(2022) The wines from the Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España remain classical in structure. This very young Rioja Reserva in their Cune range is a just a tiny bit uncompromising at the moment, so drink with food or cellar for a few years to enjoy at its best. It is a lovely wine: around 85% Tempranillo, aged 24 months in a combination of French oak (partly new barrels) and American barrels. There's an immediate firmness to this densely coloured wine, black cherry and polished wood, but taut and muscular on the nose. In the mouth there is real succulence - like biting into a bittersweet ripe plum, cherry again, and dark, nutty toast and tobacco spices. Acid, fruit and oak are beautifully done and this will surely cellar for a decade. £12.99 on a 'mixed six' deal at Majestic. Watch the video for more information.
(2022) Bloodiness and gamy notes to the nose here, a dry earthy minerality over the tobacco-infused red fruit. The palate is very dry, very savoury. There's a brightness to the acidity and leanness to the tannins, it is spicy and a touch leathery too. Quite a serious gastronomic style that needs food. I wondered if the slight lack of fruit indicated this sample was not 100% sound.
(2022) From Rioja Alta and vineyards at 450 - 590 metres, just a touch of wood. Dark crimson, quite meaty but at the same time a little aromatic, some lifted floral notes and keen blue/black fruit. Lovely sweet fruit and ripeness, roundness on the palate, fruit to the fore but plush and mouth-filling, a sense of minerality and purity that is lovely.
(2021) This spent a years in predominantly French oak barrels, but now at five years old we have a delightfully mature Rioja Reserva at a very attractive price. There's a soulful melange of game, tobacco, vanilla and deep blackberry fruit on the nose, a touch of mahogany on the rim adding the impression of a developed, but still very much together wine. In the mouth delightfully ripe, plush and sweet fruit will delight lovers of classic Rioja, with all the velvetty and caressing depth you could hope for. There's plenty of cappuccino-like roast and creamy sweetness, offset by gentle but firm tannins and very good acidity. A cracking buy, watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2020) This is a modern, taut and muscular style of Rioja, not the vanilla and coconunt softness of an aged traditional reserva, but instead a wine of bitter cherry and plum, a twist of liquorice and lift of kirsch on the nose, the palate firm, tannic and savoury, a rasp of plum skin roughness to add some rustic bite and the smooth black fruits always in that context. I might decant this for an hour or two, a wine with a bit of brawny, sinewy structure as well as fruit.
(2020) Daniel describes this as coming from a "Stunning single vineyard and family run property in the heart of Rioja Alavesa." Made from 100% Tempranillo, it spends 12 months in barrels, 60% French and 40% American oak. There's a sweet, solid black cherry sheen to the aromatics, a smoothing laer of creamy dark polished wood, and a lovely hint of tobacco spice. In the mouth quite delicious: the sweet black fruit surges across the palate, but again the whole picture smoothed by the creaminess of the oak and fine-grained tannins, balanced and long. Really lovely.
(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.