A Tale Of Two Ramón Bilbao Rosados

Press Release

A Tale Of Two Ramón Bilbao Rosados

For the 2017 late-summer season… two ‘clarete’ releases from adventurous Rioja winery Ramón Bilbao: one which is already in its fourth edition, and another which is the second release from the producer’s ‘dream parcel’ of vineyards high in the Yerga mountains.

Pale pink - or ‘clarete’ - rosados from Spain are a relatively new addition to Rioja’s repertoire and Ramón Bilbao winemaker Rodolfo Bastida says he’s learned some rosé-winemaking lessons along the way. 

“You have to take these wines as seriously as you would a red or a white,” he comments, “and pay attention all the way through both viti- and vinification - from carefully selecting suitable grapes, to monitoring every minutia of oxygen and temperature during fermentation.  These wines deserve all the fruit, aromatics and complexity you can give them.”


The 2016 Harvest

The growth cycle was about 15 days later than usual.  After a very cold end to the winter, budburst began in the first week of April and then spring brought abundant showers.  The summer was very dry, with very high temperatures during the final stages of the vineyards’ evolution.  A year that gave Garnacha grapes with a moderate alcohol content, a high acidity and a high level of fruit concentration.


Ramón Bilbao Rosado 2016 - RRP £9.95, Great Western Wine

For this wine, Bastida turns to the Alta Najerilla which, in the foothills of the Sierra de la Demanda, has one of the coolest climates in Rioja.  Vineyards here are planted at 500 to 700 metres above sea level, with hot days and cool nights, rocky soils and clay streaks. 

The 85% Garnacha grapes (which are blended with 15% Viura - often planted with Garnacha - for some added complexity) were picked plot-by-plot according to ripeness levels during October, and were vinified using the saignée method with four to six hours’ maceration to give colour and fruit intensity to the final wine.  Only the first-run juice - around 40% of the yield - was used, and fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks at 14oC.


Ramón Bilbao Lalomba Rosado 2016 - RRP £19.95, Great Western Wine

Meaning ‘hillside’, Lalomba Rosado is named after the 90-hectare plot where Bastida found grapes he thought would be perfect for a Provencal style of Rosé: 40-year-old Garnacha vines planted at 700 metres altitude on stony, clay-limestone soils, with the surrounding Mediterranean forest sheltering the fruit from prevailing winds.

After manual harvesting, the grapes were taken in 15-kilo refrigerated crates to the winery where they remained in cool conditions for a further 24 hours.  After passing through the optical sorting table (introduced at the winery in 2015), the best selection of the loose, whole and healthy berries was sent to the press where maceration in an inert atmosphere began.  After six hours, and testing of several samples, Bastida decided to rack and the first must was obtained by the traditional bleeding method.

The 40% yield was then transferred to concrete eggs where it was left to settle for 24 hours, before then undergoing a 20-day fermentation at temperatures below 15oC: further rackings to help additional maceration on the fine lees took place for around four weeks.


Ramón Bilbao 

Established in Haro in the heart of Rioja Alta in 1924, family-owned Ramón Bilbao is currently both the number one Rioja brand in the Spanish On-Trade (7.8% market share) and one of the fastest growing Rioja brands in the Off-Trade (+29%) in its competitive set [Nielsen data].  Rodolfo Bastida sources grapes from 240 hectares of owned vineyards, with access to a further 700 hectares via long-term grower contracts.  Bastida believes that the grapes he selects should be allowed to speak for themselves in his wines, and not be hidden by over-ageing and over-oaking. 

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Date of issue:  3 June 2017

Further information:  emma wellings pr  020 8996 5168  alison@ew-pr.co.uk