100% Graciano From Rioja Is Unique

Is it CVNE or CUNE?

About 5 years ago Wine Spectator Magazine brought this famous Rioja Producer to the forefront by awarding their 2004  CVNE Rioja Imperial Gran Reserva 95 Points and making it their Number One Wine of The Year on The Top 100 List of 2013. No one then, or not many now, know how to say the name of this Bodega… The Label says C.V.N.E but the reviewers and customers spell it CUNE and pronounce it (COO_NAY). Both are kind of correct and they will answer to both names but the correct name is C.V.N.E. and it is an abbreviation for  Compañía Vinícola del Norte del España (the Northern Spanish Wine Company), The company was founded in 1879 in the town of Haro in Rioja. C.V.N.E was founded by two brothers and today is still controlled by the direct descendants of the founding family. Since its inception, C.V.N.E has been focused on the production and aging of wines and now comprises of four wineries: C.V.N.E, Imperial, Vina Real and Contino. Right near the railroad station is right where it is now in the town of Haro. Here’s a photo back in the day:

CVN 1979

Rioja Is Usually Tempranillo

Most Riojas are comprised of Tempranillo and many have dashes of Graciano and Mazuelo or Garnacha but most are 100% Tempranillo. Old school producers of Rioja were very easy and still are to identify on a blind tasting, as they used 100% American Oak Barrels giving off that, Coconut, Pickle Barrel aromas. Today’s modern producers have switched to French Oak or a combo of both.

2016 C.V.N.E Seleccion de Fincas, Graciano

Graciano Grape

Graciano… Not ROCKY GRAZIANO the boxer haha. is a Spanish red wine grape that is grown primarily in Rioja . The vine produces a low yield  that are normally harvested in late October. The wine produced is characterized by its deep red Color strong aromatics and ability to age well. Graciano thrives in warm, humid. climates.

CVNE Front


Notice on the front label where the C.V.N.E is printed. This is not a family crest or any kind of logo. This is the Spanish Flag. Since 1879 C.V.N.E has always felt their wines were not to represent their family but to represent their country of Spain! Let’s Review:


The color is typical of Graciano. Very dark purple almost black with a slightly lighter purple towards the edge. Medium viscosity with only a 13.5% ABV. After proper aeration this might be one of the most Floral wines I have smelled in a long time. Big time Violets mingling with black fruits such as black raspberry, black plum, black cherry and baking spices not heat like high alcohol wine, but coming from the barrel aging process. On the palate very fresh, austere and juicy tart blackberries and bitter cherry but a sense of freshness from a solid high acidity lifting those fruit flavors to the forefront. It finishes tart, slightly drying with a medium length finish. It was an easy wine to drink and perfect expression of the terroir of Rioja but not a wine most would like without food. Then again who in Rioja drinks wine without food? This is not a Netflix Wine or Grape Varietal or a wine to just de-stress with. Aged, cured cheeses would be great and I actually paired it with simple crispy skin, sockeye salmon because the oily fish stood up to the bright acidity and tart fruit flavor of the wine.  I am going to score this wine 87 out of 100 points

The Summary

At ABC Fine Wine and Spirits this is our third wine from C.V.N.E. from Rioja. We have a Crianza, Reserva,and now the Seleccion de Fincas which is a Tinto and 100% Graciano. If the wine was $4.00-$5.00 less instead of $17.99 I would be all over it . I think for the right wine and food pairing this would be a home run but not everyone is looking to match a wine with food or cheese. Bottom line is, there is a lot of history from 1879 at C.V.N.E or COOOONAAY and it shows in their wines. It’s the right wine for the right person and purpose but not for everyone.

Grape-fully yours, Larry


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