Bodega Berberana – Wine from Rioja

December 12, 2010

Pasta ai funghi porcini

A pasta ai funghi porcini needs a strong wine as accompaniment. Therefore I selected a ‘2003 Carta de Oro Crianza Rioja’ by Bodega Berberana, one of the oldest Rioja wine producers.

The ‘2003 Carta de Oro Rioja’ by Berberana

I believe it is high time that the 2003 vintage is consumed. The wine’s colour is already changing from dark red to the brick brown. But it has still the strength, the flavour and the body which makes this Rioja wine so superb. This blend of 80% Tempranillo and 20% Grenache is just the perfect wine for a “heavy” pasta. It is velvety and smooth with a long finish, a complex wine for every day drinking. Just honest and good stuff.

The back label of the Berberana Rioja

The colour is slowly changing


A wine tasting at the airline lounge of Lufthansa

December 4, 2010

The two wines of my sample

The only consolation for an “economy-class-only-frequent-traveller” is the use of the airline lounges. Although Beijing does not offer wine, Shanghai does even if one has to drink the fermented grape juice from paper cups.

My favourite airline lounge is the Lufthansa Lounge at Berlin Tegel Airport, but the one in Frankfurt is also acceptable.

If time permits I usually conduct a private tasting. That’s what I did last time.

The white was a ‘2009 Hugl Gruener Veltliner’, very fresh, spicy and very pleasant. Weingut Hugl, a family-owned wine business, is located in Ketzelsdorf-Poysdorf, a part of Austria they call the northern “Weinviertel”. Martin Hugl and his wife Sylvia are young and enthusiastic vintners. About 70% of their production is Gruener Veltliner.

The red I tasted was a Rioja Barbaro, a bit oaky but still with lots of fruit and very round. Overall a pleasant experience and the highlight of my trip.


Viña Tondonia White Reserva 1987, Rioja, Spain

October 18, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, we drank a very special type of wine, a white Rioja, vintage 1987, called Viña Tondonia White Reserva! Our wine-making friend, Timo Mayer from the Yarra Valley had brought the bottle all the way from Europe to Bangkok.

The winery is owned and managed by the third generation of the López de Heredia family. For a hundred and thirty one years this enterprise is producing exceptional and unique wines. The founder of the company, Rafael López de Heredia y Landeta, defined in the late nineteenth century what a “Supreme Rioja” wine could be. Viña Tondonia White Reserva 1987 bears witness to this philosophy.

Timo Mayer opening the bottle in our kitchen

The wine is made from Viura (about 70%, also called Macabeu in France) and Malvasia grapes. It was kept for 10 years on the yeast in old, large oak barrels and for 13 years in the bottle before the wine is finally released.

1987 is the current vintage! Who can afford to leave wine for 23 years in the cellar?

The wine is a unique experience. It is completely dry, has a fine bouquet with a hint of dried fruit. First, we did not know what to make of it but with each sip it dawned on us that we held something very special in our glasses. Awesome stuff, indeed. One can taste the passion which went into this wine.

Cheers mate

The wine can be bought in Germany from “Weinhalle“. It is not cheap but worth to be explored if you long for a unique and amazing wine experience.


Bodegas Muriel Reserva, Rioja

November 30, 2009

2001 Bodegas Muriel Reserva, Rioja

I do not buy a lot of wine from Spain, main reason being that I do not know enough about Spanish wines. But the other day I made an exception and bout a bottle of ‘2001 Muriel Reserva’ from Rioja, Spain. Made of Tempranillo grapes, this wines is just wonderful, rich and full, lot’s of red forest fruit, silky and smooth the tannins.

As you can see from the picture below, the colour of the wine is already like a brick. Reserva wines by Muriel are aged for a minimum of two years in oak barrels and three years in the bottle. It was a great pleasure to drink this wine. I need to learn more about the wine region of Rioja and its wines. We had the wine with dinner, of course.

The colour of the Rioja

Muriel is located in the heart of the Rioja region in the small town of Elciego, next to the river Mayor, east of the E-804 from Zaragoza to Bilbao. When in 1973 on our final study tour before concluding “Gymnasium” (high school), I passed the area on my way from Burgos to San Sebastian not knowing anything about the famous wine region (not that I would know much more today).

Muriel also makes a white wine, from Viura grapes, the website said. Honestly, I have never heard of the Viura grape, what an ignoramus I am. There is so much to learn out there. Life is just beautiful.


Rioja in Taiwan

October 22, 2009

Beronia

After teaching a full day I am usually exhausted and somehow empty. the best way to spend the evening is with a glass of wine. Jim and I, we marched into the wine shop just across the ICLPST in Taoyuan and shopped for some wine.

I choose a ‘2006 Tempranillo Beronia Rioja’ from Spain. What a nice wine this was; an “umpf” wine, as we call it in Australia. Dark red in colour, full of wild fruit, plum, and berry flavours, this wine is of a more traditional character, heavy and intense, but with balanced acidity and spicy notes from the oak it is matured in, and good mid-palate weight.

Beronia1

We had no wine glasses but drank it from large, thick tea glasses. That’s the reason why I have no picture to show the beautiful colour of the wine. The ‘2006 Tempranillo Beronia Rioja’ sells for about US $ 13 in the USA, we got it for the equivalent of about US $ 21 in Taoyuan, not bad for such a wine.


Berlin in March

March 20, 2009

germanflag

The German flag in front of the parliamentary building

It was our family day, but I was far away from the family in Bangkok. My program in Berlin with my Thai visitors ended late. It was a cold night. I walked around the block in circles and found this Italian place, called “Vapiano”. It was a quite fashionable place as the pictures below show. They used a kind of debit card system as we have it in Bangkok. Red was the dominant colour.

rioja1

An olive tree in the middle of the place

rioja2

Red chandeliers

rioja3

And a red light on the table

rioja0

Rioja wine

I asked the bar tender what wine she would recommend. She poured me a glass of ‘2003 Baron de Ley Reserva Rioja’. I do no know much about Spanish wine, so I was grateful for the recommendation.

I loved the wine. It was luscious and heavy, full of red fruit flavours, with beautiful length on the palate. What a beautiful Tempranillo.

I also enjoyed the atmosphere of the place, the friendliness of the staff and promised to come back for some more Rioja wine. If you are in Berlin, check out the place, that’s my recommendation.

Restaurant:
VAPIANO
Mittelstr. 51-52
10117 BerlinTel.: +49-30-50154100

Baron de Ley
Rioja
2003 Reserva
13.5 %
www.barondeley.com