(2018) Principally Tempranillo but with Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano in the blend too, this is a smooth, sleek and modern Rioja with plenty of spice and chocolate depth from its 14 months in American oak. Lush and dark-fruited on the palate, this is harmonious stuff, the American oak not at all dominant, finishing on ripe fruit and super-smooth tannins.
(2018) Rioja is such a go-to wine for most red wine lovers, rarely failing to deliver, and especially so from quality houses such as the Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España - CVNE. Mostly Tempranillo and aged for one year in French and American oak barrels, plus a further year in bottle, it's exemplary stuff striding confidently down a path between the traditional vanilla-rich sumptuous styles, and more modern, more taut styles where freshness is more prized. Crammed with black fruits wreathed in smokiness and with a graphite edge, the palate has masses of savoury, balsamic-touched fruit, a sheen of creamy oak and lovey framework provided by polished but present tannins and its tangy acidity. Watch the video for food-matching ideas and more information.
(2017) A selection from the oldest Tempranillo vines on the property, this is meaty and earthy, a touch of tobacco spice, a touch of leather. On the palate the sweet ripeness of the berry fruit comes through, but so does plenty of alcohol and a slightly astringent character. Concentrated for sure, but a tiny bit over extracted too in my opinion.
(2017) Aged in new French oak for 15 months and a further two years minimum in bottle, this is a selection of the best Tempranillo fruit. Fine nose, the graphite and firm smoky character of the oak nicely set against tight blue/black fruit, blueberry and blackcurrant. Some tobacco comes through. In the mouth it is savoury, taut and firm, a real grip to the tannins and the oak a touch prominent, but it just about has the fruit density and sweetness to handle it. Spicy in the finish.
(2017) Made by Bodegas Zugober, not a name with which I am familiar, this is Tempranillo, with a little Graciano and Mazuelo, Crianza indicating it has had a little oak ageing. Smokiness on the nose, a touch of briar or underbrush, and a dark red plum fruit. There's a sour orange tang to the berry fruits on the palate, the cherry-skin of the acids also adding to that fine edge. This stays juicy and enjoyably sweet and sour into the finish.
(2017) Cune is a brand of a large and high quality Rioja house called CVNE ('Compañía Vinícola del Norte del España'). Made from Tempranillo and aged for a year in French and American oak casks, this Reserva nicely straddles modern and traditional Rioja styles. Cherry and plum are there in abundance, but also tobacco and clove in a nicely wrought fruit and spice combination. In the mouth it is juicy, the concentration is good, and this has a full, sweet fruit ripeness nudged into savouriness by taut tannins, subtle barrel smokiness and its good acidity. Should cellar for a few years too. It's around £12.99 full price in Waitrose, Wholefoods and few other places, also in Majestic, but they have it at £9.99 as part of a mixed six purchase and note: that drops to £8.99 from 28th March 2017 - 11th April 2017. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2015) Tempranillo, with 20% Graciano, don't confuse this with the 'regular' Crianza also in sale from FvD at a couple of pounds less, and where it's Grenache in the blend rather than Graciano. Creamy, vanilla and cocoa dusting to the seam of ripe black fruits on the nose, this has a cedar and pepper lift too of fine quality French oak. There's a balsamic sweetness to the fruit on the mid-palate, lovely rounded and quite meaty fruit, but long and distinguished. A very fine. modern Rioja.
(2015) Tempranillo, with just a little Garnacha and Mazuelo, this Crianza displays a lightness of touch, the colour not too dense and the nose lifted with tobacco and cherry fragrance, floral hints, and a touch of wild strawberry. In the mouth it is seductive stuff, its pretty fruit profile flooding the palate with summer berries and cream, but then you note the support that emerges from some smoky, charcoally oak character, really good tannins structure and the tensioning orange-zest acidity. It is really quite long, the integration of oak and fruit quite seamless. Impressive.
(2013) This organically certified wine is made from 60% Tempranillo, 30% Garnacha and 10% Graciano grown in Rioja Baja. It pours a deep crimson red from its screwcapped bottle, and the nose offers overtly fruity aromas, rich with Christmas cake spice, cherry and some prune and plum. The oak adds a touch of vanilla and cedarwood in the background. On the palate it is creamy and sweet, the richness of the black berry fruit again the driving force, with plenty of texture and concentration and a nice, spicy support from the tannins, oak and acidity. A biggish Rioja at 14% ABV, and a very nice one too.
(2012) >From an excellent year, this blend of mostly Tempranillo with a little Graciano spent 16 months in French and American oak barrels. There's a very attractive tobacco and Sandalwood spice lift on the nose that is fresh and modern, backed up as it is by cool, ripe, blackcurrant and Morello cherry fruit. In the mouth this has plenty of oaky spice and grilled bacon-fat smokiness, but it retains that liquorice-tinged tight black fruit. Juicy and nicely alive into the spicy, but fresh finish.
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