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Ramón Bilbao helps people grow a deeper understanding of Rueda

Ramón Bilbao in Rueda plays a key role in reflecting the individuality of the region. db finds out more about how this is being recognised.

Renowned wine critic and Master of Wine Tim Atkin released his inaugural Rueda report in collaboration with Spanish wine specialist Beth Willard, and named Ramón Bilbao winner of two awards in its centenary year. During the event, the director of Ramón Bilbao’s Rueda winery, Sara Banuelos, and the ‘Las Amedias’ 2019 Finca wine produced there have been named as ‘Young Winemaker of the Year’ and ‘White Wine Discovery of the Year’ by Atkin and Willard, a significant nod to the winemaking excellence that can be found in the region.

The wine Las Amedias has been developed in Rueda to complement Ramón Bilbao’s portfolio and align well with its latest premiumisation strategy, which encourages people to gain a deeper understanding of the region.

Speaking to the drinks business, Bañuelos explains what makes Ramón Bilbao Rueda unique in the region, describing how it “embodies the perfect blend of respect for tradition and innovation”, and explaining that “our curious spirit has been moving us during this century to take a step further in the wine sector”.

This award recognises Bañuelos as a significant figure in the Spanish wine world and the Rueda wine region, highlighting her talent and dedication to winemaking. Humbled by the accolade, Bañuelos says: “I am very grateful for this award, which recognises the work we do as a team at the winery in Rueda and drives us to further deepen our knowledge of the uniqueness of the vineyards in the area.”

Bañuelos, a graduate in enology and technical agricultural engineering in the food industries and WSET Diploma, began her professional career in Rioja, where she worked for more than five years in various wineries. Her experience and valuable knowledge of the Rueda highland vineyard, in the heart of Castilla, were key to her move in 2016 to Ramón Bilbao’s winery, where her leadership is essential for the production of the winery’s white wines. Capable of capturing the essence of the land and expressing it uniquely, a job that is undoubtedly reflected in the Las Amedias 2019 finca wine.

The 2019 vintage comes from Ramón Bilbao’s Finca Las Amedias – a blend of Verdejo and Sauvignon Blanc from the owned vineyard that surrounds the winery (60 hectares), where the oldest vines at more than 30 years old are planted. Both varieties have a key role in Ramón Bilbao’s presence in the region, whose portfolio is diverse and reflects the uniqueness of Rueda.

According to Bañuelos, “we have been studying for years the best way to reflect the terroir. Our estate boasts a rich variety of soils, and selecting the vineyard parcels with the most suitable characteristics leads us to create a singular portfolio with soul”. With an altitude of 770 metres and soils that are sandy-clay for Sauvignon Blanc and gravel for Verdejo, the unique characteristics of the wines created shine through. Additionally, Ramón Bilbao is already applying organic initiatives in part of its vineyard.

Bañuelos tells db that “the appeal of Rueda lies in the extreme nature of its landscape and the remarkable ability of the Verdejo variety to produce exceptional wines in challenging conditions of high altitude and a continental climate”. She adds that the next steps involve “continuing to study what we have, seeking new horizons without losing focus on what the region provides us”. Finally, she reveals that “there is still much to explore and experiment within Rueda … at Ramón Bilbao, curiosity is something that defines us”.

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