioja, Spain

Pictures:  Christian G.E. Schiller with Santiago and Rafael Vivanco at Bodegas Dinastía Vivanco in Briones, La Rioja, Spain.

I participated in the 2013 Digital Wine Communications Conference (DWCC) in La Rioja in 2013. Formerly called European Wine Bloggers Conference (EWBC), it was the sixth such annual event. Previous conferences took place in Spain, Portugal, Austria, Italy and Turkey. In fact, the first conference took place in La Rioja … at Dinastía Vivanco. So, it did not come as a surprise, when the participants of the 2013 DWCC got an invitation for a get-together at Dinastía Vivanco on the day before the 2013 Digital Wine Communications Conference.

The 2013 Digital Wine Communications Conference (DWCC) in Logroño, Rioja, Spain  
Rioja, Portugal, Austria, Italy, Turkey …. Rioja – EWBC 2013 Back in Spain
Dinastía Vivanco

Bodegas Dinastía Vivanco is a winery in Briones, La Rioja, established by the Vivanco family. It also includes the Museum of the Culture of Wine and the Dinastía Vivanco Foundation. This triumvirate was built by Pedro Vivanco, one of Spain’s first enologists and the third generation of Vivancos in the wine business. It is now run by Pedro Vivanco’s sons, Santiago and Rafael Vivanco.

Dinastía Vivanco Foundation

The Dinastía Vivanco Foundation is a foundation set up with the objective of researching and sharing the culture of wine around the world. One of the foundation’s most recent acquisitions, for example, is a book in Latin, which was printed in 1491 in Venice; the book refers to wine as beneficial to the body if consumed in moderation.

Dinastía Vivanco Museum

The Dinastía Vivanco Museum is a fascinating wine museum, showcasing the Vivanco family's impressive personal collection. It is one of the best in the world, if not the best. Pedro Vivanco started the collection and his sons are continuing it. Part of it is Baccus Garden, where the Vivanco family has gathered together over 200 varieties of grapes to form one of the most important private ampelographic collections in the world.

Bodegas Dinastía Vivanco

The focal point of course is the Bodegas Dinastía Vivanco. It is in in Briones, in the foothills of the Cantabrian mountain range and on the banks of the River Ebro. The majority of the 300 hectares of vineyards that the Vivanco family own are in, or around, the municipalities of Briones and Haro in Rioja Alta.

Pictures: The Baccus Garden

The winery - surrounded by vineyards - is impressive, boasting an underground, naturally cooled aging cellar that houses 3500 barrels. The majority of the vineyards are planted with Tempranillo, the main grape of Rioja. Other red grapes include Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano. The majority of the white grapes that are grown are Viura and Malvasia.

Family History

The origins of the winemaking tradition of the Vivanco family date back to 1915, to the village of Alberite, La Rioja, where Pedro Vivanco started to make wine for family use from his vineyards. In 1940 he bought a small bodega in Alberite.

Pedro Vivanco’s son, Santiago, started another bodega in the heart of the old quarter of Logroño, where they bottled and sold wine produced in the village. In 1946, Pedro Vivanco was born. He is the pivotal figure in the transformation of the Vivanco family business to what it is today.

As a teenager in the early 1960s, Pedro Vivanco started delivering his family's wine by bicycle, then rose to become a major but anonymous producer for well-known Rioja brands. He received his studies at the Requena School of Enology. In 1985, he bought land in Briones. It was there, in 1990, that he started his most ambitious project to date: Bodegas Dinastía Vivanco, with the Dinastía Vivanco Museum.

Pedro Vivanco has two children: Santiago and Rafael. They represent the fourth generation of this winemaking family. Santiago Vivanco was born in Logroño in 1973. He has a Degree in Law and a Master’s in Business Management. Santiago manages the Dinastía Vivanco Foundation and the Dinastía Vivanco Museum. Rafael Vivanco was born in Logroño in 1975. An agronomy engineer and with a Master’s degree in business studies, he later also graduated from the Enology Faculty in Bordeaux. Rafael heads the viticulture and winemaking.

Tasting Tapas

The afternoon started with a fabulous Tapas tasting reception. We were introduced to an amazing selection of tapas.

