Late to the gates, let’s make Thirsty Thursday’s recommendation quick.
My seventh anniversary is near. To taste what pre-marital freedom was like, I turn to a wine cellared for five years, 2006’s Gran Reserva from Beronia in Rioja, Spain (around $30).
Aromas: smell intensely of deep, warm pomegranate, tobacco, black tea, cocoa, and lavender.
Palate: feels bone dry, with mouth-cleansing acidity, ripped tannins, moderately high alcohol, and a fullish body, and dusty yet fruity texture.
Flavors: taste powerfully, oddly, of fresh tart blackberries and purple prunes, classic French oak cigar at full burn, without a sliver of American oak, mineral slate, lavender and blueberry jam round off the long finish.
Beronia’s best narrowly manages to not go overboard with intensity and structure. Toasted oak planks lay on berries like a collapsed house. The two years in only French barrels seem to overwhelm the fruit, yet which itself provides a massive black core. One had better find red meat or flounder.
But for our sakes, three extra years cellaring in bottle have just begun to integrate what must have been a jangly mess originally. I hate to call a 9 year old wine too young, but honestly, a few more quiet years would mellow this brash wine.
Beronia’s Gran Reserva is modern Spain chasing the coattails of modern Bordeaux and overall it succeeds (4 of 5). Maybe it just needs to find someone special and settle down for a while.