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Bodegas Ramon Bilbao Gran Reserva 1998

Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
  • W&S93
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Winemaker Notes

Ramon Bilbao's Gran Reserva 1998 features a tawny rim framing a lovely deep, ruby-red wine, with a dark cherry core. The aromas are very complex and open up after some airing, leading to balsamic fragrances, very ripe fruit and prominent quality wood. Leather and tobacco, with notes of fruits in liqueur, also appear. It has a well-balanced taste, with appreciable notes of cedar and coffee liqueur, leading to a long, persistent finish.

"This shares the rose-garden aromatics of Bilbao's 2001, a dark, earthy complexity joined here to a more delicate, gentle red. Oak age has turned the texture to velvet and contributed a range of spices, from cinnamon to cedar and licorice. Tightly built, this is suited to roast leg of lamb with rosemary, or to several more years of aging." -Wine & Spirits, Sept 2007

Critical Acclaim

W&S 93
Wine & Spirits

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Bodegas Ramon Bilbao

Bodegas Ramon Bilbao

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Bodegas Ramon Bilbao, , Spain
Bodegas Ramon Bilbao
Our winery, which has recently celebrated its 75th anniversary, is undoubtedly one of the most emblematic in Rioja.

At Bodegas Ramon Bilbao we produce the highest quality matured wines, thus increasing both the Denominacion de Origin's and our founder's prestige. Our daily work is based on using the best prime materials, which we choose with the greatest care: grapes from the best estates and vineyards and barrels made of the best oak from European and American woods.

Our aim is to obtain the best matured wines so that you can enjoy a wine for drinking, savouring and tasting again.

With its fairytale aesthetic, Germanic influence, and strong emphasis on white wines, Alsace is one of France’s most unique viticultural regions. This hotly contested stretch of land on France’s northeastern border has spent much of its existence as German territory, and this is easy to see both in Alsace’s architecture and wine styles. A long, narrow strip running north to south, Alsace is nestled in the rain shadow of the Vosges mountains, making it perhaps the driest region of France. The growing season is long and cool, and autumn humidity facilitates the development of noble rot for the production of late-picked sweet wines Vendange Tardive and Sélection de Grains Nobles. Alsace is divided into two halves—the Haut-Rhin and the Bas-Rhin—the former, at higher elevations, is associated with higher quality and makes up the lower portion of the region.

The best wines of Alsace can be described as aromatic and honeyed, even when completely dry. The region’s “noble” varieties are Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Muscat, and Pinot Gris. Other varieties grown here include Pinot Blanc, Auxerrois, Chasselas, Sylvaner, and Pinot Noir—the only red grape permitted here, responsible for about 10% of production and often used for sparkling rosé known as Crémant d’Alsace. Riesling is Alsace’s main specialty, and historically has always been bone dry to differentiate it from its German counterparts. In its youth, Alsatian Riesling is fresh and floral, developing complex mineral and gunflint character with age. Gewurztraminer is known for its signature spice and lychee aromatics, and is often utilized for late harvest wines. Pinot Gris is prized for its combination of crisp acidity and savory spice as well as ripe stone fruit flavors. Muscat is vinified dry, and tastes of ripe green grapes and fresh rose petal. There are 51 Grand Cru vineyards in Alsace, and only these four noble varieties are permitted within. While most Alsatian wines are bottled varietally, blends of several (often lesser) varieties are commonly labeled as ‘Edelzwicker.’

Pinot Blanc

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Lightly aromatic, pleasantly soft, and always approachable, Pinot Blanc is best known in Alsace, where it is considered a workhorse variety that takes a backseat to the more complex Pinot Gris. A white mutation of Pinot Noir, it produces easy-drinking, enjoyable wines here. In Italy, as Pinot Bianco, it gets a little more complex, especially in the mountainous Alto Adige region. It is perhaps most successful as Weissburgunder in Germany and Austria, where the wines are subtle, delicate, surprisingly complex, and age-worthy. There is also some Pinot Blanc performing well in Oregon and cooler pockets of California.

In the Glass

Typically, Pinot Blanc has a relatively full body and expresses simple but pleasing aromas of crisp green apple, pear, citrus, and white flowers. The finest examples possess stony minerality and occasionally ripe stone fruit flavors, and with age can develop intriguing notes of honey, vanilla, and almond.

Perfect Pairings

Delicate Pinot Blanc works well with lighter fare such as salads, seafood, chicken, or turkey, but is truly at its best with Alsatian pairings like Hollandaise dishes, onion tarts, or the region’s notable soft cheeses such as Muenster.

Sommelier Secret

Pinot Blanc’s delicate aromatics, full body, and moderate acidity make it a great alternative to the world’s most popular white wine. Anyone experiencing Chardonnay fatigue and looking to try something new would benefit from giving Pinot Blanc a try.

FWTRAMBILGRTEM_1998 Item# 95848

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