The 2013 vintage has been awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition review of Spanish Value Wines (under £20); (see blue link below).
Bodegas Beronia is quintessentially Rioja. Its wines are defined by the region and the soils in which the vines are grown, and its name linked to the history of the land where the winery is found. In the 3rd Century BC the area known as Rioja today was inhabited by a celtic tribe called the ‘Berones’. They inhabited the towns of Tricio, Varea and Leiva, marking the limits of the Berones region, today La Rioja. The founding ethos of Beronia is strongly allied to the origins of La Rioja.
Beronia was founded in 1973 by a group of businessmen, friends from the Basque country who would come to La Rioja on holiday. The friends had a great love of food and wine and created their own gastronomic society in the area. They decided to produce their own wines to enjoy with the local cuisine, specialising in Reserva and Gran Reserva style wines. Today Beronia is one of the most renowned Spanish wineries both in international and domestic markets, producing pure and traditional Rioja wines.
This wine is produced following a selection of the best grapes from the oldest vineyards. The grapes undergo prefermentative maceration followed by a slow and controlled fermentation with periodic pumping over to extract colour and aromas. Following this the wine is aged in mixed oak barrels of American Staves and French tops for 20 months to allow a paused and harmonic evolution. The American oak gives a sweet character of vanilla and coconut while the French oak gives spice, making for the perfect balance. This Reserva was bottled in November 2013 and was aged in bottle for 18 months before being released to the market.
Beronia Reserva shows an intense cherry red colour. On the nose, attractive aromas of candied fruits and plum conserve are in perfect harmony with sweet chocolate. On the palate this wine proves itself as being of great character with elegant tannins which give the wine both structure and body. It has a long finish.
This wine is perfect to serve with red meats, game and roasts.
Bodegas Beronia is quintessentially Rioja. Its wines are defined by the region and the soils in which the vines are grown, and its name linked to the history of the land where the winery is found. Beronia was founded in 1973 by a group of businessmen, friends from the Basque country who would come to La Rioja on holiday. The friends had a great love of food and wine and created their own gastronomic society in the area. They decided to produce their own wines to enjoy with the local cuisine, specialising in Reserva and Gran Reserva style wines. Today Beronia is one of the most renowned Spanish wineries both in international and domestic markets, producing pure and traditional Rioja wines.
Graciano is relatively scarce in the Rioja region, normally only used in blends with Tempranillo as it is ideal for ageing due to its high levels of acidity. It is an interesting variety which gives a unique aroma that is much more intense than other varieties in Rioja. During alcoholic fermentation great colour extraction takes place. The wine is then aged in new French oak barrels for six months. This wine was bottled in September 2013 and was released to the market after 6 months of sitting in bottle.
Beronia Graciano 2012 shows an intense black cherry colour. On the nose it has intense aromas of petals and red fruits. Touches of green pepper blended with dried fruits almonds and walnuts. On the palate it is fresh and lively with balanced acidity. There are chocolate notes as well as hints of cranberry and cocoa. This is an elegant, fresh and well structured wine with sweet tannins and a velvety texture.
2013 vintage Awarded 89 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2016 edition review of best-buy Rioja (see blue link below).
The grapes for this wine were collected at the beginning of October. Following harvest, the grapes underwent cold maceration for a few days in order to extract aromas and colour (but not tannins). Alcoholic fermentation took place at a (low) temperature of less than 26ºC with periodic pumping over. The wine was then aged in mixed oak barrels of American staves and French tops for 12 months giving both vanilla notes from the American oak and spice from the French oak. The wine was bottled in January 2016 and remained in bottle for 3 months before being released to the market.
This Beronia Crianza shows an intense cherry colour. Attractive nose with red fruits and floral aromas in perfect harmony with mineral and cocoa notes. A balanced and sweet palate with the fruit and liquorice standing out over a base of chocolate and coffee. Persistant and well structured.
This wine is made using the following grapes: 82% Tempranillo, 14% Garnacha and 4% Mazuelo.
The 2009 vintage was Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition review of Mature Rioja (see blue link below).
For the production of this Gran Reserva, the best grapes from the oldest vineyards were hand-harvested. Following the harvest, the best bunches were selected in the winery. The grapes then underwent a slow and controlled alcoholic fermentation with periodic pumping over to extract colour and aromas. Following this, the wine remained in French oak barrels for 26 months.
