Deep ruby color; cherry, plum, tobacco on the nose; dark cherry, plum, blackberry, black olive, brown sugar, oak on the palate.
Dry; supple tannins with easy-going acidity (3.52 pH). Some earthy rusticity, not unusual with 100% tempranillo in Rioja. Full body. Aged for 14 months in 80% French and 20% American oak. The barrel program delivers significant oak, especially late in the mid-palate and finish. The 14.5% ABV somewhat mutes that, and there is plenty going on here after the initial, straightforward attack.
Some sippers will clearly enjoy the interplay of ripe fruit, oak, and alcohol. Others may be confused about where the winemaker wanted this to go. In either event, this will do well paired with rich, red meat dishes with manifoldness of flavors and spices.
Ramōn Bilbao started his wine adventure in 1924 because he saw it as an opportunity to travel the world. The family continued the tradition until the founder’s grandson, Ramōn Bilbao Pozo, died without leaving an heir in 1966. The winery became a corporation in 1971, and in 1999 was obtained by the family firm of Diego Zamora S.A., which operates it today. A visit to their website is a delight, including several engaging and informative videos. The interesting story is available on the website, with links below.
Rodolfo Bastida is the technical director and general manager of Bodegas Ramōn Bilbao. In addition to a technical agricultural engineering degree, he has a master’s in viticulture and enology and a master’s in business management. Sara Bañuelos is the technical director. She has a bachelor’s degree in enology at the University of La Rioja. Rosana Lisa is the director of innovation and deputy technical director. She has a bachelor’s degree in enology. Qualified people making quality wine. Hard to get better than that.
Ramōn Bilbao Limited Edition Rioja 2016 is a dense, multi-layered expression of 100% tempranillo from Rioja. Rustic elements interplay with dark, ripe fruits, supple tannins, and alcohol. Not a dark fruit pour for those intimidated by assertive, chunky reds, but will be savored by those who embrace such libations. Pair with beef; lamb; veal; Mexican food dishes; spicy Asian cuisine; poultry; soft cheeses. $19-25