This is the first of a series of reviews where we will describe in depth the products we carry in our Portfolio and the reasons why we have chosen to bring these wines, ciders or liquors into the United States.
Dominio de Berzal Crianza 2013 is one of the best Crianzas in Rioja according to Spanish wine magazines, sommeliers and wine critics. In 2016 this wine has placed 2nd in "Fiesta de la Vendimia" competition where all the Crianza wines in Rioja Alavesa are tasted and placed accordingly. It has also been ranked top 100 Spanish wine and best Crianza at the ProWein show in Germany. For all who do not know the red wines in Rioja are classified as Joven, Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva. All Crianza wines that have a Rioja appellation of origin must be aged for at least 24 months of whom 6 months at least have to be in oak barrels.
Bodegas Dominio de Berzal is situaded in Baños de Ebro, a small town in Rioja Alavesa (see map below for location) situated 1300 above sea level. Berzal family has been ellaborated wines for years starting in a small Bodega in the early 1900s. The new Bodega was built in 1999 and is ran by the three Berzal Brothers José Luis, Juan Mari e Iñigo Berzal. The winery has 50 hectare or 124 acres of calcareous clay and ferrous clay where 8 types of grapes are grown: 80% Tempranillo, 10% Viura, 5% Graciano, 5% Other (Maturana, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Prieto Picudo). The winery produces red and white wines and the older wines are aged in French and American oak barrels. Berzal brothers are focused on creating quality over quantity to make sure they will be producing quality wines now and in the future.
Location (Rioja Alavesa)
Dominio de Berzal is located in Rioja .northern Spain. Rioja region can be divided in three sub-regions (see map below): RIoja Alavesa, RIoja Alta and Rioja Baja
Dominio de Berzal is located in the Rioja Alavesa region and although we can find great wines in all three regions Rioja Alavesa is considered by the experts the best area to grow the vines and is no coincidence that most of the greatest red wine producers in Spain are located in this area. Rioja Alavesa is situated north of the Ebro river and south of Sierra Cantabria mountain range creating a unique terroir that enables the perfect conditions to elaborate some the best red wines in the world. Rioja is also called the Spanish Bordeaux and is mainly a red wine producing regions. In the latest years there has been a push for elaborating white wines made from Viura grapes and some of these Rioja whites are really good but in general they have not reached the excellence level that other Spanish white wines have like the ones elaborated in Rueda (Verdejo) or Rias Baixas (Albariño).
Dominio de Berzal Crianza 2013 has an intense cherry red with a high depth with no changes around the outer edges. On the nose we can appreciate ripe black fruits mixed with slight, elegant roasted notes. Swirling the glass we notice out mineral aromas and wild berries, mixed closely with vanilla and cedar notes. On the palate the initial sensation is warm, sweet and consuming, the mid-palate is marked by ripe red and black berry flavors, mixed together with mature, elegant tannins. The aftertaste is long-lasting and pleasant thanks to its good level of acidity. This Crianza wine pairs perfectly with cured meats, grilled fish and meat, as well as small game.
Dominio de Berzal Crianza is the main reason I started this wine import business adventure. I discovered this wine in one of my latest trips to Spain and decided that it was time to bring the best Spanish wines to Texas, wines that people actually drink in Spain when they hang out with their friends or when they are having a family meal. Most of the Spanish wines I have found in the supermarkets and restaurants in Texas are mass produced wines that people who do like wine do not actually drink in Spain.
To end this first wine review blog I will cite what one of the sommeliers of a Basque restaurant told me when talking about this wine "When people ask me for a wine recommendation I always tell them to drink Dominio de Berzal Crianza, you can never go wrong with this wine".