(2020) A total of 971 barrels of this wine were made, with Tempranillo from old vines in Ramón Bilbao's highest vineyards in Rioja Alta, situated at over 700 metres above sea level. It spent 14 months in a combination of French and American oak and is a big mouthful of wine: opulent with rich, chocolaty berry fruit, tobacco and exotic and musky spices, it's that intensity of blackcurrant and mint fruit that drives through. Joining it on the palate are suede-like creamy tannins and well balanced cherry acidity, giving light and shade to the wine, so the finish is spicy and fruity, but fresh too. Modern but substantial. Note that some retailers have moved on to the highly-regarded 2016 vintage already. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2019) A big and bountiful Rioja this, brimming with fruit, creamy dark oak and spice, and substantial with its 14.5% abv. Made, unusually, from Graciano rather than Termpranillo, 50% was aged in new French oak, 50% in American oak, for a total of 12 months. It has a wild edge of gaminess, but really it is all about plush, luscious, damson and chocolate on the nose, the palate sweet fruited and just as dark and glossy with fruit and vanilla. There is a sheen of polish to this with its creamy tannins, and freshness too, cherry-pit dry acidity seeing to that. In all, a big, bold, unabashed crowd-pleaser, and very well done. £10.80 for members of the Daily Drinker Wine Club.
(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.
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