A Go-To Red for Fall Fare

A Go-To Red for Fall Fare

Classic, traditional Rioja wine

SHARE

I was telling my wife last night: “I would bet a tidy sum that I could identify a classic Rioja red tasting blindly.” There’s no other wine I know of that shares this fruit profile literally bathed in American oak. And today’s example certainly emphasizes this so very well. It’s the Rioja Reserva bottling from Bodegas Bilbainas. Aged 18 months in American oak (20% new), and then left in bottle two years before release, this is a textbook example of why traditional Rioja still claims a loyal following. Add the fact that the wine is a relative bargain, and you have a go-to red for the coming fall menus.

2012 Viña Pomal Reserva, Bodegas Bilbainas $20 srp

Rounded and oh-so-typical Rioja nose. Flowers, light berry, bramble and a warm dose of American oak that wraps around your sinuses like a fragrant leather glove. There’s something “autumnal” here, suggesting long walks in the woods. Flavors are medium-bodied, but lithe and easygoing. Suggestions of bright red currant, cranberry and a dusty element appear along with a nice final kick of refreshment. This is balanced and refined, although it took a good six hours to open up completely. So, please decant or uncork early! Drink now-2021.

90/100 points

SHARE
Arturo Ciompi
Trained as a classical clarinetist and conductor, Arturo plied his trade for many years in New York, performing with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New York City Opera, the American Symphony and countless chamber music groups. While living in Durham, Arturo became the wine manager at two iconic gourmet stores: Fowler’s in Durham and Southern Season in Chapel Hill. He had a wine spot on NPR in the ’90s and has been a continuously published wine journalist since 1997. He has won national awards for his work and is currently writing for Durham Magazine and its weekly blog, “Wine Wednesdays”. In addition, he loves teaching the clarinet. Read more on his website.