Bodegas Muriel, Rioja Crianza (Spain) Tempranillo Fincas de la Villa 2018

($16, Quintessential Wines):  Wines from Rioja are typically classified by the amount of aging before release.  (I say typically, because some producers are now labeling their Rioja by vineyard site rather than aging requirements.)  Crianza means the wine has had two years of aging, at least one of which has been in barrel, prior to release.  Compared to their straight Rioja, Muriel’s Crianza has a bit more going on.  There’s less of a focus on bright berry fruit and more savory elements, even an attractive hint of leather.  It has the same wonderful freshness and balance as Muriel’s straight Rioja.  As expected, the tannins are a bit more prominent in this weightier wine, so don’t chill this one.  Serve at cellar temperature with steak from the grill.  It’s another bargain from Spain.
91 Michael Apstein Jun 21, 2022