Christie Kiley on July 13, 2015 0 Comments Every once in a while–without much thought or intention–something nice comes your way. Last night, while having dinner with some friends in Belgium at one of the best restaurants in Antwerp, I was surprised by quite a nice wine. To be truthful, there were about four other wines that I tasted last night, but one stuck out in particular: the 2008 Viña Pomal Reserva. About Bodegas Bilbainas The wine heralds from the region of Rioja, Spain. Bodega Bilbainas is the largest winery of Rioja Alta and the fourth largest of the entire region of Rioja. They also happen to be one of the oldest wineries in the region with a long history of winemaking. The winery was built in 1859 and was one of the very first in the railway station in Haro. The French company of Sauvignon Freres came to the Rioja region in an attempt to flee the invasion of phylloxera louse that were killing off their beloved vines back home. Some businessmen purchased this company in 1901 and gave it the Bilbainas name. In 1997, the property–which was a bit of a small city in itself, with warehouses, offices, deep cellars and vineyards–was purchased by the Codorniu group. They have since restored the property with modern winemaking equipment and have opened it to the public to offer visitors a detailed explanation of their winemaking methods. On their 250 hectares, they cultivate Tempranillo, Graciano, Garnacha and Mazuelo grapes for their red wines and Viura and Malvasia grapes for their white wines. The ancient soils from the Tertiary period consist of marlstone, sand and limestone, which gives each of their wines unique characteristics of lively minerals. This minerality plays nicely off of the fruit. These are wines in gentle and harmonious balance from the vineyard to the bottle. They age in Bordeaux barrels and the oak is a nice touch, making the wine rich with depth and intrigue. About the 2008 Viña Pomal Reserva Many of you might be thinking that 2008 might be a bit old for a wine of this type. In actuality, the wine is ready to be enjoyed because of its status as a Reserva. When a label notes “Reserva”, this means that the wine has been aged in oak at least one extra year than what is minimally required by law. The minimum for a red wine of Rioja to be aged in oak is 12 months. Therefore, this wine spent 2 years in oak and then it was bottled and it rested at the winery for another 2 years before it was released for purchase. Unlike other winemaking countries, Spain requires wineries to age their wines until they are ready for consumption. The result of the wine’s age has benefited its character and taste. The hues show a hint of age with more earthy tones rather than fresh berry pinks. On the nose, notes of licorice and tobacco pop, followed by some nice warm holiday spices and buttery vanilla French toast. On the palate, the wine is nicely subdued and the tannins are soft and well-rounded, which allows you to enjoy the full flavors of cherry pie, spicy plums and a lingering finish of dark chocolate notes. Be sure to pair this with you biggest barbecue dishes this summer!