Wine of the Day: Beronia “Gran Reserva” Rioja 2010

Beronia, Rioja, Spain

Waiting 10 years to open a bottle of wine can be difficult for any wine lover, especially a lover of well made Tempranillo. But, if you have the fortitude, the rewards are plentiful! This long aging with respect for tradition is the heart of Rioja wine, one of only two DOCa regions in Spain, with strict guidelines, different from the rest of the country, that define when a wine can be released to consumers based on the time the wine is aged in the barrel and before the wine can be released. And, for Reserva and Gran Reserva La Rioja wine, Beronia is one of the best.

Started in 1973 (a very good year for anything to be born) by a group of Basque businessmen who had a passion for great wine, good food, comradery, and celebration. From the start, the integration of wine into their gastronomy and culture was at the heart of who Beronia is and would be. The group began a gastronomic society, or a txoko as the Basque culture refers to them. At the heart of their foundation premium Reserva and Gran Reserva Rioja wines became the focus.

Located in the heart of some of La Rioja’s most premium vineyards in Rioja Alta, Beronia follows traditional practices while bringing in modern techniques. At the forefront of this is their use of French and American oak when aging their Tempranillo based wines. Tempranillo has an affinity for American oak, but after much testing and research, winemaker Matias Calleja found that if you age the wine in a mix of oaks, American oak staves with French oak barrel tops, a more balanced, refined, elegant wine could be produced.

Supple, smooth, slightly smoky, and incredible silky, Beronia Gran Reserva Rioja 2010 is concentrated, rich, and wonderfully textured. Though 10 years old, the wine maintains ripe fruit notes with freshness and good tannin structure, melding wild strawberry, blackberry, toasted almond, dark chocolate, and a bit of woody herb and menthol.  Aged 28 months in the barrel, and 36 months in the bottle prior to release, this beauty is ready to enjoy now, pairing with anything from braised beef or grilled steaks, or even aged sheep’s milk cheese. For a ten year old wine with such character and taste, this wine is a steal for around $30.