Beronia Gran Reserva 2009 shows a powerful and deep maroon colour. On the nose, it is intense and complex with dried fruits (such as dates) standing out over a base of chocolate and sweet spice from the French oak. On the palate this wine is silky and meaty with pleasant tannins, giving structure and complexity. This wine shows great personality with body, elegance and intense flavours.
This Gran Reserva is best when decanted before serving due to the long time it has spent ageing in the bottle. It is ideal when served with red meats, game, mature cheeses and also with chocolate desserts. Drink it now or you can keep this wine until 2024 before opening it.
Bodegas Beronia is quintessentially Rioja. Its wines are defined by the region and the soils in which the vines are grown, and its name linked to the history of the land where the winery is found. In the 3rd Century BC the area known as Rioja today was inhabited by a celtic tribe called the ‘Berones’. The founding ethos of Beronia is strongly allied to the origins of La Rioja. Beronia was founded in 1973 by a group of businessmen, friends from the Basque country who would visit La Rioja on holiday. They decided, to produce their own wines to enjoy with the local cuisine, specialising in Reserva and Gran Reserva style wines. Today Beronia is one of the most renowned Spanish wineries, producing traditional Rioja wines with personality and Beronia style.
This unique wine undergoes double fermentation, both alcoholic and malolactic, in American oak barrels. The wine remains for a total of 9 months in the same barrels with periodic batonage. Bottled in March 2015 the wine continued ageing for another 6 months before being released to the market.
Intense and deep cherry colour with high intensity. An unusual nose with red fruits and notes of chocolate, cocoa, liquorice and cinnamon from the American oak. Shows a harmonious palate with the cherry dominating. Well integrated oak after 9 months in barrel. Round and fresh, ideal for those looking for something different.
Perfect with smoked meats or fish, patés and cured meats. Recomended consumption over the next 5 years.
We like this because it is a stunning, unusual, boutique-but-affordable Rioja made from 100% Tempranillo (rare in a Rioja, more the preserve of Riberas) that is full-bodied and fruit-packed with a lighter balance of oak.
Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2017 edition review of premium Riojas (see blue link below)...
... and also 89 points in the March 2018 edition review of Mature Rioja.
Bodegas Urbina is a winery which has been in the Urbina family for four generations since 1870. The present winery was designed, built and run by the family in 1986 and was created to facilitate producing fine wines. Urbina has 75 hectares of vineyards located at two main vineyard sites - the first is at Cuzcurrita de Rio Turon, a well-known area for producing Riojas capable of ageing for many years and the others are at Uruñuela, in the heart of the Rioja DOC, which consistently produces wines of great quality and body. The grapes used are from vines aged over 20 years old. The vines are grown in accordance with traditional practices, no herbicides and limited use of pesticides and fungicides.
The Urbina Gran Reserva is harvested by hand and the skins remain in contact with the must for 28 days. It is then fermented at a temperature of 28°C using indigenous yeast. The wine is matured for 24 months in American oak before being bottled and matured for another 48 months before being released for sale.
The Urbina Gran Reserva 1996 has a splendid ripe, complex nose, is reddish-garnet in colour with harmonious and well-balanced oak and fruit tannins. It also displays intense rich fruit, great finesse and velvet smoothness on the palate. It goes perfectly with slow roasted lamb shoulder or with game - particularly duck and pheasant.
Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition review of Mature Rioja (see blue link below).
Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2017 edition review of premium Rioja (see blue link below).
... and awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2016 edition review of best-buy Rioja (see blue link below).
Bodegas Urbina is a family run winery with four generations of dedication to grape growing and winemaking since 1870. The present winery was designed, built and run by the family Urbina since 1986 and has been created solely to facilitate the production of fine wines. Commercial winemaking within the DOC Rioja dates from 1870 and takes place in ancient underground Cuzcurrita drafts.
This wine comes from the best grapes grown on the Estate and it is made using grapes from vines that are all more than 20 years old. It is fermented at a controlled temperature of 28°C and is macerated for the final 28 days, followed by at least 36 months in oak and a further 48 months ageing in bottle.
