In a nutshell: Elegant, balanced and complex this is one of the most famous Rioja Reservas of the lot.
The lowdown: A wine that fully lives up to its lofty reputation, it's largely composed of Tempranillo with small additions of Graciano, Mazuelo and Garnacha which are the other main red varieties seen in Rioja. The two years it spends in a mix of French and American oak have softened it nicely making it a really delicious wine with wonderful vanilla and dark fruits on the nose, following through with rich fruit cake flavours on the palate.
When to drink: A classic Reserva, game, roasts, casseroles or strong mature cheese make great food pairings.
CVNE (usually referred to as 'Coonay'), or to give it its full name, Compañía Vinicola del Norte de España, was established in 1879 in Haro, Rioja. It was set up by two brothers, Eusebio and Raimundo Real de Asúa who had moved to the area from Bilbao and who saw an opportunity to capitalise on the flourishing new trade in wine in this part of Spain.
They are still based in the town of Haro, in the heart of the Rioja wine region, where their bodega sits close to the railway station alongside where some of the other old wineries of Rioja Alta established themselves in order to benefit from the ease of transport via rail to the port of Bilbao, the most efficient form of transport in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
By 1900, the winery had an unusually large, for the time, capacity of 80,000 bottles. Since this was an era when most wineries sold their produces as soon as possible rather than allow it to age and mature.
Throughout the twentieth century they have remained at the forefront of the Rioja wine trade and while now a public listed company they are still run by descendants of the founding family. The company is still controlled by the direct descendants of the founding family. Victor Urrita the current CEO, who has been in charge since 2003 is a fifth generation descendant.
In addition the their winery in Haro they also own, or control two other Rioja bodegas, Vinedos del Contino and Viña Real, alongside Virgen del Galir in Valdeorras and Roger Goulart in Catalonia. The scale of their operations can be appreciated by the fact that they control over 400 hectares of vines in Rioja Alta.