A year in the life of a wino/alcohol professional wanes and waxes.
There are days when my schedule is pretty light, and I can do as much research and writing as I need to do (or concentrate on social media promotions) in the solitude of my workspace.
Then, there are some weeks full of engagements, where everything just goes by in a blur of alcohol and festivities… Which normally happens towards the end of the year.
For the record, I’m not complaining. This is just me confessing to a little bit of a boo-boo I made a couple of weeks ago; a total faux pas for a “drink personality” like myself: The dreaded double booking.
Yup, my name is Gail, and I got shamefully double – no, triple booked in one evening.
What’s worse is that, as anyone with the… Uhm, privilege of living in Metro Manila could attest, traffic has been harsher than hellishly normal as Christmas approaches.
This meant that, on my third event of the evening, I arrived embarrassingly late.
I had about fifteen minutes (as my good friend Ricardo Infante playfully teased me) to enjoy some of the best Gonzalez Byass had to offer.
What was amazing, however, was that they featured some of the best in their signature portfolio that those fifteen minutes were enough to blow my mind.
Take for example a label that is close to my heart, Vilarnau. That evening, they featured one of my favourites: The delightfully pale pink Vilarnau Brut Rosado Reserva. As always, the creamy texture and fruity flavours were amazing.
There was also the Viñas del Vero Chardonnay, with its tropical fruit notes and remarkable greenish tinge that make this wine from the Somontano region anything but boring.
There were also a couple of wines from their powerhouse brand, Beronia. Interestingly, the label actually got its name after the Celtic tribe that inhabited La Rioja Alta during the third century BC. Presently, the brand is known for being “quintessentially Rioja”, and maintains a perfect balance of honouring winemaking traditions of the region, as well as innovation.
The evening featured two Beronia wines: The Beronia Viñas Viejas 2012 and the Beronia Mazuelo Reserva 2010. The Viñas Viejas was a 100% Tempranillo. Most people who know me are aware that it takes a very good 100% Tempranillo to impress me (there are more often pure Tempranillo wines that tend to be disjointed during an evaluation), but Viñas Viejas, made from old vines (thus adding character), was a nice balance of cocoa, fleshy fruits, and fresh mint.
I was, however, blown away by the Mazuelo. Normally, Mazuelo as a grape is used for blending with the usual Spanish red wine grapes, Tempranillo and Garnacha, to increase tannin and colour. The creation of Viñas Viejas involved a slow fermentation process to smoothen an otherwise incredibly aggressive wine. The result was an intensely coloured wine with notes of spices, black fruits, compote, and quince.
The real stars of the evening were the different Sherries that were presented (I’m personally a huge fan of the tapas and sherry culture). First, there was the renowned golden-hued Tio Pepe, a Fino sherry (which accounts for its “pungent” aroma) made from Palomino grapes (which is the reason for its almond flavours). Then, there was the Solera 1847, a Cream sherry made of Palomino and Pedro Ximenez (which gave it its “mahogany” hue) grapes. It was the perfect way to cap off the evening, with its sweet notes of figs, raisins, caramel, nuts, and wood.
Indeed, it doesn’t take more than quince minutos to make a great impression, as long as there are good wines present. Of course, if given the opportunity (and less traffic in the metro!), I’d rather spend a significant amount of time just immersing myself in excellent wine.
All wines featured in this article are available in all Barcino outlets
*Muchas gracias to Ricardo Infante