Wine Awards 2010: Best in Show

January 2, 2010

Spain $24.99 +216770

[ Medium Red ] Bodegas Beronia was founded in 1973, so by Rioja standards, it’s new. But there’s nothing modern about the way the wine looks and smells and tastes. In fact, this is about as self-consciously old-fashioned as wine can be. And in a world full of snazzy me-toos all clamouring for recognition, a deliberately old-style wine is a deeply attractive prospect. Our judges adored this wine—their collective tasting note could be summarized as “what a relief”—and we think you will, too.

The traditional Rioja recipe focuses on extended barrel ageing. The idea is not to add oaky flavours to the wine; rather, it is to accelerate the maturation process so that the wine is as rounded and mellow as possible. The Beronia Reserva 2004 is quite pale in colour and relatively light in body, but it’s full of flavour. The taste is beautifully different: only indigenous grape varieties Tempranillo, Mazuelo, and Graciano are used. The flavour is complex: plums, raspberries, vanilla, coconut. Most of all, the wine is graceful enough to make you want to slow down and pay attention. The next thing you know, you’re lingering for an extra hour over lunch. Is that such a bad thing?

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