Rioja Vinedos de Altura, Ramon Bilbao
Spain – 2016
Tasting Note: Garnacha and Tempranillo vines at high altitudes are blended, 50-50, to produce this cherry bazaar, with both red and black fruits piled high and a whiff of spice on the nose.
Food Matching: It's a perfect pairing with highly spiced and seasoned meats in the Oriental style (Thai). It also goes splendidly with more classic dishes such as beef and intense cured meats.
Vineyard: Grapes have had to overcome a growing cycle influenced by very unusual weather. Heavy spring rains and low temperatures delayed the growing season and resulted in uneven ripening. Fortunately the risk posed by the two-three week delay was offset by prevailing good weather in September and October allowing for selective, staggered grape picking, so plots were harvested as the grape reached appropriate ripeness, thereby optimising good fruit quality. Only the best clusters pass the sorting process on the selection table, which means that only the choicest fruit reaches the fermentation tanks.
Vinification: With the best grapes selected, the two grape varieties used are vinified separately. Malolactic fermentation occurs in new French oak barrels. In these same barrels, the wine is aged for 15 months on its lees.
Awards and Press News: Silver Medal, Decanter World Wine Awards 2019