Although this Rioja producer has been making white wines in Rueda since the 2010 vintage under the Monte Blanco brand, it wasn’t until the 2016 vintage that they built their own premises. That year also witnessed a change of names: as Spanish laws now allow producers to use the same brand in different appellations, the Monte Blanco brand was replaced by Ramón Bilbao.
The new winery, located in Las Amedias estate in the village of Rueda, has a production capacity of 1.5m litres and is surrounded by 60Ha of vines.
Except for a Verdejo plot dating from 1999, vines were planted in 2014 following a comprehensive study of over 75 soil pits. The chosen white grape varieties include indigenous Verdejo, planted on gravelly soils, and French Sauvignon Blanc, a grape that has adapted well to the region and grows on sandy clay soils. The estate lies at 770m of altitude above sea level benefiting from winds that contribute to obtain healthy grapes. Ramón Bilbao also sources grapes from an additional 103Ha in the appellation.
Gravity-led winemaking facilities include a hopper above the vats and macerating tanks to extract aromas at cold temperatures before fermentation. They have the usual stainless steel tanks but the novelty is the presence of 4,500-litre vats, 4,100-litre tapered cement vats and oak barrels from different origins.
For now, these new vessels are used in the production of Ramón Bilbao Sauvignon Blanc (€8.90 in Spain, 200,000 bottles) given than 30% of the wine is aged in wood. Meanwhile, Ramón Bilbao Verdejo (around €6, 750,000 bottles) is entirely fermented in stainless steel tanks. The premium Edición Limitada (€12) offers a more complex approach to Verdejo with grapes sourced from the oldest plots in the estate. The wine is fermented in tulip-shaped concrete vats and aged in French and Hungarian oak barrels for eight months.
Winery tours start at Finca Las Amedias vineyard and then continue through the winemaking facilities. Visitors are invited to taste a sample directly from the barrel before enjoying some local cheese paired with four different wines including a red wine from Rioja.
Around 25% of the wines are exported. The wines can be purchased on Ramón Bilbao's online store.