cune you decide which style is more real?

cune you decide which style is more real?

It's fairly typical for Rioja bodegas to release two rosados: one pale and one dark. Why? It goes back, I think, to the Spanish tradition of producing rosé in two different ways, the clarete style and the rosado style.

I will not bog you down with the differences between "clarete" and "rosado" in this post, as I would be forced to also go into what the words "clairet" and "claret" mean and we don't have all day. I'd rather just talk about the delicious wines we have here, neither of which claims to be anything other than a rosado. (I'll just give you this little morsel to chew on: The wine's final color does not determine its status as a clarete or rosado... Despite what you may have read elsewhere.)

The two wines you see here both come from every oenophile's favorite acronym: the Compañia Vinicola del Norte de España. It should be spelled CVNE, but that just doesn't trip off the tongue, so it's "Koo-nay." Which is apt, because one of these wines looks and smells more than a little like Kool-Aid.

I ought to tell you I like the wine on the left better. Because it is nothing like Kool-Aid and I am supposed to be a wine critic with serious opinions.

This wine is from Cune's Viña Real estate in Rioja Alavesa. It's 85% Viura (aka Macabeo) and 15% Tempranillo. Yes, that is correct: It's mostly white grapes. If this comes as a surprise to you, here's the lowdown: One can't blend together finished red and white wines without risking scorn. But it's A-OK to blend grapes prior to fermentation.

The two grape varieties comacerate for six hours in chilly conditions to reach that delicate pink color, and only the free-run juice is vinified. The wine is pineapple-y and minerally, restrained and a touch saline.

Ho, hum.

The wine on the right, bottled under Cune's main label, is the vinous Kool-Aid. It smells to me like Garnacha that has had some up-close-and-personal time with commercial yeast: strawberry strudel!

And it turns out it is actually not even Garnacha. It's all Tempranillo, which should make me dislike the wine even more. Since when did Tempranillo smell like strawberry strudel?

But on the palate, it's Tempranillo, all right: cherries, gravel, spice, earth. I love the way it stings the lips.

I have not drunk the Kool-Aid, so to speak. Because the Cune is not pretending to be anything other than what it is: an unapologetically rambunctious rosado. As in, the polar opposite of an intellectually pretentious ramato. It's the color of FC Barcelona's stripes, or, more aptly, Club Haro Deportivo's shield. It could and should be consumed in large quantities during games.

And I love it for that. 

technical data: 

  • total acidity: 6.7 g/L 
  • pH: 3.35
  • alcohol by volume: 13.7% 
  • residual sugar: 1.5 g/L


  • drinkability: ⬆ crowd-pleaser
  • presentation: ⬆ bouncy
  • geek factor: ⬇ but who really cares?
worth the vaporetto trip

worth the vaporetto trip

a quick complaint

a quick complaint