The history of Bodegas Roda is not that long. Its first harvest was in 1992, and its first bottle was released on the market in June 1996. However, despite its short history, it is decisive in the evolution of new and modern Rioja wines. Located next to other wineries that are historically renowned in the famous Town of Estación de Haro, Bodegas Roda is a clear and precise exhibition of the modern cultivation techniques, and of the innovative and personal winemaking and ageing style of the wines of Rioja.
It is quite impressive that Roda, with no winemaking history or inheritance, has managed to consolidate itself in the short term as one of the wineries of the Riojan elite. Its early years go back to the late 80s, when the Catalan family Rotllant-Daurella, historically related to the trade of wines and high-quality gourmet products, decided to create its own winery in La Rioja. Specifically, they chose the famous town Barrio de la Estación in Haro, where they founded Roda in 1987 with the aim of producing an exceptional and different wine. During its first five years of life, significant work was carried out in the fields of viticulture and vineyard acquisition. Several tests were conducted with different woods and origins, and unprecedented production and ageing techniques were implemented.
After years of effort, considerable investments and challenging decisions, this winery has demonstrated that it not only has a sixth sense when it comes to forecasting new trends in the wine market but also that it knows how to execute them with perfect mastery. It was a long process with apparently no results since no wines at all were released on the market. However, this was enough to make them start a project that was completely innovative for that day and age. Roda is definitely the model of a winery that combines the most advanced technology with the wise rereading of the viticulture traditions of the region.
Currently, wines of Roda are commercialised in all corners of the Spanish geography, and they have also crossed borders. In this sense, 40% of the total production is distributed in 40 countries.
History of the winery
Bodega Roda is located on the banks of the river Ebro, on a balcony in the neighbourhood of La Estación de Haro, on a century-old cellar. Although the foundation of Roda dates back to 1987, the construction of the winery began in 1991 and ended in 2001. It was carried out in three stages: the first one was performed by architect Roses and the last and the most symbolic one, was directed by the studio of Llimona Ruiz-Recorder. The first stage lasted almost a decade but has now allowed these facilities to be a suitable size for the production of 250,000 to 300,000 bottles per year. The winery has three ageing warehouses, two underground ones excavated in the rock: El Cardo, which honours a huge forge sculpture that represents the three thistle flowers on the emblem of the winery, and El Calado, an old tunnel of the 19th century that emerges from 12 metres deep out onto a terrace over the river Ebro. The third warehouse, La Navet, with cool floors, allows wine to reach a temperature of 15ºC in winter.
Scientific research, development and technological innovation (R&D&I) are key in the business strategy of Bodegas Roda. Competitiveness, commitment and quality are the arguments for this innovative approach, which has materialised in successive R&D&I plans, such as the creation of a gene bank (germplasm) of Tempranillo, the development of a bioclimatic ageing warehouse, the extraction of the healthy properties of the grapes and the adaptation of the vineyard to climate change. Regarding the bioclimatic warehouse, it is designed to be able to perform the malolactic fermentation of 1,200 barrels at the same time. For this purpose, the warehouse is equipped with radiant flooring that provides the optimal temperature for the bacteria to work (20ºC) with hardly any air flow. The floor itself can become cool in spring or summer to allow ageing throughout the year. It also has a device that automatically controls the humidity so that it is suitable for the barrels (78%). Once the malolactic fermentation is completed, large windows are opened on the north-facing side to allow the penetration of the cold in winter and to stabilise the wines naturally.
The winery obtains its supplies from around 100 hectares of vineyard, of which 60 are their own vineyards which are located in Haro, Briñas, Villalba, Ollauri and Tudelilla. They are generally old and very old vineyards of Tempranillo, Graciano and Grenache, planted on poor, shallow soils, with good orientation. In short, the most precious treasure of the winery.
The winery also has a wine bar right on the street, in the heart of the town Estación de Haro, without having to access through the winery. At this wine bar, you can enjoy their wines in an impressive draft of the 19th century.
Respect for nature is a primary concern in Roda. For this reason, the winery created an ambitious map in which the best 100 hectares of vineyards in the region were defined. Only those vineyards that were individually capable of producing extraordinary wines for as many years as possible. This live, and therefore, unfinished map, has helped place the vineyards in diverse and privileged ecosystems that define the philosophy of the wines of Roda . Currently, the winery controls the cultivation of 150 hectares of vineyard. Half of them are owned by them, and on the other half, they have agreements with several winegrowers. They are distributed in 28 different ecosystems that vary from altitudes of 380 to 650 metres above sea level. They have different soils: sandy, clayey-calcareous, clay, rocky terraces, always with good orientations and in areas with an excellent viticulture vocation. Every year, after careful monitoring of the cycle and cultivation, the 17 best vineyards are selected for processing in Roda, while the rest are sold.
