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This bright, garnet-red wine is medium-high in intensity. It smells of wild red and black fruits, reminiscent of licorice, vanilla, sweet brioche, and violet sweets. On second whiff, it has additional hints of menthol and wild herbs. The tannins are ripe at the forefront, while sweet spices and red fruit linger on the tongue. It is a well-balanced wine, easy to drink but equally easy to store in a cellar for a few years, in the way only a perfectly crafted Rioja Reserva can be.
Best with heavy, hearty meals, the Rioja Reserva is perfect alongside spicy dishes, especially thick red curries. Conversely, it coaxes out the deeper flavors in fresh-made ceviche by the seaside and goes very well with jacket potatoes—cheese and baked beans, or even chili on top—for those cooler evenings. One hearty, traditional Rioja-region pairing for this wine is albondigas, Spanish meatballs smothered in flavor-packed tomato sauce. This dish goes perfectly with the wild fruit flavors in the Reserva Rioja.
At least that is what is often said in that particular region of northern Spain. La Rioja is home to the Ebro River Valley. It is here, in this land of dry climes, in the 7 mini-valleys created by the Ebro tributaries, that different varieties of Tempranillo and other grapes grow. But the river valleys are shrinking, and the lush, varied biodiversity of the region is threatened by climate change. This is part of the driving force behind Ramón Bilbao’s sustainability initiative. They have been part of Wineries for Climate Protection program since 2017. The Rioja is precious to Spain, and deserves her people’s protection.
Store unopened red wines in a cool, dry, and dark place safe from constant vibration. Keep your bottle horizontal in a wine rack or cellar to retain the moistness of the cork. The ideal temperature for storage is between 16 to 18°C. Once opened, a bottle will be good for 3 to 5 days standing upright in the refrigerator.