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(2019) I've often found the Verdjo wines from the Rueda region in northern Spain to be a bit too imitatative of New World Sauvignon Blanc, but here Ramón Bilbao is trying to do something different with the grape and the region. Made from the estate's oldest vines, it was fermented in concrete 'tulip-shaped' vats then aged in French and Hungarian oak, with regular batonnage. That has resulted in an obvious creaminess on the nose (unexpected in Rueda Verdejo), subtle nut and honey notes to tropical fruit with a more subdued elderflower and passion fruit character. In the mouth the sweet ripeness of the fruit is the first impression, but that nutty and creamy underpinning of both flavour and texture adds an extra layer. Acidity is well-judged, a gentle lime and red apple presence to extend the finish. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2018) An organically certified wine from Rueda, not too far from Ribera del Duero in northern Spain, fermented with indigenous yeasts. That gives it a bit of extra complexity compared to many commercial examples of Verdejo, the nose showing not just the pungent, elderflower and gooseberry punch of the grape, but a little chalky, lightly earthy, herbaceous blackcurrant leaf. The full-fruited, exotic fruit-tinged palate has a lightly creatmy texture, and plenty of zingy acidity to offset. Easy to drink on its own, great with fish and with grilled goat's cheese.
(2018) A year older than the straight Rueda Blanco, but the Collection cuvée is also fermented in new French oak barrels rather than steel, so is quite a different prospect. Creamy, mealy on the nose, there's a touch of chalky quality and elderflower pungency has been tamed to good effect, just a touch of gooseberry and a hint of more tropical lychee against the barrel-influenced creaminess. In the mouth it has an almost Chablis-like firmness and minerality at first, though the fruit character of the Verdejo does come through to add more zing and vivacious punch, into a long, firm finish.
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