Are you, like me, dusting down the glasses and polishing the decanters?  Does the imminent festive spirit weigh heavy on your mind… the great grapes day loom wild in your thoughts?  

Beronia Rioja 2010 Especial

Maybe I am overdoing it, but the truth is I don't need much encouragement to open a bottle of wine.  Tell me it is International Tempranillo Day and I am all over it like a rash of itchy bacon.

The Great Grape's Saint's Day is on Thursday.  Consider this a warm up…  I have just opened a bottle of Beronia Rioja 2010 Tempranillo, Elaboration Especial.  Does it live up to the name?

Tempranillo is grape for many occasions, a grape that can aid laughter, food, ceremony or solitary confinement.  It is a grape that I have turned to in times of need and in times that found me bereft of fortune but yearning fun and pleasure.  So here I find myself eulogising in the warm-up to International Tempranillo Eve.

This Beronia Rioja 2010 is modern from the outside in.  The packaging doesn't look like a bottle of Rioja.  Perhaps this is a good thing.  Many lesser producers seemed to be going as far they could to exude an age-old antique Spanish charm and it worked… until you tasted the wine.  They tended to be too oaky or lacking the quality that one always hopes to relive when one opens rioja.  

I am pleased to say this wine is subtle on the oak.  The first flavour that strikes the senses is liquorice.  It is a good omen on opening as it often implies something complex lying therein.  After a little air, the wine starts to breathe freely and the more strawberry and cherry fruit aromas emerge.  It is not opaque but just translucent and light in the mouth.  I've enjoyed it with a chicken breast fried in onion and rustic herbs with peppers.  The whole formula is delicious.  The Beronia continues to lend kindness and support to the whole evening and I am still drinking it as I type.  

This is a good wine for enjoying at home or with friends.  Try to take a little time to savour the flavours.  Probably burn the evening oil with Radio 3 on the wireless playing their calming rythms.

You can buy this from Waitrose or ocado.co.uk for about the £10 mark.  

Rejoice, Rejoice, St Tempranillo!

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