The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2012

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Bodegas Valdemar Bodegas Valdemar is a mid-size producer with a reputa- tion for quality and innovation since its founding in 1985. The winery is active socially on the Internet, Facebook and YouTube, and employees try to follow new trends as they maintain contact with existing customers and drinkers. Managing Director Carlos Martínez Bujanda sees his greatest challenge as having to lead at a time when there is more competition than ever before. "Each generation arrives with new ideas which, without changing what Bodegas Bilbaínas Bodegas Bilbaínas is a 100-year-old estate-focused winery that recorded the oldest bottling of wine in Rioja and was also the fi rst to sell abroad. Viña Pomal, named after the most famous vineyard, was fi rst released in 1908, and the Alto de la Caseta bottling ($80) conveys the essence of one specifi c part of this place that is singularly calcareous, poor in organic matter and heavily infl uenced by an Atlantic climate. In the glass this blood red wine Bodegas Valdemar Managing Director Carlos Martínez Bujanda, owner Jesús Martínez Bujanda and Ana Martínez Bujanda, Director of Marketing and Communications. has worked well, bring fresh air. Our 2008 Rioja Inspiración (launched in that year, $20) is a case in point—not a radi- cal change in our style or philosophy but rather the continuation of something started almost 30 years ago." Dark plum in color and smelling of cedar and black cherry, in the mouth this wine brings black raspberry, blackberry, mace and a touch of celery seed on a long fi nish. "We are in this for the long haul," says Carlos. "In 2008, at a time when every- body had stopped investing, we went ahead and built a new boutique winery where we cool the grapes, select them by bunches and berries, use small fermentation tanks, have a heatable fl oor to ease malolactic fermentation and experiment with more than 20 different types of oak." The winery has also launched a line of 100 percent varietal wines, including Maturana, Tempranillo Blanco, Graciano and Garnacha. "We often refer to these wines as 'Back to the Future' because we surprise consumers nowadays by using Graciano and Maturana, which are very old." CIV–Colección Intenacional del Vino Bodegas Bilbaínas winemaker Diego Pinilla in the cellar. proffers aromas of blood sausage and dark raspberry while tasting of black licorice, dark chocolate and tar. According to chief winemaker Diego Pinilla, "With this wine, as with the rest of our juice, we aim to be a reference in the appropriate category. No matter if it is Viña Zaco, where we look for the Tempranillo freshness and fruit, or Viña Pomal, where we want to convey more than 100 years of history and know-how, what we aim to provide in Alto de la Caseta is the minerality and strength of a great vineyard." More than innovation, Bodegas Bilbaínas has implemented guide- lines such as "minimum necessary intervention," which is something like wine sustainability. "We intervene only when needed, but we still maintain overall control and knowledge. I think that system- atic treatments and making the wines with the same recipes only unifi es wine styles. Every wine should be understood from the vineyard and in every step within the winery." Aveníu Brands september 2012 / the tasting panel / 99 PHOTO COURTESY OF THE DENOMINACIÓN DE ORIGEN CALIFICADA RIOJA PHOTO COURTESY OF BODEGAS VALDEMAR PHOTO COURTESY OF BODEGAS BILBAÍNAS

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