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Saturday, 26 March 2022

The CWB Spain-Off

A Spanish red and white from Beronia and Torres

If it feels like wines from Spain have been getting more interesting and diverse for as long as you can remember, that's probably because they have.

How did Spain go from Rioja, sherry and inexpensive rustic reds to a vibrant and dynamic country with more Michelin-starred restaurants than France?

The simple answer is democracy, trade and economics.

As Eastern Europe will attest, dictatorships of any political persuasion tend not to produce great wine. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Spain peacefully and successfully transition into a democracy; by 1986, it was enjoying the benefits of increased trade and rising wealth as a result of joining the European Union.

With lower land prices than in Big Name parts of France and Italy plus plentiful established regions filled with old vines, Spain became a more attractive destination for younger and more ambitious but less affluent winemakers wanting to make a name for themselves.

And a rising tide lifts all boats; inland Spain's harsh, high-altitude marginal climates became a reason to command a price premium rather than simply an expensive place for family-owned  farms to make small amounts of wine.

Bodegas Beronia

Founded in 1973 by friends with a passion for fine food and the shared desire to produce wines worthy of pairing with their culinary creations, Beronia set out to create the perfect blend between tradition and innovation. The Beronia portfolio celebrates the long-standing traditions of the Rioja region, while paving way for a sustainable future.

Beronia Rueda 2020 (£8.99, Waitrose, Ocado, Sainsbury’s)

The grapes are harvested mechanically at night to retain freshness. The fruit is pressed gently in an inert atmosphere with fermentation using selected yeasts and the temperature control for 10-15 days in stainless steel for aromatics and concrete for complexity.

 After 2 to 3 months' ageing on its lees with weekly remuage, the wine is clarified and filtered prior to creating the perfect blend and bottling.

bright pale yellow with green hints; intensely aromatic and herbaceous with mint, fennel, citrus and white pepper; fresh and precise with ripe stone fruits, tropical melon and pineapple fruit, fresh herbs and creamy-leesy savouriness.

Drinks nicely on first opening and gains complexity with aeration.


Match with pork and sage, garlic and herb roulade or white fish in a herby broth. 

Beronia Crianza 2018 (£11.99, Waitrose, Ocado, Majestic)

Made from selected Tempranillo, Garnacha and Mazuelo grapes. Upon arrival at the winery the fruit was macerated for a few days prior to fermentation. Temperature controlled alcoholic fermentation followed, with the temperature kept below 26ºC. The must was pumped over regularly to extract the desired colour and aromas, then the wine was left for twelve months in barrels made of American oak staves and French oak ends to create the unmistakable “Beronia style”. 

Lastly, the wine was bottled and left to rest for three months prior to release.

deep cherry red with a garnet edge; clean, bright and complex on the nose, with of cherry, raspberry and herbal notes of rosemary and thyme, as well as cinnamon and tobacco; blackcurrant, blueberry, cherry, fig, plum Very fresh vanilla and chocolate. Supple and full.

Improves significantly with aeration and can be cellared.


Match with roasted red meats, chargrilled chops, Ibérico cured meats and mature cheese. 

Familia Torres

With more than 150 years of experience as winemakers and viticulturists, and eager to experiment with a different terroir, Torres produced their first Tempranillo from the DO Ribera del Duero in northern Spain in 2004.

Celeste Crianza proved such a success, a winery soon followed, named Pago del Cielo in reference to the vines that grow at nearly 900 metres above sea level, and appear to form a magical connection with the heavens above. Celeste Verdejo joined the fold in 2020, and the starry labels on both wines reflect the star-filled sky seen from the winery at night.

Familia Torres Celeste Verdejo 2019 (£12.99 from Wine Direct, Soho Wines, Handford Wines, Signarellis Deli, The Grape to Glass Wine (Wales), Christopher Keiller (by the case))

a new wine from Rueda, known for its crisp white Verdejo

Celeste Verdejo is modern in style and shows remarkable freshness and aromatic intensity. Made from 100% Verdejo, a grape variety exclusive to the region of Rueda, from a wine-making area situated on the highest part of the northern plateau. The vineyards in Villafranca del Duero are on the left bank of a wide river, which meanders its way through the first foothills of the valley amid a landscape of gentle slopes.

The iron-rich alluvial soils contain lots of pebbles characteristic of the riverbed giving good drainage which combined with the continental climate of cold winters and hot summers make this an ideal spot for growing this native white variety.

The grapes are harvested at night, under the star-lit sky to control the temperature and then fermented in stainless steel.

aromatic and intense with herbaceous fennel, anise, white pepper and citrussy pineapple; fresh yet broad with sweet mango, exotic tropical fruits and yellow stone fruits; elegant and harmonious with good underpinnings.


Fresh and aromatic enough for an aperitif; match with seafood, fresh and fried fish and herbaceous salads

Familia Torres Celeste Crianza 2018 (£12.99 from Waitrose, Cambridge Wine Merchants, Roberts and Speight, Vinvum, TheDrinkShop.com, Wine Direct (Sussex), Noble Green Wines, Connolly’s Wine Merchants (W.Midlands), Lattitude (Yorkshire), Handford Wines)

an expressive Tempranillo from the high-altitude vineyards of Ribera del Duero

Celeste Crianza was the first Torres wine to be produced in the Ribera Del Duero region. The wine is made from 100% Tempranillo, Spain’s most widely planted grape, known locally as Tinto Fino.

The vines thrive in the extremes of scorching summers, freezing winters and mountain winds in the high-altitude vineyards planted in Ribera’s diverse soils. Low yields resulting from conscientiously tended old vines give Celeste Crianza its distinctive depth and complexity.

expressive dark-berry fruit with complex oaky spice, mushrooms and leather; fresh, concentrated and dense with blackberries, black cherries, cassis and black olive; liquorice, vanilla and minty, slightly warming eucalyptus; full and supple with harmonious, perfectly ripe and well-integrated tannins.

Benefits from aeration and will repay further cellaring.

Very Good.

Match with with hearty red meat dishes such as barbecued or grilled steak, lamb chops and sausages.

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