Beronia: best served with friends

by Great British Chefs 25 October 2021

Ever since its first vineyard was planted in the 1970s, Beronia has always been committed to producing classic examples of Rioja wine with moreish drinkability, crafted to be enjoyed amongst friends. We take a look at the story behind it.

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There are few things in life which bring people together more than food and drink. When those you love are sat around the table together, enjoying a meal paired with a wine to everyone’s tastes, they’re sharing a moment. It’s these moments that are at the heart of Beronia wines. Born from a passion for sharing quality food and wine with friends and loved ones, Beronia’s versatile range offers something to please every palate and pairs brilliantly with all kinds of dishes, making them the ultimate wine to serve at any gathering.

Founded almost half a century ago in 1973, the concept of Beronia wines was thought up by a group of friends from the Basque country. Naturally, they had a love of fine food but felt the wines on offer at the time weren’t up to the same standard. With a particular appreciation for the beauty of the La Rioja region and after many shared holidays there, they decided this was the place to establish their own winery. While the name pays homage to the region’s long and decorated history (the ‘Berones’ were a Celtic tribe who lived in the region back in the third century BC), the concept of the brand is much more modern and relatable. They wanted to make wines for people who, like themselves, simply loved an excuse to eat and drink together, and thus, Beronia was born.

Beronia's Rioja wines are made and aged at a state-of-the-art winery in the rural village of Ollauri.
Beronia's classic range includes everything from a red Crianza made for everyday drinking, to a luxurious Gran Reserva which is aged for three years in the bottle.

Spending the next ten years experimenting with different blends of grapes, all of which flourish in the high altitude of Beronia’s vineyards, the wines slowly but surely began to earn a reputation within Rioja for their elegant profile. It was during the 1980s, however, that Beronia wines truly started to come into their own. Matiàs Callejas, who is still Beronia’s head winemaker to this day, joined the winery in 1982 determined to elevate Rioja to new heights. With his innovative spirit, he transformed the way the wines were being produced which led to the creation of what is now known as the distinct ‘Beronia style’.

Rioja is one of Spain’s oldest and best-known wine regions and with that comes a whole host of rules and regulations which need to be abided by when making wine there. Matiàs’ was committed to making Beronia wines stand out from the crowd. He wanted to make the fruit sing, enhanced by the time spent in oak, and show the supreme quality and purity of style capable in La Rioja. This is what led him to come up with the idea of ageing the wine in barrels made from a combination of French and American oak – something which hadn’t ever been tried in the region before. In fact, when Beronia asked its coopers to make these barrels they initially refused; it took a good deal of persuasion until they finally agreed to give it a go. The balance in flavours and complexities of aromas achieved by this unique combination was a resounding success and continues to be a defining feature of Beronia’s wines today.

Beronia’s Classic Range features wines for all occasions, whether that be a bottle to enjoy with a few friends on a Friday night or something special best kept for an elaborate dinner or celebration. Beronia’s Crianza wines are aged for a year in mixed oak barrels and represent a fresh and vibrant style of wine, ideal for everyday drinking and pairing with a huge variety of foods and cuisines. At the other end of the scale, Beronia’s Gran Reserva, made from old-vine grapes and aged for a minimum of two years in barrels and a further three years in the bottle, is the epitome of luxury and a wonderful accompaniment to high-quality cuts of red meat and ripe cheeses. The whole portfolio is made from grapes grown on the 900 hectares of high-altitude vineyards surrounding Beronia’s Ollauri winery. It’s this area’s warm and breezy daytime climate and cool nights, combined with the mixture of unique soil types, which give these wines their distinct character.

Beronia ages its wines in barrels made from a combination of French and American oak.
Beronia's vineyards cover 900 hectares of land around its Ollauri winery.

Although Beronia is probably best-known for its Riojas, it also has sixty-five hectares of vineyards further southwest in Spain, in the region of Rueda. The wine produced here offers something altogether different; the vineyards’ mineral-rich soil is free draining, which means that the grapes develop a rich variety of flavours. Made using only Verdejo grapes, this white wine is created by blending two separate harvests to achieve the balance in flavour and texture that Beronia is known for. The result is a crisp, citrusy wine that pairs particularly well with seafood and white meats.

Since Beronia launched back in 1973 its wines have been tasted by millions of people, won countless awards and continued to develop in style and quality year after year thanks to the dedication of everyone involved in the wine-making process. But most importantly, Beronia wine is still enjoyed by groups of friends across the world, just as its food and drink-loving founders dreamt of all those years ago.

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