Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Cvne Crianza 2010: Forget the Rain - a Taste of Spain

Rain, rain go to Spain and let us drink your Cvne Crianza 2010, until the sunshine comes back again!

The recent sunshine, it seems, has left us once more. It's hard to know when it might return, so if like me you don't feel the rain and grey clouds inspire the chilled gin and tonics we'd all love to be slurping on, then perhaps you ought to give Cvne Crianza 2010 a try.

A quick aside for any Rioja novices out there, here's a nutshell overview: Rioja is a Spanish wine region with Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOC) status, which in non-jargon means it's a controlled wine region whose nominal wines undergo strict quality regulation.

The region produce four styles: Rioja, Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva, which are differentiated by how much time the wine has spent aging. Wines simply labeled as "Rioja" have spent about a year aging in oak; Crianzas spend at least two years aging - at least one of which is in oak; Reservas spend three years aging, at least one of which is in oak and then there's Gran Reservas which have spent a minimum of two years in oak and three years in bottle.

The maturation hierarchy in easy-to-remember human terms:

Toddler: Rioja
Teenager: Crianza
Adult: Reserva
OAP: Gran Reserva

When you're choosing a bottle of Rioja, bear in mind that the time the wine has spent aging is an indicator of how fruity/not fruity/oaky it's going to taste. Over time fruitiness subsides and gives way to flavour complexities and, if the wine is aging in oak, lovely vanilla, spice, and toasty characteristics.

Anyway back to the wine at hand - the teenaged Cvne Crianza 2010. It's a feel-good, fruity red, which with a bit of oomph to warm you up in a rainy moment and have your thoughts Mediterranean-bound. It's an effortlessly easy to drink (not like an alcopop) wine and an assuring mid-week comfort. Jam-packed with cherries and blueberries, the Cvne Crianza was just the wine for my homemade meatballs, but could have easily partnered with a chorizo stew, as it's got a touch of oaky spice.

Only £9.99 at Majestic, so there's no excuse not to go and get yourself a bottle, escape the rain and find your head in Spain.

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