The Urbina Gran Reserva 1994 is a dark ruby colour with a thin mahogany rim. It has a complex nose, showing splendid maturity, with mineral aromas, ripe fruit, figs, cherries, plums, tomato jam and dried apricots, cigar box, cherry blossom, harmonious and well defined spicy hints of cinnamon, vanilla and clove. Some leather, snuff leaves and nutmeg. There is also a hint of musk, incense and kola nut. it has a base of toffee candy, and balsamic notes, so is both fresh and elegant. On the palate, the flavours are harmonious and balanced, with oak and fruit tannins, showing great elegance and velvety softness, as well as a wonderful length.
Please take a look at a superb snippet of information about this wine from the winemakers themselves by clicking on the blue link below.
The 2010 vintage was Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition review of Mature Rioja (see blue link below).
Their vineyards are located close to the winery, in the municipality of Haro. 250 hectares of vines make it the largest property in the area, and the Reserva and Gran Reserva are a true reflection of the area. With an average vine age in excess of 25 years, they endeavour to make wines with the utmost balance. The Tempranillo is enhanced with the addition of Graciano, which only matures in great vintages. Those are the vintages when they make Gran Reserva, as it is not made every year.
2011 was a year marked by a dry winter and a rainy spring which favoured vine growth. Fruit setting was irregular due to the rains in May and June. The harvest was characterised by a lack of rain and it commenced early on. A very dry summer with high temperatures speeded up final ripening. In some cases we detected a great deal of vine stress due to drought with a slight imbalance between alcoholic and phenolic ripening. On the other hand, vineyards that usually present more vigour ripened very well this year, yielding good berry quality, Vine health was practically perfect. With proper aging, in order to soften their structure, the wines show a great deal of intensity and cellaring potential.
Viña Pomal Gran Reserva is made following traditional vinification methods. The grapes are selected manually in the vineyards. At the winery, they are destemmed and crushed before undergoing a moderately long maceration in tanks. After alcoholic and malolactic fermentation, the wines are racked and aged in 225 litre Bordeaux barrels, traditionally American oak. After ageing in barrels for one year, the wine is racked back to tanks. This is when the blend for the Gran Reserva is determined, and 10% Graciano, a minority Rioja variety, is added to the Tempranillo. The wine is fined with egg whites and put in barrels again for another year to complete its two years’ ageing in oak. After its stay in barrels, the wine spends a further year in oak vats, where the natural cleaning and assembly process concludes. After ageing for another three years in the bottle, the vinification of this unique Rioja wine is complete.
Garnet and cherry hues introduce this bright Gran Reserva with light orange reflections on the rim. The unique vinification process of this Gran Reserva provides a complex, elegant nose with notes of liquorice and red fruit, typical of the Tempranillo, along with hints of spices subtly added by the Graciano. During bottle ageing, all of this is assembled with toasty and balsamic aromas (vanilla, pepper, tobacco) contributed by the barrels. As the wine airs in the glass, it discloses its full range of nuances and complex aromas. In the mouth, it reflects our surroundings, with a mild entry and a sense of elegance and balance, ending in long persistence, denoting the craft of barrel ageing and the assemblage provided by a long stay in the bottle.
The winemaker does not consider that it is necessary to decant this wine which is ready to drink now and over the next ten years.
The Escudero family owns 150 hectares of vineyards. The vines average 50 years of age, and some are more than a century old. The fourth generation of the Escudero family have taken on the various responsibilities of the company including viticulture, management and administration. They have an immense respect for the environment and always follow their commitment to offering customers excellent quality wines. Arvum is made as a tribute to their parents.
To see the Escudero family's tasting notes and technical sheet for this wine please click on the blue link below.
Bodegas LAN is located in the heart of Rioja Alta. Founded in 1972, Bodegas LAN was named after the initials of the three provinces in the Rioja Designation of Origin: Logroño (now La Rioja), Álava and Navarra. María Barua has been the head winemaker and technical director since 2002, and brings both scientific expertise, with an academic background in chemistry in addition to her oenology degree, and local knowledge, being born, raised and educated in Rioja. She and her young and energetic team focus not only on understanding the technical details of winemaking, but also on ‘expressing the virtues of the land’.
