25/03/07 – Berberana (Spain) Etiqueta Negra Rioja Reserva 2003

Berberana (Spain) Etiqueta Negra Rioja Reserva 2003
A Rioja bodega with 130 years of history behind it, Berberana is perhaps best-known for its well-made, reliable and fruity high street Riojas and the Dragon Tempranillo that is a hit at very modest prices. But there are signs that the company is also keen to innovate and improve its quality further, with a new range of wines called ‘Carta de Oro Etiqueta Negra’. There are Joven, Crianza and Gran Reserva wines in the range, but this Reserva already has national distribution through Tesco. A blend of 80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha, it is matured for 24 months in new American oak barriques. The colour is a very dark but mellow ruby, and the nose is flooded with creamy vanillin, tobacco, spices and a warming, earthy core of fruit. This is classic Rioja, but clean and letting the fruit come through. On the palate there is a real juiciness to this wine, with sprightly tannins and cherry acidity, and a bit of tension between that and the crisp, poised fruit and spicy oak background. This will appeal to lovers of ‘traditional’ Rioja, but also has a more modern, fruity character. 8.99, Tesco.8.99