The wines of Bodegas Ontañón, Rioja
Part 5 of a series based on a visit to this famous Spanish wine region


Ontañón is a family-owned winery based in Quel, a village in the Rioja Baja. They have 250 hectares of vineyards in the region, and a winery near the vineyards. They also have a separate winery near Logroño that is just used as a barrel ageing hall, and this was built in 1998. It is also used as a visitor centre, and as well as being filled with barrels, it is also full of art. 

The village of Quel is at 484 metres altitude, and the highest vineyard, the 90 hectare La Montesa, is at 600–700 metres altitude. This helps offset the relatively high temperatures of the Rioja Baja, the most southerly part of the Rioja region.

Raquel Pérez Cuevas

Until the 1980s the grapes were sold, as is common in this region where most growers sell to large companies who make the wines. But Gabriel Pérez Cuevas broke with tradition and started making his own wines and selling them. At this time, Gabriel was friendly with a local artist called Miguel Angel Sáenz, and it is his paintings and sculptures that decorate the Logroño winery. It is one of the  most visited in all Rioja, along with Lopez de Heredia and Dinastia Vivanco, with 15 000 visitors a year. €6 gets you a tour, a tasting of the reservas and sweet wine, plus local cheese and bread and oil.  

We visited the Logroño site with Raquel Pérez Cuevas, Gabriel’s daughter and the fifth generation of the family to be in the wine business.


Ontañón Vetiver Crianza Blanco 2007 Rioja, Spain
100% Viura, 12.5% alcohol. Rich, intense and toasty with peach and pear fruit. Bold with nice acidity and lots of flavour. Fresh and quite spicy with a mineral edge; a modern, full-flavoured style. 89/100

Ontañón Crianza 2006 Rioja, Spain
90% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha. Dark coloured. Aromatic nose shows sweet dark fruits and a herbal, garrigue-like character. The palate has fresh berry and cherry fruit with a subtly minty, herbal character. Nicely savoury with some peppery notes. 90/100

Ontañón Reserva 2004 Rioja, Spain
95% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano, 24 months in American and French oak. Nicely fresh and forward with cherry and berry fruit underpinned by grainy, mineral tannic structure. Restrained oak. Nice fruit-forward style with some savoury characters. Stylish. 91/100

Ontañón Mitología 2001 Rioja, Spain
Apparently, the main market for this wine is Russia. Complex aromatic nose showing sweet berry fruit, summer pudding, spices and herbs. The palate shows fresh, vibrant, youthful dark cherry and berry fruits with fine spicy structure. Really nice acidity. Very fresh and young tasting for a 2001, and with potential for further development. 92/100

Ontañón Riberas de Marco Fabio Moscatel Semi Dulce 2009 Vino de la Tierra Valles de Sadacia, Rioja, Spain
12.5% alcohol. Very lively, full aromatic nose with notes of herbs, lychee, sweet grapes and a hint of barley sugar. The palate is sweet and rich with a minty edge to the bold, pure, grapey fruit. Really attractive wine. 89/100

Part 1, Finca Allende
Part 2, La Rioja Alta
Part 3, Valdemar
Part 4, Bodegas Riojanas
Part 5, Remirez de Ganuza
Part 6, Ontañón

Wines tasted 10/10  
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