Launched in the 2003 harvest, this project is part of the Ramón Bilbao group, which owns wineries in Rioja, Rías Baixas, Rueda, Navarra and Castilla-La Mancha. Despite the extreme weather conditions and the different qualities of Tempranillo -locally known as Tinto Fino- with regards to Rioja, red wines have shown plenty of promise in a relatively short time.
The project's philosophy has gradually evolved and is now focused on a particular terroir: Los Hoyales, on the outskirts of Peñafiel, is a 20-hectare vineyard planted on sandy soils which has expanded to include an extra 20. The last few years have seen a move towards biodynamic farming.
Cruz de Alba Crianza (€14) is the winery's flagship red, a 100% Tinto Fino which has forgone the powerful, fruit-laden, oaky Ribera style in favour of a more restrained, well-defined profile which earned its 2011 vintage the top award at the 2013 Tempranillos al Mundo wine contest. Lucero del Alba (under €10) is the winery's second reference and is well considered within the new wave of good-value Riberas that are a joy for this region's fans. Young vineyards and cast-offs from Cruz de Alba go into making this wine.
The wines can be bought at the winery's online store.