Rioja to Galicia

Anyone who enjoys a glass of Rioja will surely be familiar with the producer generally known as ‘Cune’.  Their wines are reliable, good value for money and readily available in most supermarkets and many wine merchants.  But, although the wines are sold under the name Cune, the company behind them is actually CVNE (or Companiá Vinícola del Norte de España to give it its full name).

Whatever we call them, their wines aren’t limited to Rioja; they have vineyards and wineries in several regions across the north of Spain (as you might guess from their name).  They produce Cava, reds in Ribera del Duero and one of their newest projects is in Galicia in the far north-west of the country.  I’m a big fan of Galician wines and this is a region that is now becoming rightly fashionable as the source of crisp, fragrant whites from indigenous local varieties such as Albariño and Godello grown on cool, Atlantic-influenced slopes.

But CVNE’s Galician involvement is based further inland, in the more continental climate of Valdeorras, where, apart from a delicious Godello, they also produce an attractive red from the local Mencía grape.

I opened a bottle of the latter recently, sold under the brand name Maruxa with its striking label (Majestic, a bargain at £10.99). 

A red that would appeal to lovers of New World Pinot Noir, this is delightfully floral on the nose and full of lovely, upfront bitter cherry fruit.  Quite food-friendly – we paired it with some pan-fried duck breasts and it worked really well – but this is a wine that opens up and develops in the glass over time so is well worth decanting.

So far, the Valdeorras region and the Mencía grape variety are less well-known than Galicia’s whites but, on the evidence of this bottle and others I have tasted previously, wine lovers looking to explore new ground and different flavours should certainly be seeking out these flavoursome local reds.

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