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Ramón Bilbao will launch the second ever vintage of its Lalomba Rosado – a Garnacha and Virua Rosé from the producer’s “dream parcel” of vines high in the Yerga mountain range – at this year’s Wines from Spain Tasting.
Lalomba (meaning ‘hillside’) Rosado 2016 (RRP £20) is named after the 90-hectare plot where Bastida found grapes he thought would be perfect for a ‘clarete’ (Provençal) style of Rosé: 40-year-old Garnacha vines planted at 700 metres altitude on stony, clay-limestone soils, with the surrounding Mediterranean forest sheltering the fruit from prevailing winds.
“We’ve been producing this style of Rosé for a long time in Rioja even if we only exported our first – the Ramón Bilbao Rosado – two years ago,” comments Bastida. “We’ve also been purchasing fruit from this vineyard for around 15 years, so I was keen to see if the freshness and finesse I knew these particular Garnacha grapes to have would translate into a premium Rosado which reflects the terroir of the vineyard. And I really believe they do.”
The grapes underwent a quick, gentle pressing – rather than the saignée method popular in Provence for this style of wine – at low temperatures in order to bring out only the light colour and primary flavours of the grapes’ skins. The first must – a yield of approximately 40% – was then transferred to stainless steel vats where it settled for 24 hours at temperatures kept to 6-8oC. Fermentation was then for 20 days at temperatures below 15oC to further preserve the grapes’ delicate aromas, and the juice was left on the lees for around a month to bring added complexity to the palate and avoid oxidation.