(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) 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) 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.
(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.
(2011) This is a tightly-wound, dark fruit-driven Rioja in the modern idiom, the majority of the blend being Garnacha (Grenache). Aromas of liquorice and damson plum sit over creamy, savoury oak. On the palate it has a fine sense of gravitas, the fruit at the core is tight and muscular, with plenty of depth and black olive savour. Chewy, serious stuff and delicious too, this will age for a few years.