2016 Ramn Bilbao, Lalomba Rosado, Rioja, Spain (£19.95, Great Western Wine, 01225-322810, GreatWesternWine.co.uk).
Ramn Bilbao winemaker Rodolfo Bastida says: "You have to take ros as seriously as you would a red or a white". As such, you know he is halfway to cracking the code. Bastida has taken note of the stellar wines emanating from Provence and he decided to make his very own version in Rioja. Lalomba uses 40-year-old garnacha vines planted at 700 metres altitude on stony, clay-limestone soils, with the surrounding Mediterranean forests sheltering his vines from prevailing winds.
He handpicks the grapes and sorts them rigorously prior to "bleeding" the pale colour from the skins. Forty per cent of the yield is transferred to concrete eggs, where it is left to settle, before undergoing a 20-day fermentation at temperatures below 15C. The top estates in Provence use old-vine grenache and cold fermentations, so, give or take the eggs, the grape variety and method is similar.
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And just how good is the wine? Why don't you road test the 2016 Ramn Bilbao Rosado (£9.95). This is Bastida's entry-level wine and it gives you an idea of the class of its big brother. Once you have picked your jaw up off the floor you will feel compelled to graduate to Lalomba. I would never have thought that Rioja could make ros this classy, but with old-vine garnacha, the right site and the perfect attitude, it has happened already.
Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition's Communicator of the Year (MatthewJukes.com).
Matthew Jukes has worked in the UK wine business for well over three decades and during this time has written 14 wine books.
Matthew regularly lectures, judges, speaks at wine conferences and runs masterclass tastings for both corporate and private clients all over the world. Matthew is also the creator of his ground-breaking initiative, the One Day Wine School, an indulgent day of tasting and learning first performed in 2006.
He has been the MoneyWeek wine correspondent since 2006 and has written a weekly column for the Daily Mail’s Weekend Magazine since 1999. His four highly-acclaimed, annual wine reports – the Burgundy En Primeur Report, the Bordeaux En Primeur Report, the Piemonte Report and the 100 Best Australian Wines – are published on his website, www.matthewjukes.com.
Matthew is one of the world’s leading experts on Australian wine and, with Brisbane-based wine writer Tyson Stelzer, runs an annual competition in Australia to find ‘The Great Australian Red’. He was made Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK at the 2012 Australia Day Foundation Gala dinner.
Matthew is a winner of the International Wine and Spirit Competition's Communicator of the Year Trophy. His thoughts, recommendations and tastings notes are followed very closely by the wine world at large.
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