Ahead of the January release of the Wines from Spain in-depth region by region report on the 2018 harvest we caught up with Roberto Ijalba our winemaker/owner at Bodegas Santalba in Rioja Alta for his insight on this promising vintage.
“This year the harvest was later than previous years, not so much a delay but in so much as the conditions of other recent years have bought the harvest earlier and earlier. In 2018 in Rioja Alta we saw a return to a more traditional harvest in terms of timing and typicity.
We started with the white grapes at the beginning of October (which is average for Rioja Alta) and as the weather was kind to us we had the freedom to leave the reds to intensify until the 20th October.
That all being said it definitely has not been an easy journey. Intense hail storms in the spring and early summer caused considerable damage and gave us some sleepless nights as they facilitated the appearance and spread of mildew and the excess moisture generated a lot of leaf growth meaning green harvesting was needed regularly. In addition, the veraison was very irregular with some plots totally red and others only half.
So, it is against all the odds, especially considering the two quantity-reducing frosts that affected the 2017 harvest, that 2018 has put us back on track with a great year in terms of quantity and quality. We are relieved and thankful in equal measures and look forward to a healthy year of business for 2019 with stock replenished and good quality wines in the tanks and barrels.”
Bodegas Santalba who are renowned for their innovative wine making projects have revealed that this years experimental wine making projects include carbonic maceration and a sparkling wine.
For all the latest news and updates from Bodegas Santalba follow them at @bodegasantalba and Roberto Ijalba @winerioja.