One of the questions I am most often asked is, ‘where do you buy your wine from?’ Perhaps people imagine I have some secret supplier who doles out bottles of vinous elixir at rock bottom prices.
The answer though is rather duller – everywhere. I must drive my nearest and dearest bonkers by rootling through brochures and websites at home, browsing through the dusty shelves of an independent wine merchant and disappearing off every time we’re in the supermarket to see if there’s anything interesting in the wine section on special offer.
For all this activity, every now and again I come up with a cracking bargain. And this week’s offering is one of them, so much so I hesitate to tell you.
CVNE, known to the world as the more pronounceable Cune, is one of Rioja’s grandest houses. It is still family owned after five generations and its winery in Haro is steeped in wine history with a cellar designed and built by Gustave Eiffel – of tower fame. Its Imperial and Real reserve wines are greeted rapturously each year by the wine world. But it also produces a range of ‘standard’ wines that are made with every bit as much pride and care.
These are not easy times in the Spanish wine industry. Domestic consumption is falling sharply and so producers like Cune are turning to export markets like Britain. As a result probably all the best wine bargains right now are coming out of Spain. Amazingly though, the bargains are getting better, even though the pound is falling.
Right now Tesco is offering Cune’s 2011 Gran Reserva for just £12.50 a bottle. This is a powerful and enormously elegant wine, aged for two years in barrel and then bottle conditioned for another three before it leaves the winery, equally ready to drink now or lay down for 20 years.
The taste is one great swirl of blackberries and vanilla with great length, 85 per cent Tempranillo grapes, with just a smidgeon of Graciano and Mazuelo to provide a deep ruby colour and hint of spices.
At this price it is already an outstanding bargain, and able to hold its head up against clarets that cost three or four times as much. But wonderfully that’s not all. Those nice people at Tesco are offering 25 per cent off wine when you order six or more online until the end of the month. That brings the bottle price to just £9.37!
Less than a tenner for a classic Gran Reserva that in all fairness should cost a multiple of that, so you can drink dinner party wine at the kitchen table. Stock up now.
Cune Gran Reserva 2011 (Tesco £12.50)