Ramõn Bilbao, Rioja Crianza (Spain) 2019

($15):  Wines from Rioja, arguably Spain’s most famous wine area, can provide terrific value.  Just take this one for example.  Crianza, an official designation of aging, means that the red wine has been aged for two years, at least one of which was in oak barrels, before release.  Think of Crianza as the first tier of a “premium” or high-quality category.  This mid-weight one still displays a hint of spicy oak nicely offset by juicy black cherry notes.  Mild tannins and lively acidity in the balanced beauty allow for immediate enjoyment this summer with things like BBQ’ed chicken.  It has remarkable length and complexity for the price.
90 Michael Apstein May 30, 2023