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Sunday, 17 April 2016

The Gonzalez Byass Spain-Off

A Spain-off between Gonzalez Byass brands Beronia and Finca Constancia at Camino Bankside

Bodegas Beronia is a traditional winery based in Rioja while Finca Constancia, based in Toledo, dates back only to 2001.

Patrician Matias Calleja is winemaker for Beronia; fresh-faced Beatriz Paniagua, winemaker at Finca Constancia, is apparently the oldest person at the winery.

I started by trying a wine they had made together, the soon-to-be-released Rueda, before tasting flights of the same grape from each winery.

What emerged, especially from the reds, is a generational difference; Matias' red wines are oak-led, with complex and sophisticated but prominent oaking. By contrast, Beatriz's wines have an up-front vibrant freshness that feels more youthful and contemporary.

I find I can't choose between them - they are both great examples of their style and both excellently made; just very different styles from very different terroirs.
However, their first wine is an oenological duet - a 100% Verdejo, blended from two different wines made by each. Based on a shared vision, it combines early-harvested wine for freshness and late harvested wine for texture with lees aging for full persistence.

Aperitif / vegetable starters:

Beronia Rueda 2015 (£8.99 Ocado, Waitrose - from May) pure, aromatic and fresh, with vibrant citrussy acidity and leesy persistence.

Finca Constancia Parcela 52 Verdejo (£10.32 Cambridge Wine Merchants) stone fruits, fennel and honey aromas; bigger, more complex and old-school than the Rueda.

Matched with spiced aubergine, the less-expressive Finca Constancia stood up to the strong flavours and bitter chili heat while the lighter Rueda was overpowered.

Meat starter:
Graciano is usually added in modest quantities to Rioja as an "improving" variety for its colour, acidity, florality and elegance; the varietal commonalities of these wines were at first more noticeable than the differences from terroir.

As an aside, I would not match a floral red to pork - better would be a big white.

Beronia Graciano (£14.99 Hennings Wine) vibrant, fresh, floral and juicy

Finca Constancia Parcela 12 Graciano (currently only in restaurants) fuller, richer, spicier and more warm-climate


Beronia EE Tempranillo (£11.99 Ocado) instantly recognisable for the complex oaking and tempranillo flavour profile; red fruits, liquorice and lots of sweet-spicy toasty oak with fresh vibrant acidity and a supple texture and fine tannins. As old-school yet vigorous as Edward Fox in a cravat.

Finca Constancia Parcela 23 Tempranillo (£9.75 Cambridge Wine Merchants) vibrant and floral with red fruits, cocoa and mokka and a compelling freshness.


Beronia Reserva (£13.49 Waitrose, Ocado, Oxford Wine Company) more signature toasty oak with sweet spice, caramel and coconut. Supple and flawless.

Finca Constancia Selección ( £10.50 Ocado)  fresh, pure and clean with bramble fuit.

The higher acidity of the Finca Constancia here proves a better match with the sharpness of the goat's cheese.

Other related articles

Bodegas Beronia Rioja Reserva 2006
Two Finca Constancia wines

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