Viña Real Rioja Gran Reserva from CVNE, hopes were fairly high.
It arrived on the day of our company summer party, so I decided to open it up for an impromptu Wine Club between announcements and a trip to Hyde Park to play rounders.
From CVNE, it is 90% Tempranillo and 10% other grapes including Graciano. Being a Gran Reserva, it is aged extensively in oak - the notes tell me it is first fermented in stainless steel (for freshness), followed by malolactic fermentation (for softness) in French and American oak (for vanilla spice) and ageing in vats (for roundedness).
Poured into the company decanter, it reveals a complex, developed and intense nose of cooked dark berry fruit, liquorice, coffee and roasted spices with earthy hints.
Dark purple in the glass, there is some paleness around the rim, but few signs of age.
It starts to open up after about 15 minutes aeration in the decanter, becoming more truffley on the nose and just keeps improving with time.
The palate is complex and mellow with flavours of slow roast plums, gently stewed elderberry fruit and sweet vanilla spice with good underpinning acidity.
Long, full and savoury on the palate, it is balanced and supple with a warming finish and a grip like a strict masseuse.
Very good indeed.
£21.49 from Majestic, BBR, Halisham Cellars, The Oxford Wine Company and other independents; provided for review.
CVNE - http://www.cvne.com/web/
Majestic - http://www.majestic.co.uk/