LaLomba Finca Valhonta 2017, Ramón Bilbao
With its deep, crushed-raspberry colour and expressive bouquet, Finca Valhonta conjures up childhood memories of clandestine summer raids of the berry patch and orchard – a pocket full of raspberries and loganberries; cherries plucked hurriedly with their leaves (don’t tell my mother). After time in the glass, the vibrant and lilting aromas turn warmer and more rounded, if no less evocative: an undeserved mug of creamy hot chocolate; homemade bread fresh out of the oven. Rich, full and succulent in the mouth, with vital acidity and fine oak. Not an old-school Rioja, but a thoroughly authentic Rioja nonetheless, this is a single-vineyard 100% Tempranillo, from the ‘Grand Cru’ Finca Valhonta, which lies at 650m elevation on the southern slope of Sierra Cantabria: at the extreme upper limit of Rioja’s vine cultivation zone, and in the extreme northwest corner of the region.