Beronia Rioja Reserva 2008

Ricossa Barbaresco 2009Spain, $25

Rioja (REE-hoe-Ha!) is a state of flux these days. You have a raft of producers sticking to their old ways, another raft (can you have 2 rafts?) modernizing and making wine in the international style, and outside the border, there’s a slew of new Spanish regions like Toro or Jumilla, which have consumers excited. But Beronia seems to skirt all these issues and make great wine at a good value year after year. They’re neither classic nor new, producing a wine that definitely has seen some oak but remains fresh and vibrant in the mouth. If you’re new to rioja, this is a great place to start—with the proviso that as you progress you’ll often run into more expensive bottles that aren’t quite as good. The 2005 vintage of this wine was sublime, but the current offering—2008—is also a winner.

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