07/05/2022 15 Bodegas Editorial Team
14 September 2022
15 Bodegas Editorial Team
One of the principles that guided Santiago Ugarte Aurrecoechea in the founding of Bodegas Bilbaínas Winery and which was decisive for his company to quickly rise to the forefront of the Spanish wine sector was the founder’s determined commitment to having his own vineyards.
In this sense, the acquisition of Viña Zaco in 1908 marks the development of a policy that was clearly aimed at adding wine estates of great value to a territory with enormous potential — like the region around the village of Haro, in the heart of La Rioja Alta.
Viña Zaco 2017 is the first wine qualified under the Viñedo Singular geographical indication by the Qualified Designation of Origin Rioja.
With the conviction that the best wines come from the best vineyards –a criterion that was not as widespread at the beginning of the twentieth century as it is now–, Bodegas Bilbaínas continued with the acquisition of the estates that had the best conditions for the creation of its wines in the La Rioja Alta region, getting ahead of others in the region in terms of the development of a comprehensive production model. After the purchase of Viña Zaco, the plots that belonged to Viña Pomal were purchased between 1911 and 1915, and in 1915 the company also acquired another of its historical vineyards, Viña Paceta, where the cultivation of white varieties coexists with the traditional tempranillo variety.
Three other estates were added to the aforementioned ones: Viña Vicuana, Viña Cuervo, and Viña Cores. These are vineyards which Bodegas Bilbaínas has added to its winemaking heritage over its 120-year history, and which also offer grapes of exceptional quality and unique character depending on the soil conditions, exposure, and age of each of them.
Thanks to the pioneering spirit of Santiago Ugarte and his decisive commitment to conceive quality wines every step of the way (from the very origin of wine — the vineyard itself) while ensuring quality through the management of company-owned winegrowing estates, Bodegas Bilbaínas Winery currently has the largest extension of vineyards in the municipality of Haro: 225 hectares. Most of them (130 ha) are located in the area around the winery in Bordeaux châteaux style — something which favors the tasks of harvesting the grapes. This is a real luxury considering that Bodegas Bilbaínas Winery is located in the La Estación Neighborhood of this little town of the Rioja region, where the largest number of centuries-old wineries in the world are located; and that the Haro vineyards stand out for their excellence in the La Rioja Alta region.
This new wine by Bodegas Bilbaínas Winery has its roots in the estate acquired by the founder of the winery in 1908, in the area around the village of Haro.
Purchased by the founder of Bodegas Bilbaínas Winery in 1908, this is the oldest historical vineyard of the winery and it has given a name to one of the most emblematic wines of the company. From the most stony part of the Viña Zaco vineyard, the company extracts the grapes with which Viña Pomal Reserve is made, one of the most exceptional reds of the Viña Pomal wines range The rest of the plots of the farm are used to select grapes for the company’s great reserve wines, perfects to gifts to wine lovers.
Recently, Viña Zaco was recognized with the Viñedo Singular distinction, being the first Haro vineyard to obtain this new qualification through the Rioja Qualified Designation of Origin. This distinction is especially for vineyards which are “made up of several plots with their own uniform agro-geological and climatological characteristics which differentiate and distinguish them from other plots nearby and from which wines with unique traits and qualities are obtained”, they are the best wines to give as a gift.
The Zaco vineyard, 100% tempranillo, is located on a hill along a meander of the Ebro River. The characteristics of the soil (deep and sandy) with pebbles of alluvial origin on its surface make it possible to obtain wines with a unique profile — round wines that are dense and expressive.
Like the rest of the Bilbaínas winegrowing estates, this vineyard has a small structure that was previously used as a shelter for field workers and a storage area for work tools, which has now been restored and adapted for receiving visitors and hosting wine tourism activities.
The unique conditions that Viña Zaco treasures inside have made it possible for the wine created with this estate’s grapes to be the first by the Bodegas Bilbaínas Winery to obtain the Viñedo Singular geographical indication from the Rioja Qualified Designation of Origin.
In its first vintage (2017) this red wine of exceptional quality was harvested manually in 15 kg boxes and cold macerated for 12-18 hours before grape selection. Destemming was carried out with extreme delicacy so as not to break the grapes, removing the plant parts and the damaged fruit.
Fermentation took place in open concrete tanks, using daily manual punching down to improve extraction. In this vintage, maceration lasted 21 days — reaching maximum balance and expression.
Malolactic fermentation was carried out in French oak barrels (second year and medium toast), while aging took place over 20 months in foudres made out of the same wood and having the same origin.
Viña Zaco is a wine with spicy hints of licorice and black fruits, floral nuances of violets, and balsamic nuances. On the palate, it has a soft, broad entrance; it continues to be generous, round, balanced wine with a long aftertaste that is both mineral and voluminous in nature.