When winemakers from all over the world come to town, I get very excited. It’s always a pleasure to taste their wines, hear their stories, and connect with them over a meal. I recently had the pleasure of meeting Rodolfo Bastida, winemaker of Bodegas Ramón Bilbao. Rodolfo is charming and very passionate about the wines of Rías Baixas and Rioja. Spanish wines are very versatile and food friendly. Spain happens to be one of my favorite wine making countries, and I have visited Ribera Del Duero once, but Rioja, as well as many other Spanish wine regions are on my bucket list to visit!
Ramon Bilbao Winery has received many awards, including: Winners of the Best Spanish Winery prize in 2014 awarded by IWSC as well as 2011 Best Tempranillo in the World, and in 2008 award for the Best Spanish Red Wine!
I had the opportunity to sit down one on one with Winemaker, Rodolfo Bastida where I tasted the 2016 Albarino from Rias Baixas. This wine is vibrant with bright and playful acidity that is extremely fun and refreshing. Upon first sip, my eyes lit up! I do tend to enjoy Albarino, but the generous citrus aromas as well as tropical fruit notes in this wine really wowed my palate; it was a great wine to begin a tasting with.
Up next, the 2016 Rosado from Rioja. Made from 100% Garnacha, this wine is intense with notes of strawberry, white flowers, and pomegranate. This is the perfect summer sipping rose, if you’re stocking up and pairs beautifully with Scallops, grilled vegetables, and even summer vegetable risotto. This pretty rose sees about 4-6 hours of skin contact, so it’s lighter in color, but full of aromatic notes and flavor.
After a refreshing start with some crisp wines, it was time to move into the deep and seductive reds. I find Tempranillo to be very alluring, and the 2010 Grand Reserva was quite a wine! The 2010 is deep red with purple hues and smooth tannins. Bold notes of blackberry, baking spice, and plum catch your attention, while the cooked fruit and oak notes make for a very long, and wonderful finish.
One of the last wines in the tasting was the 2011 Mirto, from Rioja, which is 100% Tempranillo from a single vineyard in Rioja. This wine is herbal with red berry notes and spice. The Mirto is very special and is a creation from 70 year old tempranillo vines, in the outer limits of Haro. This wine is modern in style with a bold personality and is bottled without any fining or filtering. The clusters for this wine are sorted on the table and and fermented in small French oak casks for color and aromas. The wine is then aged 24 months in new French oak casks and the final result is a bright and intense purple wine. The aromas are powerful with notes of cassis, berries, tobacco, and cocoa. This wine is a great reflection of the 2011 vintage and is drinkable now, but also absolutely age worthy.
Rodolfo’s biggest passion is the vineyard and the wine. His wines are truly expressive of his caring and passionate nature and whether you’re a crisp white lover, rosé all day person, or a bold red wine fan, Bodegas Ramón Bilbao has a wine for you!