Hello friends. We have a great tariff today on a category that is as popular as it gets with our list members: prime-drinking-window Rioja Reserva:
As you can see, we have what I think is about as low a price as you can find on this one. The reason why is a little inside-baseball, so if you don’t really care about the structure of the wine trade, go ahead and skip the next paragraph.
Okay, wine trade geeks. So imported wines generally come to us one of two ways. The first (and more common) is from producer to importer to distributor to us. The second is from producer directly to distributor to us. When a distributor brings a wine in directly from an out-of-country producer, they call it one of their “direct import” bottles or “DI” bottles. DI is also tossed around as a verb, as in “yeah, bro, we totally DI’d this one; that’s why the price is so low.”
Beronia had come into Seattle through the more traditional route, but recently, one of our excellent importer/distributor partners began DI-ing, and they passed most of the savings onto us. Which is great. Because now a Reserva that we would have offered for $17-$20 we can tick just under $15.
Now all that trade geekery means nothing if the wine is pedestrian, but Beronia is anything but. They were founded in the early 1970s (which makes them a total newbie by Rioja standards) by a Spanish gastronomic society in Rioja Alta dedicated to the preservation of traditional styles, and they are now owned by famed sherry house Gonzales-Byass.
What never ceases to amaze with Rioja is the quality of fruit and (especially) the length of aging that we get for such competitive tariffs. This is 90% Tempranillo, rounded out with small amounts of Graciano and Mazuelo. It spent twenty months in barrel and has now been in bottle for another four years.
It begins with a lovely nose that is right in that tweener stage between primary and maturing. There is still fresh fruit, deep and black and dusted with star anise, and there is also that classic maturing Tempranillo-in-American-oak nose of shitake-meets-bay-leaf-meets-cedar. That earthy, complex, appetizing nose is confirmed by a palate-coating mouthful of savory mushroom stock, brambly leafy blackberry/black cherry fruit, and Dr. Pepper spice. There’s such generosity, such pleasure for the tariff.
“Pleasure” is a word that shows up a few times in famed British wine critic Jancis Robinson’s note: Purple Pages (Jancis Robinson): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD].”
And of course we can’t ignore the drinking window. Jancis says 2011-2017, and I’m inclined to agree that we’re smack in the middle of prime drinking time for this lovely wine. That is the true beauty of Spain, and of Rioja in particular, one of the last remaining regions that is willing to age our wines for us. No cellars necessary to drink perfectly mature wines.
First come first served up to 24 bottles, and the wine should arrive in about a week, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.