One day this week we had the opportunity to become reacquainted with the wines of the La Rioja region of Spain. Bodegas Beronia conducted the seminar luncheon which took place at at the Boa Steakhouse in West Hollywood.
Beronia was founded in 1973 and its wines have brought renewed attention to the quality of La Rioja vintages that has been growing grapes since the third century B.C.
Tempranillo is the main grape selected for making the wines but other local varietals include Graciano, Mazuelo, Granacha and Viura.
Matias Valleja, Beronia winemaker and technical director, was present and conducted the seminar and we were much interested in how he uses barrels in producing such outstanding wines. He has combined both American and French oak in single barrels using American staves and french tops.
Beronia wines on average enjoy years of aging in these barrels and then continue aging in bottles.
Included in the wines we tasted that afternoon was Berroia Rioja Gran Reserva from 1973. This 43 year old wine was remarkable for how well it had retained its flavors while developing a subtle smooth finish.
We gave high points to Beronia Rioja 2012 Tempranillo which we thought outstanding and with a remarkably moderate price.
The white wine served was Beronia Rueda Verdejo 2014 and it offered an intense nose and dry fruit on the palate. Again at a most modest price.
Beronia wines are part of the Gonzalez Byass Family Winery that was first established in 1935. Christopher Canale-Parola, western manager for the Byass Family de Vino, was also present at the seminar and tasting and we enjoyed our chat with him following the event.