Pictures: Tasting Tapas prepared by Chef Isidro Arribas

Smoked Scallop Slices with Malvasia Jelly

Pink/Rose Octopus

Foie marinated in the Tannins of 4 Varietals and Wine Caviar

The Potato and La Rioja

Peppers Stuffed with Cod and Mushrooms

Courgette Stuffed with Iberian Pork Shoulder

Puff pastry horn filled with Black Pudding and Cameros Cheese

Caramelised Bread Pudding and Cameros Cheese

Wines: Vivanco Viura-Malvasia-Tempranillo blanco 2012 and Dinastia Vivanco Crianza 2009

Baccus Garden Tour

We then split into 2 groups. My group started with a Baccus Garden tour.

Pictures: With Rafael Vivanco in the Bacchus Garden

Bodegas Dinastia Vivanco

We then toured the amazing winery. “The painstaking choice of grapes from each vineyard, controlling the individual fermentation and long maceration, applying the most up-to-date winemaking technology, means having the knowledge of an art passed down through generations and which is reflected in a special love of the wine” said Rafael Vivanco on the tour.

Pictures: Bodegas Dinastía Vivanco

Museum Tour and Wine Tasting

Finally, we toured the Museum. In each of the sections, Santiago Vivanco had put a table, were we could taste wines. We had the opportunity to go through the whole Dinastía Vivanco portfolio, with the 3 groups, Vivanco, Dinastía Vivanco and Colección Vivanco


Vivanco Viura-Malvasia-Tempranillo blanco 2012

60% Viura, 20% Malvasia and 20% Tempranillo blanco. Tempranillo blanco is a minority white grape variety from a natural mutation of the red Tempranillo tinto. Bodegas Dinastía Vivanco is the pioneer in using this grape.

A clear and bright wine with a pale lemon color with slight green hints indicating its youthfulness. Intense and elegant aromas of green apple, citrus fruits, pineapple and some floral hints that round out the varietal expression. The palate has the same bright fruit flavors as the nose, balanced with the acidity resulting in a very pleasant, fresh finish.

Vivanco Tempranillo-Garnacha rosé 2012

80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha

This wine is clear and bright, with a lively strawberry pink with hints of redcurrant. On the nose this offers strawberry, raspberry and cherry fruit notes, rose petals and a very slight hint of liquorice. On the palate this wine is fresh and rewarding, with a balance of fruit, acidity, alcohol and a generous, fruity finish.

Dinastía Vivanco

Dinastía Vivanco Crianza 2009

100% Tempranillo

Intense cherry red, with a narrow bright violet rim, this wine has lots of mature red fruit aromas of cherry and strawberry with red fruits and a well-integrated, light "toastiness" and medium body. Long and elegant finish.

Dinastía Vivanco Reserva 2007

90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano

Dark cherry red color with touches of brick red reminding us of its time spent ageing in barrel. Aromas of mature black and red fruit, as well as sweet creamy, balsamic and toffee notes. Good balance between the ageing nuances lent by extended maturation, and the ubiquitous fruit aromas. Good intensity and balance, soft, round tannins, and a long finish with hints of toast and liquorice.

Colección Vivanco

We were offered 6 wines from Colección Vivanco:

Parcelas de Maturana Tinta 2010

Parcelas de Garnacha 2010

Deep red cherry color, with a bright violet rim. Good varietal aromas of raspberry and other red fruit as well as toasted, jammy, minty and herbal notes. There is good acidity which gives it great freshness despite the depth of fruit favors, and a long finish.

Parcelas de Graciano 2008

Deep, almost opaque violet-purple color, with a bright garnet rim that clings to the glass. Intense and complex aromas of mulberry and other black fruits, with a sweet depth of cocoa and chocolate from the wood and some herbal, minty notes as well as violet, floral aromas. Well balanced in the mouth with lots of fruit, soft tannins and a long, persistent finish.

Parcelas de Mazuelo 2010

4 Varietales: Tempranillo, Graciano, Garnacha, Mazuelo 2010

Complex aromas of ripe red and black fruit, foral notes, graphite, toffee, chocolate, and a well-integrated oak infuence. The taste is fresh, intense and expressive, with soft tannins and a long finish with lots of smooth, ripe fruit.

Dolce de Inview 4 Varietales: Tempranillo, Graciano, Garnacha, Mazuelo 2011

schiller-wine: Related Posting (DWCC)

The 2013 Digital Wine Communications Conference (DWCC) in Logroño, Rioja

Rioja, Portugal, Austria, Italy, Turkey …. Rioja – EWBC 2013 Back in Spain

Visiting a Stunning Winery: Bodegas Baigorri in Rioja, Spain

schiller-wine: Related Posting (Spain)

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The Wines of Bodegas Epifanio Rivera in Spain

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