In the vineyards, grass usually grows freely from October to April, and the edges of the vineyards are maintained with the native flora throughout the year so that beneficial insects can close their cycle. On the other hand, fertilisers are limited to the minimum extent, and most of it is provided in the form a manure. Phytosanitary treatments are mainly in the form of sulphur and copper, avoiding, as far as possible, chemical synthesis products.
One of the most complex operations is the selection of the vineyards that will enter Roda and the day of the harvest. Hence, between the beginning of the ripening process and the end of the harvest, visits to each vineyard become more frequent, up to three times a week. Detailed observation of each symptom, textures, colours, tasting of the berries and the seeds, and continuous support from the laboratory, allow them to approach the theoretical optimum ripening.
A group of 40 people, who work here year after year, are responsible for the manual harvest, placing the grapes in 18-kg boxes. In addition, although with some exceptions, all vineyards, whether or not they are their own, are harvested by the winery staff to control the timing and selection of grape bunches in the field. In some cases, it is also common to carry out two grape harvests and even three to collect all the grapes with perfect ripening. The vineyards used to make Roda and Cirsion are old (over 30 years of age), and they have low yields that provide the desired concentration and extract. Young vineyards, on the other hand, are cultivated differently: on poor soils, with high density, scarce or no fertiliser, trained in a vase shape, sometimes with vegetation cover, in the aim creating plants with a low vigour that provide concentrated fruit.
And if the work in the vineyard is meticulous, in the wine cellar it is carried out to the millimetre. The facilities were tailor-made for the vineyards, so they have 17 French oak vats (as many as vineyards selected per season), which are renewed every 10 years. They also have the bioclimatic room and two ageing warehouses that have been directly carved into the rock. Based on this selection, grapes from each variety and each vine are processed separately, they are aged separately and only at the end, the coupage of each year is carried out. The duration of barrel ageing varies depending on each farm, but the usual time is between 12 and 16 months.
Wines from Bodegas Roda
Currently, and after some restructuring in the range of wines, they produce four wines, all of them red.
Bodega Roda Sela is the youngest of the family and their latest addition. It is produced mainly with Tempranillo and small touches of Graciano and Grenache, which come from vase-shaped vines that are 15 to 30 years old. It goes through spontaneous alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in French oak vats, and then it is aged for 12 months in semi-new French oak barrels. It is a medium volume wine, very amiable, tasty and fresh, with a very polished tannin that gives a feeling of roundness.
Roda. It is made with more than 90% of Tempranillo, with varying percentages according to the vintage of Graciano and Grenache, which come from vines that are over 30 years old, mostly planted in Haro and bordering towns. Alcoholic fermentation takes place in French oak vats (with temperature control), followed by a malolactic fermentation in French oak barrels, and an ageing process of14 months also in French oak barrels (40% new and 60% second-use). The profile of the ripe red fruits mixed with certain blackness stands out, in the range of Picota cherries; voluminous, with fullness and with a velvety feel.
Roda I. Generally, it is always 100% Tempranillo from a selection of farms with vineyards over 30 years old. It ferments in oak vats, at a controlled temperature, and it is aged for 16 months in French oak barrels (50% new and 50% single-use). It offers red and black fruit, between the cherry and the plum, with notes of sweet spices, in line with cloves and cinnamon. In the mouth, it always shows a sensation of freshness, with ripe and very polished tannins that impel a lingering finish with a pleasant touch.
Cirsion. This is their premium wine. Most of the times it is produced with 100% Tempranillo, with a selection of bunches from several vineyard areas. It ferments in oak vats and aged in new French oak barrels. It is a new generation wine, modern, concentrated, expressive, but with variation from harvest to harvest. Cirsion is the oenological pleasure. Of extraordinary aromatic complexity, with excellent notes of smoked fine woods, properly blended with ripe and meaty fruit, spices and fresh balsamic aromas. In the mouth, it is full, ripe and elegant, with a fruit well supported by a powerful structure, with fine and juicy tannins that enhance an ample and long finish.
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