For five generations, the Rivero family has pioneered the production of quality wines in key Spanish wine regions. The adventure started in Rioja and expanded to the Basque Country, Galicia and Catalonia, before arriving at Utiel-Requena. Since finding its home in the land of Bobal, the wines of Faustino Rivero Ulecia have shown the variety’s versatility, character and expressiveness – from crisp rosés, to both easy-drinking and age-worthy reds, the company has been producing benchmark examples of the regional flagship grape since the 1980s.
Determination and grit
The origins of Faustino Rivero Ulecia date back to 1899, when Olegario Riverio opened his small winery in the heart of the town of Arnedo, Rioja. His production was sold locally in wineskins and wine boots. Second generation Agapito Rivero would indeed become a boot maker, meeting the demand not only for his family’s business but also for other winemakers. In addition to producing wineskins and boots, these craftsmen also acted as brokers between growers and producers, playing a key role in the local economic ecosystem.
This combined expertise, covering business acumen, personal relationships, and craftsmanship, was passed on to third generation Amador and Faustino Rivero who, in the 1940s, anticipated great opportunities for growth in the Spanish wine sector. They therefore decided to invest their time and knowledge exclusively in wine production and trade. They sourced the best grapes from several villages in Rioja Oriental, producing wine which they then sold in local markets. In the following decade, Amador and Faustino expanded the company’s trade to other regions – Basque Country, Catalonia and Galicia – selling their production in chestnut barrels.
This period of commercial growth allowed the family to improve winemaking standards and technical expertise – in the 1960s they bought their first bottling line to release their first bottled wines under the brand ‘Chitón’.
It was not until the late 1970s that the first wines bottled under Faustino Rivero Ulecia were released, a milestone that coincided with pivotal changes implemented by the fourth generation, Agapito and Jesús Rivero. Their viticultural and oenological training allowed them to support the consolidation of the family’s company, seen in the construction of a new, state-of-the-art winery in the outskirts of Arnedo. This served as the springboard for a pioneering commercial effort in export markets, with the company gaining market leadership in countries such as Denmark and Sweden.
This in turn gave the family the motivation and confidence to expand to other interesting winemaking regions in Spain, namely Navarra and Utiel-Requena. In Utiel, Faustino Rivero Ulecia recognised the unique potential of the Mediterranean, altitude terroir and of the flagship local variety to produce wines of great expressiveness and character. 1988 marked the release of the company’s first DO Utiel-Requena bottling; almost four decades later, some of the expressions of Bobal produced by Faustino Rivero Ulecia have true status as classics. But the company’s foremost mission remains to make quality wines available to consumers around the world, for everyday drinking pleasure.
What differentiates and defines Faustino Rivero Ulecia is its lineage of passion, hard work and determination, running from its humble beginnings to the great wines produced and sold worldwide today.
Three Faustino Rivero Ulecia wines to know:
Tasted and reviewed by the Decanter team
Audiencia Rosado, 2022
Alc 12.5%; 100% Bobal
Lovely and expressive nose with bright aromas of pomegranate, cranberry, pink grapefruit and strawberry sorbet. A seam of dried Mediterranean herbs gives it a savoury dimension. The palate echoes the aromas and is lifted by lively acidity and fleshy texture. Good persistence.
Marqués de Colbert, 2017
Alc 13%; 60% Bobal, 40% Tempranillo
A shy, broody nose of mushroom, dark cherry, vanilla and black pepper. The elegant palate shows very good wood integration, never obscuring the subtle flavours of plum, cherry and prune. Showing good development while retaining very bright, clear fruit. Firm tannins with a characterful, refreshing grip.
Faustino Ribeiro Reserva, 2016
Alc 13%; 60% Bobal, 40% Tempranillo
Great vibrancy of crunchy (cranberry, red cherry, red plum). The oak tannins are at the forefront but do not obscure the enduring energy of the fruit. Savoury touches of liquorice, blueberry leaf and tomato leaf add nuance and complexity. Long finish.