This Thursday’s tasting is the kind of thing we dream about. But instead of just being a figment of our imagination, this lineup is actually happening! A tasting like this is usually reserved only for those in the wine industry. Don’t miss these wines from 5-8pm. There probably won’t be any left the next day . . .
We will be taking you on a tour of Spain’s famous Rioja region, using the amazing work of the great Estate of Bodegas Beronia. In short, we will be your hosts, but Beronia is providing the great historical landmarks. We will, in effect, be tasting the whole history of winemaking in Rioja, starting from the famous white wine called Viura, to the gradual increase in barrel-age time and rarity that begins with the “Crianza” designation and builds to the regal Gran Reserva category.
One thing we would like to emphasize is that even though the gradual increase in time spent in oak, the wines do not necessarily just get more oak-driven in nature. A great house like Bodegas Beronia keeps the wine balanced, and this is indeed the secret to something phenomenal. So while the wines get progressively more intense, they do keep a nice edge of acidity and structure.
Here’s the lineup, in order of pouring:
2012 Bodegas Beronia Viura (Rioja, Spain)
The Rioja’s most famous white grape(which also can come in Crianza and Reserva categories, but that is very rare these days) is a delicate yet expressive wonder. The Bodegas Beronia tastes in line with the winemaking tradition for the last hundred years: fresh and light apple, pear, and citrus show a slight herbal edge, lingering very nicely through the finish.
2009 Bodegas Beronia Tempranillo (Rioja, Spain)
The “lowest” designation in terms of oak, and considered to be the most like table wine in that it should be consumed soon (not intended for aging). However, this version by Bodegas Beronia has the acidity and structure to age beautifully, we think. A very, very traditional style here with classic aromas and flavors of dried cherry, crushed tobacco leaf, red plum and floral notes on the finish.
2008 Bodegas Beronia Crianza (Rioja, Spain)
Spending at least a year in oak and then a year aging in the bottle (in a very grand looking cellar we might add), the Crianza takes on remarkably different details. Elegantly smooth and somewhat dense, this delivers gorgeous notes of cherry along with licorice and oak spice, hinting almost at fig at the end. Spectacular. This uses mostly Tempranillo but also rounds out the blend with touches of Garnacha and Mazuelo (also known as Carignan) for added levels of complexity.
2007 Bodegas Beronia Reserva (Rioja, Spain)
This time the wine is aged in oak for also one year, but spends two years “resting” in the bottle. In additional, the grape Graciano, itself intense and highly aromatic, is used in a very small amount along with Tempranillo and Garnacha. The result is a completely different style it seems, with darker, somewhat sweeter details coming through like chocolate, cola, and smoke mingling with the black plum and cedar. Fantastical! A great wine to spend a whole evening with, swirling and tasting over several hours to observe the changes.
2006 Bodegas Beronia Gran Reserva (Rioja, Spain)
This wine perhaps won’t be everyone’s favorite, but it is hard to explain how amazing it is to taste a Gran Reserva at this price point and this well made. The flavor profile reveals right away how the two years in oak and at least three years of bottle aging bring a lovely integration of details and flavors, like hearing the various sections of a orchestra rise and fall during a majestic symphony. Quite dark and brooding, this has classic plum in the lead, decorated with smoky licorice, mushroom and even some elements of damp pine needles. Meanwhile, all of the flavors are framed by a clean mineral structure and brisk acidity. A work of art, truly.