Bryan MacRobert is a young South African wine producer who, after falling in love with Campo Viejo’s winemaker Clara Canals, settled down in Rioja to produce his own wines in the area. Despite moving to Europe, he still manages his small project in his home country.
His work for Eben Sadie, a leading wine producer in Swartland in South Africa and until recently co-owner of Priorat’s Terroir al Limit, brought Bryan to Spain and encouraged the habit of harvesting in both hemispheres.
He launched his own Rioja wine in the 2013 vintage with grapes bought from different winegrowers. The wines were made in rented facilities in Rioja Baja but a small winery is under construction now in Logroño. Bryan has bought some old vineyards planted in 1934: a small plot in Villabuena (Rioja Alavesa) and a larger east-facing vineyard with 2Ha of land over a ravine halfway between the villages of Laguardia and Elvillar. He plans to launch a Burgundy-inspired range with entry-level and single-vineyard wines. Bryan is happily surprised with the amount of old vines that can still be found in Rioja and the cellaring potential of its wines.
His wines are called Laventura (literally “The Adventure”) and his motto is the Spanish proverb “Quien no se aventura no ha ventura” (“nothing ventured, nothing gained”). So far two wines have been released: a white Viura (around €14 in Spain, 3.000 bottles) which has been fermented and aged for a year in 600-litre barrels and a juicy Tempranillo red (around €15, 5,000 bottles). Both wines have a limited distribution, but they can be found at La Tavina in Logroño or through distributor Cuvée 3000.
Bryan is a member of Rioja’n’Roll, a grouping of several young producers in favour of wines that reflect the personality of their vineyards and terroirs.