In a nutshell: A delightful, delicately floral and refreshingly dry rosé from Rioja.
The lowdown: Rioja, Spain's most famous wine region is renowned for its matchless reds, but there are also pretty good white and rosés from here which shouldn't be overlooked. This one, made by the famous Compania Vinicole del Norte de España (CVNE), while at an entry level price, is a great example of their style. It's made from a blend of white Viura and red Tempranillo grapes grown in the Rioja Alta region. Particular attention is taken in the winery to preserve the delicate, aromatic floral aromas. It's got a pleasing, soft palate with clean peach, apricot, strawberry and citrus fruit flavours backed up with fresh acidity.
When to drink: Perfectly balanced it's very versatile, perfect at a lunchtime, or for quaffing by itself.
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.