Waitrose: Beronia Reserva Rioja £9.99 reduced from £13.49
I don’t know about you but I always find Rioja – with its juicy strawberry and vanilla tones – such an approachable wine (read: gluggable). It’s undemanding, you can drink it young or age it and you don’t have to stress about what dish would complement it: Rioja seems to get on well with most things that would typically pair with red wine (so not a wimpy green salad, for example).
Another great thing about Rioja is value for money: the price range is broad – there is a good selection for under £10 – but serious wine buffs can have fun seeking out more complex wines without remortgaging.
The region of Rioja is nestled in north Spain, north east from Madrid. The typical Rioja blend is dominated by the Tempranillo grape – which provides those lovely red berry flavours and also structure and ageing potential. Often included is fleshy, fruity Garnacha (Grenache) grapes, which bring power and alcohol to the party. The other three red grapes of Rioja are Mazuelo, Graciano and Maturana Tinta. Rioja was practically synonymous with sweet-vanilla wines – from ageing in American oak barrels – but nowadays, there are other styles emerging. Some, for example, where the wines is subjected to a much shorter ageing process in French oak instead. Personally I love the distinctive vanilla in a traditional Rioja!
Rioja comes in all shapes and sizes and I would deem this one pretty full-bodied. Slightly more unusual is that I got lots of black fruit from it – blackcurrants and baked damsons – rather than the archetypal strawberries. However, the finish is definitely Rioja, sweet vanilla and coffee, but not too overpowering.
At a glance:
- Style? Full bodied red wine
- Where’s it from? Rioja, Spain
- What’s the grape? 90% Tempranillo, 5% Manuelo, 5% Graciano
- Tastes of? Blackcurrants, with a tang of redcurrants, touch of herbs, spice and a coffee-vanilla finish
- What food would complement it? Roast vegetables, BBQ food, most pasta & grain dishes (I had it with a rye bread wrap filled with beetroot, salad leaves & hazelnut dressing)