Riojas are from Spain. They are often on the light side infused with cheerful cherry notes. Crianzas must be aged a minimum of two years one of which must be in oak barrels. These are usually the least impressive Rioja’s. This one has received a 91 from the esteemed Wine Spectator.
On the nose there is some of that cheerful red cherry, cactus pear, graphite and milk chocolate. On the palate the tannins are moderate. Notes of cherry but the tannins wreak havoc with the fruit taking it over. An unimpressive wine.
I would bypass this one unless of course you have unwavering trust in the Wine Spectator!
(Valdelacierva Rioja, Crianza 2016 DOC, Bodegas Valdelacierva, Navarette, Spain, $16.95, 750 mL, 14%, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 438713, RKS Wine Rating 82/100).
We can’t leave Rioja on such an unimpressive note so we try a Viña Pomal Crianza 2017.Can Rioja redeem itself? On the nose we are getting some pure sweet red cherry somewhat purer than the Valdelacierva. Additionally there are notes of raspberry and blueberry. The fruit is higher toned than in the Valdelacierva. On the palate the tannins are softer than the Valdelacierva. There are bits of chocolate covered cherry, cherry, beet juice and white pepper. It is indeed superior to the Valdelacierva but is still anemic and unimpressive.
(Viña Pomal Crianza 2017, DOC, Bodegas Bilbainas, Haro, Spain, $19.50 (available in Canada through Small Winemakers in cases of 6 at smallwinemakers.ca), 750 mL, 14.5%, RKS Wine Rating 86/100).