Tag Archives: tempranillo

Expensive wine 37: Beronia Rioja Gran Reserva 2001

beronia Rioja Gran ReservaThe Wine Curmudgeon loves Rioja. The Spanish red, produced in the northern region of Rioja and made mostly with tempranillo, is food friendly, classy, and a tremendous value. One can buy Gran Reserva, the best made of the three levels of Rioja, for pennies on the dollar compared to similar quality wines from the world’s other top wine regions. And $10 Riojas are almost always equally as excellent values.

The Beronia ($28, purchased) is a more modern style of Rijoa, which means it’s bit higher in alcohol and has fresher, more forward fruit. It’s still the classic cherry that Rioja is known for, but a lot more noticeable. And modern though it may be, it still smells like a Rioja (I’d say funky; the correct winespeak is probably spicy or earthy) and it posseses the lively acidity and well-integrated oak that these wines are famous for.

One of the favorite moments in my wine career was a lunch in a small town in Rioja, with a bottle of Crianza (the basic level of Rioja), roast baby lamb and canned white asparagus. I can still taste the way the lamb and the wine went together, and it makes me smile whenever I think about it.

And a tip o’ the Curmudgeon’s fedora to Laurie Daniel, who judged with me at last week’s Dallas Morning News-TexSom competition, and donated this bottle to the cause because she didn’t want to cram it in her luggage. Much appreciated, Laurie.

Mini-reviews 20: Stone Hill, Souverain, Spy Valley, Vertus

Reviews of wines that don ?t need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the final Friday of each month (Thursday this month because of the holiday).

? Stone Hill Vignoles 2009 ($16, sample): Lots of pineapple, but not all that sweet with a long peach pit finish. An excellent example of what can be done with this hybrid grape from one of Missouri’s top producers.

? Souverain Sauvignon Blanc 2009 ($14, sample): This wine is one of the reasons why I love wine, and it has nothing to do with whether I “liked” it or not. The Souverain is done in a style I don’t usually care for, oaked sauvignon blanc, but it’s so well done that I can appreciate what it offers and recommend it.

? Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2009 ($18, purchased): More wonderfullness from what may be the best sauvignon blanc in the world. Look for even less citrus and more tropical fruit than usual, which is saying something since Spy Valley is among the least citrus-y of the New Zealand sauvignon blancs.

? Bodegas Iranzo Vertus 2003 ($15, sample): Tempranillo from a less well-known part of Spain, and well worth the effort. More fresh cherry fruit than a Rijoa, lots of bright Spanish acidity and even a bit of herb tucked in. Highly recommended.