Founded in 2006 and part of the Avante Selecta group, the winery is located in Ábalos (La Rioja) within the gorgeous Sonsierra landscape where the Sierra Cantabria mountain range protects the vineyards from the cool northern winds.
Bodegas Óbalo owns two hectares of vineyards and manages an extra 40 grown as high as 700 metres above sea level. Vines range between 40 and 90 years old and lay on south-facing terraces in the foothills of Sierra Cantabria or in the valley below. They are all in Rioja Alavesa, an area with distinctive clay-limestone soils. Tempranillo is the only grape used by the winery.
Production reaches 200,000 bottles distributed in four labels. Óbalo (60,000 bottles, about €7) is a young red with a short time in barrel made from the youngest vines; cold maceration is normally used to preserve fruit and aromas. The other two reds use riper grapes from older vineyards with different plots fermenting separately; malolatic fermentation takes place in French oak barrels. Óbalo Crianza (60,000 bottles, about €11) ages for 12 months while Óbalo Reserva (15,000 bottles, around €19) comes from the oldest vineyards and ages between 12 and 18 months. Finally, Altino (€19) is intended to be drunk in the mid-term. It is also sourced from old vineyards ranging between 65 and 80 years old and fermentation is done in oak vats. Generally speaking the style is definitely modern and fruit-driven producing structured wines that fill the palate.
The Avante Selecta group owns other wine ventures in Rías Baixas (Viña Nora), Ribera del Duero (Dominio de Atauta), Rueda (Bodegas Naia) and Tierra de Zamora (Viñas del Cénit), as well as in Monterrei (Galicia), Castilla La Mancha and Jerez. Avante Selecta is the food and wine division of Inveravante, a holding owned by Galician entrepreneur Manuel Jové with investments in real estate, energy and financial affairs.