CUNE Rioja Crianza

By | June 19, 2006

Spain take on Tunisia tonight so it’s time for a nice Rioja.  CUNE is a widely available brand, and one of the premier Rioja producers. It’s actually CVNE – Compañía Vinicola del Norte de España, but if you ask for ‘Coo – Nay’ at a wine shop people will know what you mean.

They’ve been making Rioja for over 125 years, but they’re not complacent about it, constantly updating their bodegas to ensure maximum consumer pleasure! Cune take the grapes seriously too with hand picking to ensure top quality fruit. You can pay a lot for a great CUNE Gran Reserva, but the 2003 Crianza is a mere £7 at Majestic. I’ll work my way up the range if Spain get beyond the group stages.

I cycled through Rioja in 2003 and it was hot, hot, hot. However, the previous winter had been seriously wet so there was plenty of ground water to carry the vines through. The heat seems to mean faster aging so it seemed worth a try.

It’s rich and ruby, bright and positively brimming with colour. The American oak comes through on the nose, with light vanilla. It’s inviting rather than overpowering. There’s plums and damsons, with just a smidge of ground coffee.

The smooth vanillin carries through onto the palate with more rich plums and fresh cherries, with fresh roasted coffee. It’s dry with balanced acidity, and a full mouth feel.

The flavour hangs around a while and grows on you further. It’s made from 80% Tempranillo,20% Garnacha Tinta and Mazuelo. At 13.5% alcohol it does sneak up on you a little. I enjoyed this wine on its own but it would benefit from food and could easily handle steak or lamb, as well as patatas bravas.

Get stuck into this Crianza now, but if you’re feeling flush, the older CUNE’s from Majestic online have never disappointed me.