Bryan MacRobert hails from South Africa, where he was assistant winemaker to renowned Swartland producer Eben Sadie before making his own exquisite range of wines. He and his Spanish wife Clara, however, now live in Logroño, where he made his first vintage of Laventura in 2013. One of a new breed of winemakers putting more emphasis on terroir and fresher, elegant wines in a region where the grand bodega and barrels still rule, Bryan's wines are already causing quite a stir and are some of the most thrilling bottles to come out of this traditional region in many a year.
Lanave is a blend of old bush-vine Garnacha, Tempranillo and Mazuelo grown on alluvial, rocky sandstone soils across the three regions of Rioja: Alavesa, Alta and Oriental. The name is something of a pun, being both Spanish for a ship as well as a colloquial term for a winery. And the wine is truly something very different for Rioja, harking back to yesteryear. Bright, fresh, juicily expressive red that's far removed from the overtly oaked examples we in this country have come to expect of Rioja. The tannins are really soft, the mouthfeel effortlessly smooth. Think of it like Rioja meets top-class Cru Beaujolais.