Grapes are selected from 10-20 year old vines from Bodegas LAN’s long-standing winegrowers in the Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa subzones. Sloped plots of calcerous clay soils with good drainage and sun exposure produce grapes of excellent flavour concentration.
The 2011 vintage was among the best of the past 30 years. Despite drought in certain areas, vine and canopy development was uniform and excellent across the region. The warm weather meant there were only low incidences of pests and diseases, which made for a good crop of healthy and evenly ripened fruit.
Fermentation took place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks, at temperatures between 28-30°C and lasted for three weeks. During fermentation, pumping over was used to maximise extraction of colour and flavour. The wine was then aged in a mixture of American and French oak for a minimum of 16 months, followed by a 24-month period of bottle ageing.
Bodegas LAN Reserva 2011 is intense garnet in colour. Aromas of bright red fruits are layered with notes of vanilla and spices from oak ageing. The palate is exceptionally well structured and fleshy. The complex fruit and oak aromas are concentrated and long-lasting on the finish.
Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2019 edition article: The Most Exciting Wines of 2018 (see blue link below).
Roda was founded in 1987 by Mario Rotllant and Carmen Daurella. They arrived in La Rioja with the firm intention of creating a project able to provide the world of winemaking with something new. This is where their fascinating, ambitious, exigent and unprecedented adventure began. Bodegas Roda is located at the edge of the river Ebro, in the Railway Station District (Barrio de la Estación) in Haro.
Roda uses bush vines that are over 30 years old and yields are limited to 1.5 kgs per vine to encourage phenolic maturity which results in depth and complexity on the palate. The 14 Tempranillo vineyards used to produce Roda I are located near Haro, the historic heart of La Rioja Alta. Aged in French oak barriques for 16 months (50% new and 50% second use) and 36 months in bottle prior to release. The “high” temperatures in March and April caused an early budding of 15 days compared to 2010. During the month of July, the temperatures dropped, the average monthly temperature of 19ºC, and the differences with 2010 were reduced to one week at veraison. The low rainfall in the summer months and the high temperatures of August and September, with a lower production of the vineyard, made that the harvest come early, between 15 and 20 days, compared to 2010.
High layer with dark red background. The Roda I 2011 has a beautiful nose, intense with black fruit and reddish details. The plum becomes the protagonist among cherries and sweet spices. There are waves of aromas that rise from the depth leaving memories of earth and minerals. The wood is almost imperceptible among the spices. The mouth is wide, powerful and delicate at the same time. Very cozy and pleasant, combining sweetness and freshness. The tannin is very fine and you can feel, between the silkiness of the black plums, the chocolate notes and the memory of a cigar box.
Bodegas Valdemar is the fruit of five generations of a family which, since 1889, has dedicated all its passion and work to cultivating and caring for the vines, loyal to the philosophy of producing wines exclusively from its own vineyards.
An underground stone cellar, in Oyón is where more than 125 years of history started. Joaquín Martínez Bujanda built it to age the wines that he made from his vineyards. From day one, this family's passion has come from the same place, the land and the vineyard itself. Their wines unite the dreams and passions of several generations. Since the 1980’s Conde Valdemar has become a point of reference in Rioja by making wines that stand out because of their quality. It is acknowledged as one of the wineries in La Rioja with a longstanding tradition and history of producing Gran Reserva wines - true oenological treasures that are proof of the greatness and know-how of the winemaker.
Conde Valdemar Gran Reserva is the great jewel of the winery. The elegance of the Tempranillo grape is very well displayed in this rounded, tasty wine rich in aromas and nuances. Bodegas Valdemar is one of the most prestigious wineries and with more history in making Grandes Reservas of Rioja. This wine spent 30 months maturing in French oak barrels and was subsequently bottled in June 2012.
This wine displays a bright cherry colour with light red-brick tones provided by the oak ageing. It has complex and interesting aromas to ripe red fruits harmoniously integrated with spicy touches as well as some pleasant balsamic notes. It is well balanced in the mouth, with body and strength. There are soft tannins which are both fleshy and expressive. It has a long finish and is very persistent. This is a wine with a long life.
This wine matches perfectly with red meat, stews and roasted food as well as game. It is particularly well suited to cold meats and cheeses.