Wine Reviews: Rioja from CVNE

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 03-10-2018

I’m a Rioja evangelist. The history, the unique place in the spectrum of red (and white) wines, the quality and value available — these wines entice me. So I was excited to taste six different Riojas from CVNE.

Compañía Vinícola del Norte del España (the Northern Spanish Wine Company), dates back to 1879, when it was founded by two brothers from the Real de Asua family in Haro, Rioja Alta. You’ll see the wines referred to as “Cune” and hear the word spoken phonetically, which is based on an old misspelling that stuck.

Today the CVNE winery still sits on its original site and it is still controlled by direct descendants of the founding family. CVNE now encompasses four different wineries: CVNE, Imperial, Viña Real and Contino. The first Viña Real wines were launched in 1920, and the wines are made from grapes grown in the heart of the Rioja Alavesa province.

I tasted three wines apiece from CVNE and Viña Real, and was blown away again by the high quality, relatively low price points, and aging potential of these wines. If you’re looking to stock your cellar with some Tempranillo-based wines, without breaking the bank, check out CVNE.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2014 C.V.N.E. Rioja Cune Crianza- Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta
SRP: $13
Ruby red color. Aromas of raspberry, strawberry, tobacco leaf, white pepper and leather. Bright acidity on the palate, a fresh appeal with dusty tannins and bright red cherries and strawberries. I get notes of raspberry leaf tea, coffee, cedar and tobacco. Fresh and lively but structured well and could use some near-term aging. Includes a combined 15% Graciano and Mazuelo. (88 points)

2013 C.V.N.E. Rioja Cune Reserva- Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta
SRP: $28
Deep ruby, light violet color. Aromas of raspberries, red currants, fig paste, along with spicy peppercorns, black tea and cocoa. Velvety and rich on the palate wity smooth but structured tannins and vibrant acidity. Currants and plum fruit, suave and tangy, with complex leather, cocoa, dusty earth, graphite and tobacco elements. Beautiful now, but aging potential for sure. Includes a combined 15% Garnacha, Graciano and Mazuelo. (90 points)

2011 C.V.N.E. Rioja Cune Gran Reserva- Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta
SRP: $33
Deep ruby color. Lovely aromatics of leather, tobacco, library dust, cinnamon spice, on top of red currant and fig paste. So focused on the palate with suave tannins and refreshing acidity, along with tangy red and black currants and plums. Complex elements of cocoa, grilled herbs, chewing tobacco, spiced tea. Long finish with notes of mineral, vanilla and cedar. Beautiful now, but no rush on this. Includes 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo. (92 points)

2013 C.V.N.E. Rioja Viña Real Crianza- Spain, La Rioja, Rioja Alavesa
SRP: $15
Pretty ruby color. Tart and bright aromas of red and black cherries, red currants, with cocoa, tobacco, raspberry leaf and cedar. Bright and zesty appeal on the palate, lively and fresh with dusty tannins and flavors of tart red and black cherry fruit, some plum skin. Chewing tobacco, sage, cocoa, spice rub and pine add complexity. Approachable but structured, what a solid Crianza for the price. Tempranillo with a combined 10% Garnacha, Graciana, Mazuelo. (88 points)

2013 C.V.N.E. Rioja Viña Real Reserva- Spain, La Rioja, Rioja Alavesa
SRP: $28
Deep ruby color. Nose shows dusty earth, leather, cigar box, roses and incense sticks on top of black cherries and spicy red currants. Structured but velvety on the palate, tangy and bright, too, with tart black and red cherry fruit. Complexity comes in waves: tobacco, sage, spicy herbs, leather, roses, black tea. Age-worthy but accessible now, the freshness and minerality on the finish is impressive. Tempranillo with 10% Garnacha and 5% Mazuelo. (90 points)

2010 C.V.N.E. Rioja Viña Real Gran Reserva- Spain, La Rioja, Rioja Alavesa
SRP: $47
Deep ruby color. Aromas show rich, dark, yet tart fruits (black and red currants and warm berry compote), along with violets, leather and incense sticks. Suave and silky, structured but fin tannins, the freshness is lovely. Tart black cherry, red and black plums, the finesse and freshness in this wine is something else. Interwoven elements of dusty earth, lavender, leather, tobacco, violets. Beautiful now but many years of development potential. Includes 5% Graciano. (93 points)

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