First things first. What the heck do all those words on the label mean? Rioja? Crianza? Beronia?

Let’s dive into that so you can have an idea on what to expect for this wine, before you even taste it. In case you didn’t hear – I wrote a book! In it, I’ll show you how to do this on your own for your own favorite wines or when shopping at your local stores. It’s only 25 pages of reading, and the rest is tasting sheets for you to use as you try your favorite and new wines. Check it out on Amazon, here!

First, the producer of this wine is Beronia. Beronia is a larger producer and has various aging levels of wine.

Crianza is a term that refers to aging. It’s one of the shortest aging period, 1 year at least in oak, and 2 years aging total before release to stores. This is the base level for Beronia. They also sell reserva and grand reserva wines which have been aged longer. The aging in barrels can take place in french or American oak.

Fun Fact: Something unique about Beronia is that they use American oak staves (the long boards on the barrel) and french oak ends (the flat circles on either side of the barrels). Some producers will simply put a portion of the wine in American oak and other portions in French oak and then blend them. Beronia believes that by using “mixed” barrels the flavors are more rounded and seamless.

Rioja is the region. There are three main areas of Rioja, Alta, Baja (Oriental) and Alavesa. If the label simply says Rioja, then the wine can come from any of these three regions or a combination of them. Rioja Alta and Alavesa are higher altitude wines, and thereby have more concentration and finesse with more minerality. Rioja Oriental will be bigger, fuller and darker.

The grapes…. are… not on the label…… or are they? This is where wine law comes into play. Rioja is based on Tempranillo grapes. Garnacha (Grenache) can be added for red fruit characteristics and Mazuelo (Carignan) can also be added for color and depth. Sometimes Graciano (another native Spanish grape) is also added for fruit profiles. Some winemakers will say on the bottle what percentage the blend is, others will not. This is where experimentation comes in with trying new producers and if you really like one, google the wine’s tech sheet (i.e. Beronia Crianza Rioja 2017 tech sheet, it’ll tell you all about the wine) to see what the blend is. Then you can google other producers you see at the store to see if they have similar blends you may like.

Now for the tasting! I am studying for the WSET 3 exam and I am trying to taste in a way that supports their Systematic Approach to Tasting, so this format is a little different than my book. However, the end results will be the same.

Wine: Beronia Rioja Crianza 2017

Appearance: This is a clear, medium ruby wine.

Nose: This is a youthful, clean wine with medium light intensity. There are well-defined aromas of ripe strawberries, raspberries, red cherry and black cherries. There are also notes of cloves, vanilla and coconut.

Palate: The palate is dry with medium plus acidity, medium plus tannin, medium alcohol, medium minus body, medium plus finish and medium plus flavor intensity. There are notes of raspberries, strawberries, black cherry, licorice, vanilla, cedar and coconut.

Assessment of Quality: This is a good wine.

Level of Readiness for Drinking: This wine is good to drink now and suitable for further aging.

How do you think I did? If you have any feedback on how I can do better or if you have any questions, let me know!