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News

Agustín Santolaya, General Manager of Bodegas RODA, has been chosen Person of the Year 'Fuera de Serie' in the category Oenology

17.12.2014

 

Agustín Santolaya, General Manager of Bodegas RODA and Bodegas LA HORRA, has been chosen Person of the Year 'Fuera de Serie 2014' in the category of Oenology. On November 27th, 2014 the awards were given to the winners in a ceremony that was held in Santa Coloma Palace in Madrid, the ceremony was hosted by the journalist Lara Siscar and ended with a cocktail in which wines RODA 2009 and CORIMBO I 2010 were served.

 

There are several reasons why the publication 'Fuera de Serie' has decided that the Person of the Year Award in the Category Oenology was given to Agustín Santolaya: in less than a quarter of century has made Bodegas RODA, in La Rioja, an international reference. Santolaya believes that the wine, as the art, must touch and he says that 'the wine becomes the only dynamic way to bottle the time'. He is General Manager of RODA (DOCa Rioja), a successful winery that two years after marketed its first vintage, it was catalogued as a benchmark. Only 18 years later and other projects, the wines of RODA, its brothers of Ribera del Duero (CORIMBO) and also its olive oils (DAURO from the Empordà and AUBOCASSA from Majorca) still occupy the top ten.

 

Santolaya explains his career: we are a wine-growing family from generations. We made young wine, that is something very traditional in La Rioja, and I began with the age of 16 years. I studied Agricultural Engineering and I had my own wine brand, at the same time I was a teacher and I worked as a consultant of vine-growing. And that was how I came to RODA: I was called as a consultant and I fell in love with the project. Just observing the sensibility of Mario Rotlland (owner of the winery), saying he had no hurry, but he wanted to make a wine of the great, when all businessmen demanded a positive exploitation in four years. And I stayed here.

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History

At the end of the 1980's new things were afoot in the Spanish wine growing sector. A new generation of wine people was arriving on the scene in different wine regions. At this particular moment, Mario Rotllant and Carmen Daurella came to La Rioja, with the passionate commitment to create a project that would bring something new to the wine world. What better way to personalize a new project than to name it after the initials of Mario’s and Carmen’s surnames, RO-DA.

 

"In 1995, we observed that some vines were producing grapes with a flavour that was very different from that of other surrounding vines. Whilst the usual sensation on tasting a grape is one of fresh fruit, acidity and sweetness, we found that in these cases the sensation was one of fullness, volume, characteristics which were closer to actual wine tasting rather than grape-tasting. We established that by vinifying these grapes separately we would obtain hugely silky wines and could avoid having the wood steal a part of the richness of the fruit characters. In 1997 we made our first Cirsion, which was not released on to the market. We found that with a short ageing in barrel, it reached an incredible degree of silkiness and unparalleled fruit complexity. Each year, during the harvest, we go through some of our vineyards seeking out this curious natural rarity, and on one vine in a thousand these grapes are found and picked to make Cirsion. There is total respect for the concept of the vintage, wines from other years are never added to homogenise or freshen up a vintage. Wines bring out the very essence of their terroir, the vineyard, soil, climate, landscape."

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Vineyards

We use old vines, as we consider that the balanced yields that they succeed in producing cannot be bettered, since the greater depth of their roots and the larger volume of soil explored by them reduce the effects of both drought and excessive rainfall. They also have the ability to bring greater complexity to the grapes and in turn to the wine.

We use three grape varieties:Tempranillo,Graciano and Garnacha.

TEMPRANILLO, has the potential to produce, on its own, wines of the highest rank in our area. It combines power and elegance and has an enormous range of aromas and flavours.

GRACIANO, is difficult to grow, has a very low pH, produces wines of deep colour with purple glints, fresh, spicy aromas, and blends very well with Tempranillo.

We grow GARNACHA in the southern most area of the Rioja in gravel soils at the highest altitudes, and we use it to blend with the other varieties.

 

The classic Rioja bush vine is made up of three irregular main branches growing directly from the soil and reaching up to 1 metre in height. When a branch breaks, through old age or because it is unstable, it is replaced by a new shoot from the trunk. It colonises perfectly the space around the vine in its three dimensions and enables the bunches to be extraordinarily well ventilated and spread out from each other. We consider that this is the best growing technique for our area.

 

Respect for the natural environment is an obsession in our vine-growing. Grass usually grows freely from the month of October until April and the vineyard borders are maintained with indigenous flora throughout the whole year to enable beneficial insects to complete their life cycle. Fertilising is kept down to a minimum, most of which comes in the form of manure. Fungal sprays are essentially in the form of sulphur and copper, avoiding where possible synthetic chemical products.

 

One of the most complex operations and one which requires the greatest effort is choosing which vineyard will go into RODA and on which day the picking should begin. Between the beginning of the ripening process and the end of the picking, more and more visits are made to each vineyard until these reach a frequency of three times a week. Detailed observations as to each symptom, textures, colours, the taste of the berries and their pips, together with the continual support of our laboratory, enable us to gain an approximate idea of the optimum time of ripeness.

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Winemaking

A team of 40 harvesters, who return year after year, pick the grapes by hand, carefully placing them in 18kg crates from vines which have been judged to be at perfect readiness on that particular day. With rare exceptions, all the vineyards, whether they are our own or not, are harvested by our own pickers so as to have perfect control over the time of the picking and the selection of the bunches on the vines.

It is often the case that two separate pickings, even three, are carried out to ensure that the grapes that are brought in are perfectly ripe. The crates are brought to the bodega on pallets on trailers or in trucks, and once they are emptied, are meticulously washed before being sent to the next vineyard. The average yield per hectare is no more than 5,000 kg or 34 hectolitres.

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Inside information

Bodegas Roda S.A., as part of its business strategy, has since 1998 drawn up a policy supporting scientific research, development and technological innovation as a means towards the continual improvement of its competitiveness and growth, the result of which has been the definition and development of successive tri-annual plans of research and development.

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 Rytis Jurkenas / Champagne Expert, Pro (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Bodegas Roda . In a tasting of  35 wines 

“Another great Champagnes and Italian wines!”

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 Juha Lihtonen, Sommelier (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Bodegas Roda . In a tasting of  6 wines 

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