Ramon Bilbao's Gran Reserva 1998 features a tawny rim framing a lovely deep, ruby-red wine, with a dark cherry core. The aromas are very complex and open up after some airing, leading to balsamic fragrances, very ripe fruit and prominent quality wood. Leather and tobacco, with notes of fruits in liqueur, also appear. It has a well-balanced taste, with appreciable notes of cedar and coffee liqueur, leading to a long, persistent finish.
"This shares the rose-garden aromatics of Bilbao's 2001, a dark, earthy complexity joined
here to a more delicate, gentle red. Oak age has turned the texture to velvet and
contributed a range of spices, from cinnamon to cedar and licorice. Tightly built, this is
suited to roast leg of lamb with rosemary, or to several more years of aging." -Wine & Spirits, Sept 2007
I love a good Tempranillo...and this is one (although it's actually only 90%). I would give this a bit of air before drinking. This is very much tobacco to the nose. Once it hits the tongue, you get a good feel for the tobacco and spice, with a taste of cinnamon, a bit of leather, perhaps round, long earthy finish. This is one of the very best Tempranillo/Rioja's I have had in a very long time - I will buy, and buy, and buy again! Pair with hearty foods, lamb, beef, game.