Wine of the Week: Beronia Crianza 2015 Rioja DOCa

“This wine is too good for toast-drinking, my dear. You don't want to mix emotions up with a wine like that. You lose the taste.” ― Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

Hooray, it's Wednesday, you can see the weekend from here. It's time for the wine of the week, and for those of you not familiar with the Rioja region of Spain, it's a place guarded by mountains on all three sides, taking its name from a tributary of the Ebro, called the Rio Oja. It's also a region which delivers high quality, perfectly aged and ready to drink wines for relatively speaking, uber attractive prices.

I say ready to drink because unlike most new world wine producers these wines from Rioja, are aged for you, so when they do arrive, they have well-developed flavors and aromas which are ready to rock, once the cork is popped. This bottle reminds of my week-long odyssey into the heartbeat of Rioja.

The styles of wine can really run the gamut in Rioja, between how long they are aged, traditional vs. modern, the type of oak (American vs French) and a majority of the prices points will yield many wonderful bargains as well. If that little intro whet your appetite to know more about this sparkling gem on the Spanish wine scene and you are looking for a bit more information on the area, I found a helpful website, which will give you a little more depth on the subject, just click here.

For those you traveling outside the comfy confines of let's say California for example, you will find that the Rioja region much different than what you may be used to in California's wine country of Napa or Sonoma. Why, because many of the small growers sell their grapes to merchants or co-operative cellars instead of bottling their wines. But that is changing, growers are seeking ways to market their wines independently, with their own label.

Secondly, they have barrel aging and bottle aging restrictions, which is not a requirement for California winemakers. Third, Rioja has a wine control board, called the Consejo Regulador DOCa Rioja, which works to ensure the consistency of style, representative of the region. Again, there's no such oversight in the domestic U.S. market, winemakers here can choose just about any method they like for the wines they produce.

The vast majority [75%] of the vino produced in this region is red wine and is generated primarily from the wine bearing Tempranillo grape. It's also true that many wines produced in this region are composed of a blend, typically small amounts of Graciano, Garnacha, and Mazuelo to round out any inefficiencies. Speaking of blending, much of the wine you'll find labeled Rioja that you encounter on wine store shelves today will be a blend of one of the Rioja's sub-regions, the Alavesa, Alta and Baja and the capital is La Rioja.

Our mission at Cuvee Corner is wine, wine-travel, wine-pairing, and tasting discovery, making the complex knowable. To make wine more accessible to the masses. To shine a light in the dark cellars, uncovering wines which fit our favorite catchphrase "You can pay more, but you seldom get more." Life is short, drink like a prince on a paupers budget, drink wines of place and learn why wines of effort are just that.

Beronia Crianza 2015: Here comes the tasting note. A delicious blend of 88% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha, 2% Mazuel; aged in both French and American oak for 12 months, bottled in September of 2017, and kept for 3 months before being released. A plum colored red core, showing its traditional bona fides right away, sporting traditional meaty, cherry aromas and flavors, the palate is immediately enveloped by soft tannins, aromas of vanilla and strawberries smeared over fresh toast. A well-made wine truly representative of the region, a plush palate, drinks well from the bottle and has me searching for a paella recipe. 

The finish is mostly in the mid-palate, but it's chock-full of easy drinking light berry flavors which will meld effortlessly with a variety of menu options. So, you have a great food wine that really delivers for a price that's right. I gave this wine of a score of 90 points. Again another wine with excellent QPR selling under $20.

Full Disclosure: Reviewed wines are from medias sample provided (not for sale) for the review process.

All original content: Including text and photographs remain the copyright of the author, (W.R. Eyer) except where otherwise noted.

Map provided by American Sommelier


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