Ramon Bilbao, Reserva, Rioja D.O.C, Spain, 2017

£16.00

In their own words: "From the time when we were small children, we have always remembered that wise person who made us change our way of seeing things, of living our day-to-day lives. Brushstrokes - sometimes anonymous - that leave an indelible trace in our souls. A wise wine with all the knowledge and flavour of the Rioja Alta."

There is no doubt as to which grape is the premier in this area, Tempranillo (not our opinion – it’s the law!) but let us not forget the rest of the band: Mazuelo and Graciano, of which make up 10% of the blend here. The Mazuelo (or Carignan if we were in France) brings extra depth and vibrancy to the juice and the Graciano brings structure, more ageing potential and some lovely aromatics. Made mostly from 40-year-old bush vines and then aged for 20 months in USA oak before a further 20 months in the bottle, this is one complex wine and is sure not to disappoint an avid Rioja quaffer.

92 points – Tim Atkin.

Nose

Garnet red, with lovely depth. Intense blackberries, plums and red fruits. Sweet spices, vanilla, brioche, cumin, wild herbs and with a touch of menthol.

Palate

Again, lots of ripe red fruits and sweet spice. Fresh, intense and with great balance between acidity, tannins and alcohol. Seriously good Rioja.