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“The harvest is the same as previous ones: just different to the others.”
Comparing or drawing relationships between vintages is very difficult to do as the new vintage will always have differences as well as similarities to the previous ones.
Therefore saying that the 2014 harvest is the same as previous ones, just different can sound a bit strange. This is, however, my 25th harvest and I can assure you that this statement is totally true”
Rodolfo Bastida- chief winemaker-
The year has had two very different and differentiated parts. Winter and spring were very beneficial for the vineyard, with rains and snowfalls, windy days in spring and good general conditions until July. However mention should be made of slightly bad weather during fruit-set. This moment is crucial to the vintage and it is very important that the weather is good for the correct fruit set to occur. Good fruit set will produce a larger number of grapes per bunch, creating denser bunches and smaller grapes… this is very good. A deficient fruit-set provokes more space between each berry and larger grapes. This can produce more diluted and less complex wines. The latter has been the general scenario within the region in 2014.
The grapes were arriving with more weight than other years, but healthy and ripe.
Once again the alcohol will be lower than in previous years, but the musts will have good acidity that will make wine to age in the bottle and for cellaring. The malic acid is lower than other years, this will make the next process, malolactic fermentation, shorter and less aggressive thus producing wines which are aromatic, fresh, and very fruit driven.
We have already had the chance to taste wine from 2014 harvest and the tasting notes are as follows: notes of ripe fruits, red berries, blackberry, raspberry and redcurrant. Very clean and neat on the nose, still hard, but on the palate they are very powerful and tasty.
At Ramón Bilbao the harvest started on the 6th of October with Villalba, Labastida and San Asensio and finish the 19 th of October. The vineyards have demanded full dedication. It has been a very intense time, more than other years, with grape selection and the refusal of all green bunches, and removing leaves but we truly believe it is going to be worth it.
At The year has been mostly dry, however some unexpected storms provided water relief for the vines. Despite this it was also necessary to irrigate during the summer in almost every plot. The year was healthier than the previous one, with no botrytis or odium present: the exact opposite of the 2013 harvest. The wineries production will be 20% less than 2013.
The harvest processes have been improved drastically meaning that there are very few
hectares left unpicked, usually where there are still bush vines. In most of these cases they are viura or palomino grapes, varieties which are very rare in the area where verdejo is the king. Excess heat during the first days of September has given rise to leathery grapes with very dense pulps, producing musts which are difficult to rack.
Low night temperatures have helped to counter these difficulties and musts are finally
behaving well. They are of medium level alcohol when compared to the historic average
percentage from the area. This is something that we prefer at Ramón Bilbao. This correlates
to about 12,5 and 12,7 alcohol percentage.
The taste profile of the latest harvest with 13,5 or even more alcohol percentage creates
wines that are too “earthy” and less tasty in terms of nuances on the nose and palate. Of
course, for the selection of Ramon Bilbao Rueda, we would like to be between 12, 5 and 13
alcohol percentage. This allows us to have higher acidity and obtain more vibrant wines. This
characteristic differentiates Verdejo from other varieties. Notes of anise, ray grass, birch
bark, almond white flowers and orange blossom; these complexities of Verdejo mean it is one of the better grape varieties in Spain. It´s too soon to talk about the wines, but they look very good: deeper with a more lingering finish than in 2013.