Tobelos is a relatively new venture, founded by Rioja veteran Ricardo Reinoso in the late 1990s. He acquired a prime vineyard site at Brinas in the Sonsierra district, and set about building a modern, gravity-fed winery surrounded by his 3 hectares of vines.
The vines, some belonging to Tobelos and some from 15 hectares owned by contracted growers, are a minimum of 20 years old and all work carried out on them is done by hand, partly due to the steep slopes overlooking the Ebro, but mostly because of the care and attention that can be applied. Harvesting is, needless to say, done by hand into small 20 kilo boxes so that grapes arrive speedily and uncrushed for sorting at the winery. After sorting the grapes are destemmed and gently crushed.
The must is fed into conical, temperature-controlled stainless-steel tanks or wooden vats and once the fermentation, complete with automatic pumping over, is done the wine is gravity fed into epoxy-lined concrete tanks on the lowest level of the terraced winery. Here it spends some time on the skins for flavour development. It is then put into oak barrels, over 800 of them sourced from France, America and central Europe, where they undergo malolactic fermentation. They then reside in wood for at least a year, though it may be more for top cuvées.
The flagship Tahón de Tobelos Reserva, a 100% tempranillo made with 50-year-old vines from their own vineyards, spends 14 months in barrel before maturing further in bottle.
Tobelos make a contemporary style of Rioja which rests its quality on deep colour, full body and generous fruit flavours.