Rioja to knocka your socks off

Cune barrel fermented Blanco 2011, Rioja
Cune barrel fermented Blanco 2011, Rioja
Locks Heath village centre

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Spain is not only the most interesting wine destination in Europe at the moment, but offers the best value.

There are so many previously unknown regions coming to our attention that it really is exciting. However, don’t forget Rioja.

I tasted my way through a selection from one of the region’s best-known producers, CVNE, recently and found a great mix of traditional and modern styles.

Imperial Gran Reserva 2004, Rioja (Majestic £28) is one of Rioja’s great wines with damsons, coffee, liquorice and lovely weight. For a special occasion perhaps, but worth every penny. Try matching with a leg of lamb. A more frivolous wine, CUNE Rosado 2012, Rioja (Majestic £8.99) is fresh with summer berries and a dry finish, a tasty rosé for the last days of summer.

TOP TIPPLE: Cune barrel fermented Blanco 2011, Rioja

Surely a sign of the times that a white wine is my top tipple in a review of Rioja, and don’t be put off by the words ‘barrel fermented’ on the label. This is a very modern take on a traditional wine, full of fresh citrus fruit with a touch of herbs, but the oak is well-judged adding to the effect not dominating the wine. Try with lemon barbecued chicken. Waitrose, Ocado, £9.99 Also The Fareham Wine Cellar