Cune Rioja Gran Reserva 2013
Deep, bright-rimmed ruby. Highly perfumed red fruit, potpourri, pipe tobacco, vanilla and coconut aromas, along with hints of star anise, cola and woodsmoke. Offers intense redcurrant, bitter cherry and spicecake flavors that deepen steadily with air while maintaining vivacity. Finishes very long, smooth and appealingly sweet, showing excellent definition, sneaky tannins and a late jolt of smoky minerality.
Cropped from a challenging year, the 2013 Cune Gran Reserva is the classical blend of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo, and it matured in barrique for 24 months followed by 36 months in bottle before being released. They didn't make an Imperial Gran Reserva or even Reserva in 2013, so the best grapes from the challenging 2013 vintage went to this Gran Reserva. It's from a lighter year and perhaps had a softer vinification and a shorter élevage, delivering a gentler Gran Reserva with more fruit. It has an herbal twist that led us to discuss the 1975 Viña Real Gran Reserva, which has a really strong herbal strike. The palate is quite light and is medium-bodied, with mostly resolved tannins and a dry finish.
This polished red offers expressive flavors of cherry, cedar, clove and floral, displaying supple tannins and citrusy acidity. Lively and fresh, with good stuffing. Drink now through 2023.
Earthy berry aromas are adequate but not the stuff of legend. In the mouth, this off-vintage gran reserva is solid but a bit jagged and choppy. Warm, earthy plum and berry flavors come with a mild chocolate backing prior to a balanced finish. Given the difficulties of 2013, namely extended cold weather, this is commendable. Drink through 2030.