Roll Into Autumn With Red & Rosé From Rioja’s Ramón Bilbao

Press Release

Roll Into Autumn With Red & Rosé From Rioja’s Ramón Bilbao

What better way to ease into the Autumn timetable than with two examples of Ramón Bilbao’s thoroughly modern attitude to winemaking in Rioja.  One, a blend of Tempranillo grapes from the villages around the Bodega’s hometown of Haro, and the second a ‘clarete’ rosé which has found its way to our very own supermarket shelves.



El Viaje de Ramón Garnacha 2017, by Ramón Bilbao

RRP £9.99, Co-op - On-shelf from mid-October 2018

For Rioja born-and-bred winemaker Rodolfo Bastida, the vini- and viticulture that goes into making pale, pink rosés is just as technical as it is for reds and whites.  “You have to really know where to source your grapes from, acknowledge vintage variations and make sure you give these wines all the fruit, aromatics and complexity that you can,” he says.

2017 was a hot vintage in Rioja, with picking beginning around 12 days earlier than usual.  For the 100% Garnacha grapes, Rodolfo and his team turned to vineyards at 550 to 700 metres above sea level in the Alta Najerilla.  After picking plot-by-plot, the grapes were crushed at very low temperatures (achieved with dry ice) and macerated for at least four hours to extract as much tannin and colour intensity as possible from the berries.  The must was then drained using the saignée method, and only the first run juice went into alcoholic fermentation which took place in stainless steel tanks at 14oC.


Ramón Bilbao Edición Limitada 2015

RRP £14.50, greatwesternwine.co.uk - new vintage available from mid-October 2018

Ever since his first vintage for Ramón Bilbao in 1999, Rodolfo has pursued the idea of high altitude vineyards giving Tempranillo grapes with more finesse and complexity than, he believes, are found in the lower lying areas of the region.  Every year he works with growers in specific villages on the mountain slopes of the Rioja Alta - from Haro to Villalba, Abalos to Cuzcurrita - to select small plots which are fermented separately and then blended to make his Edición Limitada.

“The villages I choose can be right next to each other and, on paper, seem to share similar characteristics - but actually they produce very different wines,” he says.  “For Edición Limitada, I look for grapes that will give pure, fresh tasting Tempranillo - even with a hint of umami character.  When you get to know these villages, you can spot which grapes these will be while they’re still in the vineyard.”

For this just-released 2015 vintage, the 100% Tempranillo grapes were hand-harvested and after a short maceration underwent fermentation in French oak at 26oC.  After a seven-day post-fermentation maceration, the wine was aged in French oak - favoured by Rodolfo to allow the grapes’ fresh fruit flavours to shine through - for 14 months.


Editor’s Note

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 (8.7% 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 180 hectares of owned vineyards, with access to a further 900 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.  The producer has been owned by Zamora Company, one of the largest family beverage companies in Spain, since 1999 and is distributed by Enotria&Coe in the UK.


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Date of issue:                21 September 2018

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