Launched in the 2003 harvest, this project is part of the Ramón Bilbao group, which owns wineries in Rioja, Rías Baixas and Rueda. 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.