Bodegas Roda, Spain, Rioja
Bodegas Roda is a family-owned winery in Rioja that was founded in 1987. The winery was completed in 1991, and the first commercial vintage was 1992. Three tiers of wine have been produced, Roda, Roda I, and Cirsion, all from the estate’s 17 parcels of vines, each of which is vinified separately. No wine is made from vines less than 30 years of age. Roda I focuses on the dark fruit side of the spectrum, while Cirsion is a selection of the best vines within 4 of the 17 blocks.
In 1987, Mario Rotllant arrived in the Rioja region determined to fulfill his dream of setting up his own winery. Rotllant had experience in the world of wine and knew some of the most important contacts in the sector. His ambition was clear: to make a unique Rioja, one that was different from all the others. He transmitted his enthusiasm to a team who would become the pillars of the project: Agustín Santolaya, who would take the reins, Isidro Palacios, who would look after the vineyards, and Carlos Diez, who would be responsible for oenology and the winery.
Bodegas Roda is placed beside the Ebro River, in a balcony of the Station District of Haro, on a centenary cellar. The installations were designed to measure of our wines: seventeen French oak vats (as many as selected vineyards per season), a bioclimatic room resulted of a completely new commitment for the innovation and two buildings of ageing which were dug directly in the rock, the result is two Reservas: Roda, silky, festive, fresh and Roda I, deep, complex and voluminous.
Although the founding of Roda goes back to 1987, the building of the bodega only began in 1991 and was finished in 2001, being completed in three separate phases. The first part was carried out by the architect Roses, and the last, most emblematic phase was directed by the architects of Llimona Ruiz-Recorder.
A vineyard on a terrace jutting out like the bows of a ship from the Haro Barrio de la Estacion to the river Ebro was transformed into the current winery location. Here, an underground cellar, reaching down 12 metres below the surface, was once used in the 19th century, when local wine growers stored their vintages there before shipping them by rail to Bordeaux to alleviate the crisis caused by the phylloxera epidemic.
Bodegas Roda uses old vines, as they 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.
Bodegas Roda uses 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.
- They grow GARNACHA in the southern most area of the Rioja in gravel soils at the highest altitudes, and they 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. Bodegas Roda consider that this is the best growing technique for their area.
Choosing the vineyards and deciding when to pick
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.
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.
Grapes which reflect the landscape in which they are grown
Each grape, during its ripening, should capture, down to the last detail, the landscape in which it is grown, the heat of September, the cool nights of October, the transparency of the beginning of autumn, the shortening days, the north winds as the nights pull in, the fragrance of the herbs in surrounding fields, the sensations in the soil where the grapes grow, the darkness of the subsoil in which the roots penetrate. The tiniest hints mingle to make each vintage different, and our aim consists in knowing how to interpret these and how to bring them out through the wine.
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.