We discovered this wonderful cafe/ bar ( cafe during the day and bar at night) strolling through Bilbao one evening at the start of a three week driving holiday across the North Coast of Spain. It is beautifully decorated with tile in jewel like hues which made the ambience seem very exotic. I ordered a glass of the house Rioja and it was unbelievably good - blackcurranty, slightly tannic but dry - the perfect accompaniment to the tapas which followed. Portions are generous - we ordered 3 tapas between us both and it was ample for a light supper. The "pulpo gallega" was the best we've tasted - the octopus was shaved quite finely so was melt-in-the-mouth rather than the more chunky offerings one sometimes has to chew for ages (my partner Tim nearly choked on a chunk of octopus once and I was seconds away from having to administer the Heimlich manoeuvre so as you can imagine, the texture of pulpo is a topic close to our heart).
On our return from our driving tour, we returned to Cafe Iruna just to have a glass of wine and to find out the name of the house Rioja we'd enjoyed so much. The bartender was literally overjoyed that we were so interested in the wine and so an informal tasting session began with him insisting that we try a sip of this and then a sip of that to really appreciate the different wines they had to offer in the region. At the end, he wouldn't let us pay for anything except the two glasses of wine we had originally ordered and he wouldn't accept a tip.
The house Rioja was Campo Burgo Crianza and the other notable Rioja we tried was Rioja Bordon Crianza. We've since bought the Rioja Bordon Reserva and that goes down extremely well too!
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