Tasting Tempranillo with Ramon Bilbao, 2010 Releases

Tasting Tempranillo with Ramon Bilbao, 2010 Releases

Tempranillo has always been a tricky grape for me, lacking a distinct archetypal style like you get with, say, pinot noir, cabernet, or even (to a lesser extent) zinfandel. Recently I attended a tasting from Spanish winery Ramon Bilbao, which focuses on tempranillo and a few Spanish whites to whet your palate with. Winemaker Rodolfo Bastida guided us through the company’s lineup, from sub-$10 everyday wines to its pricy reserve offerings… and proved that tempranillo really does come in all shapes and sizes.

Comments on the bodega’s lineup follow:

2008 Volteo Viura-Sauvignon Blanc-Viognier / $10 / B- / very herbal, with strong vegetal notes

2007 Volteo Tempranillo / $10 / B / earthy, with dark cocoa notes; simple and young

2005 Ramon Bilbao Crianza Rioja / $13/ B / jammy with a bittersweet edge, softened by 14 months in cask

2006 Ramon Bilbao Tempranillo Limited Edition Rioja / $17 / B+ / also 14 months in cask, but with a harder edge; big plum with an oak finish; better balance

2006 Cruz de Alba Crianza Ribera del Duero / $25 / A- / spicy, like a young Beaujolais; first bottle was corked; great value wine

2005 Ramon Bilbao Mirto Rioja / $70 / A- / well aged (24 months), silky, with dark currant and balance wood; opened up nicely over time – my favorite wine of the day

2008 Mar de Frades Albarino Rias Baixas Val do Saines / $25 / B / crisp but also big, with melon and tropical notes; expensive for the quality

2004 Ramon Bilbao Reserva Rioja / $20 / C- / funky, tasted off


Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.

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