Borsao Berola 2008: Tradition and Innovation

BORSAORomans? Visigoths? Holy cow!

I was researching Bodegas Borsao, a Spanish winery, and discovered that the town they’re named for dates back to the 4th century BC. That’s Before Christ! It’s not the kind of time-span I’m used to, since I deal mostly in New World wines where “ancient history” is 100 years ago.

In Spain, like the rest of the Old World, the tradition of wine drinking and wine making goes back a long way. In Campo de Borja, all kinds of visitors (or invaders), including Romans and Visigoths, have put their stamp on the place. Their tradition of winemaking and wine drinking lives on, and in this part of Spain the Garnacha grape (Grenache to us Anglos) is king.

The wine I tasted recently, Bodegas Borsao Berola 2008, is 80% Garnacha and 20% Syrah that comes from 35 to 60-year-old vines. OK, that’s pretty old for a grape vine… And old vines bring deep, complex flavors.

The Berola poured out deep garnet colored and opaque, suggesting good extraction. The nose offered rich black fruit and a hint of spice and smoke. The palate was quite rich and intense, with plum, coffee, and a hint of earthiness. There was a nice roundness to the mouthfeel, although Berola showed enough acid on the finish to verify its Old World heritage.

I’ve liked everything I’ve tried from Bodegas Borsao. Their entry-level wines, such as Borsao Tinto, are a great bargain, and the Berola, at around $18, is a lot of wine for the money. These wines are handled by negociant Jorge Ordonez, who seems to have a genius for bringing great wines to the international marketplace. Try any of them that you can find, and enjoy a bit of history with your wine. Cheers!

 

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