Michel Rolland and Javier Galarreta in a magical night in Bilbao

The French oenologist and consultant Michel Rolland and the Spanish wine entrepreneur Javier R. de Galarreta have joined forces in a crusade to sing the praises of the outstanding quality of Spanish winemaking: an excellent terroir and longstanding experience in creating first-rate wines with authentic potential in international markets.

Michel Rolland, one of the most renowned oenologists active today, has had a decisive impact on many aspects of the winemaking industry in France and the rest of the world. Together with a group of bodegas, Javier Galarreta founded ARAEX in 1993 to market wines from Rioja Alavesa. In 2001 it extended its activity to other areas in response to growing interest from foreign markets. Today the group is one of the main exporters of fine quality Spanish wines.

Creating fine wines is a painstaking and difficult task requiring continuous work over many years, developing and experimenting with ideas until arriving at a product with the personality and charm needed to stand out in the global marketplace. But even when three wines – Rioja, Ribera and Rueda – reach this point, in reality everything remains to be done, despite the years of work. It is still necessary to introduce them to the world, demonstrating them at hundreds of venues and submitting them to the unimpeachable verdict of the consumer.

The presentation of these wines in Bilbao offered us the chance to raise awareness of a singular project, in which the union of two major professionals, each with his own specific area of responsibility, has given rise to considerable commercial success in record time.

After being welcomed in the Salón Árabe at Bilbao City Hall by the mayor, Juan María Aburto, Michel Rolland highlighted the special bond and kinship that has always existed between his native Bordeaux and the city of Bilbao. Javier Galarreta also underlined the fact that Bilbao “has always been our port of entry and departure for the great wines of Rioja Alavesa throughout the world”.

“To ensure success in the world of wine first and foremost one must have a product of high quality, one that is delightful and capable of beguiling those who try it”. And the maestros in this respect are undoubtedly Michel Rolland, working in conjunction with the Spanish guru of fine wines, Javier Galarreta, who have managed to shine the spotlight of attention and prestige on Spanish wines with projects such as this one.

A perfect combination, like the one Fernando Canales presented to us Etxanobe to sample 10 unique wines selected for the occasion. The evening began with Rueda 2016, 13 and 12 followed by Ribera del Duero 2015 and 14 and concluding with Rioja Alavesa 2012, 14 and the SuperPremium 2016.