Cune “Crianza” Rioja is very popular in Spain and it is easy to see why after you taste this very good “everyday” Rioja. C.V.N.E. ( Compañia Vinícola del Norte de España ) produces 4.5 million bottles of this well-crafted commercial Rioja in different lots to meet market demand. The 2012 vintage is a wine that again has proven to be a critical success garnering ratings of 91 points from Wine Spectator and 90 points from Wine Advocate.
Cune “Crianza” Rioja 2012 stays true to its winning formula of a Tempranillo-based blend with 15% Granacha Tinta and Mazuelo. This wine is aged one year in French and American oak to give it just the right amount of oak to enhance both taste and bouquet. Cherry red with a hint of violet in the glass its medium body brims with cherry and vanilla flavors plus spicy notes on the finish. Soft tannins and balanced acidity blend seamlessly into a classic Rioja profile.
If you are looking an approachable Rioja that is easy to drink at a value price I suggest you give this Spanish favorite a try.
The beat goes on from Bodegas Equía, in the village of Elcigo in the heart of Rioja Alavesa. Their Viña Equía Rioja 2008 is a good example of a well made Tempranillo at great sale price of $8.99 at P.L.C.B. stores. This Rioja has flavors of lush ripe red fruit and lightly toasted oak all contained in a rich medium-bodied wine that displays its’ silky tannins throughout the finish. Bodegas Equía produces this ruby-red colored Rioja by fermenting the Tempranillo grapes for 15 days in stainless steel vats while doing daily pumpovers to extract the greatest amount of color and flavor from the grapes. The wine then goes into stainless steel tanks for malolactic fermentation and then is racked twice before being aged 12 months in American oak. Wine Advocate rated this vintage at 91 points and Wine Spectator gave it an 87 rating, while not as highly rated as the 2007 vintage that I reviewed last April, this is an exceptional wine at a bargain price.
This proprietary red blend provides a complexity that can’t be matched by comparable mono-varietals because it has a powerful blend of 55% Syrah, 20% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petit Verdot coupled with 14 months of aging in new French oak behind it. After starting with an aroma of sweet fruit, it is no surprise that the palate is one of lush black fruit which remains very persistent on your tongue and is then matched by the even longer finish. This cuvee would be an excellent addition to a steak dinner or a nice complement to an evening spent entertaining around your homes outdoor space while you maximize the culinary potential of your grill. Wine Advocate gave this wine a 93 point rating and it can be found in select P.L.C.B. stores at a discounted price of $24.99 with the product code 032370. P.L.C.B. lists the quoted price at $45.00 but I managed to find it listed on Amazon wine for $39.99 making the $24.99 price a very good deal for a wine of this caliper. The Arrayán family of wines are produced by La Casa de Las Cuatro Rayas in the Méntrida region of Spain.
I believe that sitting around a table covered with tapas while surrounded by friends and enjoying a high quality Rioja is a memorable pleasure that everyone should get the chance to experience. When you find yourself in this situation I hope that your wine glass is filled with Viña Equía Rioja Reserva 2007. This Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain will not disappoint with its tight structure, great balance and smooth tannins framed by a noticeable acidity. The bright cherry red color of this Rioja leads you flawlessly into a complex palate of red fruits and spice followed by a long finish to be savored with classic tapas fare. This offering received a 92 point rating from both The Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator. I have found that it pairs surprisingly well with chocolate, but I have had several people highly recommend it as an excellent choice to serve with lamb. The real mystique of Rioja is that they are superb wines at a reasonable price, pair well with small plates and can set your imagination free to enjoy the simple pleasures around you or allow you to picture yourself in the green mountians of Basque country.