Wine region / Country
Cune Imperial Reserva 2007 (2 bottles)
Recaredo Terrers Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2008 (2 bottles)
Pedralonga Albariño 2012 (2 bottles)
Normal retail price: £92.88
Club Discount Price: £78.22
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Red Reserva. Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España - CVNE Rioja, Spain Tempranillo, Graciano, Mazuelo
Bottle: £15.92 club members / £18.52 non-members
In general, the whole wide and varied collection consists of wines that are all-time favourites, captivating widely differing palates and enjoying extensive international acclaim, but the Imperial Reserva is the most emblematic, their most representative wine.
The Imperial Reserva exemplifies the range of high expression wines - superior quality wines at reasonable prices. Alongside the Imperial Gran Reserva and the Real de Asúa, the winemaker's little gem, are the three most highly cossetted wines, veritable artisan products, with harvesting by hand, vineyards over thirty years old and grape selection on the sorting table; three wines that show great complexity, intense, accessible and well-balanced, the kind that can always be recommended.
The Imperial Reserva is unmistakeably a Rioja, and a very good Rioja at that. The first aromas to be released after pouring it into the glass are like taking a step back into the region's history, when Rioja and Bordeaux were so closely linked. It displays a classic nose, with lots of ripe juicy fruit, plums and red fruit (typical of the Tempranillo, its main variety), smoky touches and notes of damp undergrowth and oiled leather which magically transport us to that French region over the border. There really is something in common between Rioja and Bordeaux, a compelling bond, linking both the characters of their wines and their histories.
The wine quickly opens up to delight us with a subtle sweetness, a mineral presence and an elegant balsamic background, some eucalyptus notes which intensify with time in the glass, most attractively, and with a lovely underlay of caramel. On the palate it is very juicy, also pleasantly sweet but always in balance, showing evidence of acidity, fine body and structure – this is a meaty wine. It has a lot of personality, it is a complex entity, integrated, that leaves a sensation of cleanness on the palate and the tongue, without any bitterness or harshness. It is not a concentrated wine but definitely intense, sinewy, very versatile when teamed with food, such as fine red meats, game dishes, stews and cooked mushrooms, tripe, traditional Rioja cuisine... and, although it is a wine that leaves the winery ready to be enjoyed immediately, it has the capacity to age beautifully, so the sort of wine always to have at home, the type that never fails.
The name Imperial comes from the special bottling for the English market, known as an Imperial Pint.
Cune is written with a 'u' when it refers to the wine as a brand name; with a 'v' when referring to the winery's name, the initials of the Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España, familiarly known as Cune.
Game dishes / any type of meat / barbecues / potatoes with chorizo / cured cheeses / tripe
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Gran Reserva sparkling. Cava Recaredo Cava, Spain Xarel·lo, Macabeo, Parellada
Bottle: £11.71 club members / £14.56 non-members
Its good name has not come by chance nor from a mere day's work. This winery, approaching a hundred years old, has maintained a style of its own right from the start, showing great professionalism and sincerity, with an artisan approach and a high regard for each process, starting in the vineyard and on through production, ageing, disgorgement... Full attention to detail, devoted to end consumer satisfaction.
Its entry or most affordable Cava is known as Recaredo Terrers, a Brut Nature Cava as all Recaredo Cavas, made without the addition of sugar. Quite remarkable, despite being completely dry, is its amazing loveliness and smoothness on the palate, something which is only achieved with excellent grape maturity and very lengthy ageing; in fact all their Cavas are Gran Reservas as well. In addition, some of the base wines ferment and age in oak barrels, endowing structure, complexity and refinement to the final coupage. All in all, large and small details, such as the use of natural cork stoppers during ageing, disgorging each bottle by hand without the need for freezing the neck and the date of disgorgement on the back label, which ultimately contributes to the creation of an excellent product — one that never has a single drop left in the bottle. By the way, don't worry if you've got a bottle hidden away in the cellar, the longevity of all these Cavas is guaranteed.
Recaredo Terrers is a Cava with very fine bubbles which slowly rise upwards in the glass. Visually delightful to be sure on a Champagne flute, but if you're wanting to enjoy all its complexity, we suggest you drink it like a very fine wine, in a wide glass. Then you will appreciate on the nose the minerality of the terroir, those calcareous soils, and be seduced by its freshness of ripe white fruit, shrouded in very subtle smoky notes, a gentle floral perfume, and a background of bitter almonds which confers a special character. This is a superior Cava, although the range’s starting point.
On the palate it is simply majestic. It is creamy, but glides lightly over the tongue. Savour it in the mouth, that delicious mousse, with a very refined carbonic presence. After a slight temperature rise in the glass, the quality of the base wine becomes more evident, and some delightful floral notes appear, fresh country aromas such as fennel, and the creaminess still remains, constantly kept in check by an acidity achieving the requisite balance.
All kinds of dishes
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Young white. Adega Pedralonga Rías Baixas, Spain Alvarinho
Bottle: £11.48 club members / £13.35 non-members
Pedralonga has a special characteristic too: it undergoes malolactic fermentation on its lees which reduces that sharp acidity, rather harsh at times, which we find in many Albariños. Nevertheless, it maintains its freshness, a breezy Atlantic saline freshness, yet differing in this too, without the iodine notes that characterise other whites made from this variety.
And a third important feature, Pedralonga is mineral. The granite soils leave their mark both in the glass and on the label. Notes of dry stone team up nicely with that marine freshness, along with aromas of ripe fruit on the sweetish side (lychees, green apples, fresh grapes) and a background of velvety sensations, like flower petals. The nose is lovely and pleasant, blemish free and also not excessive, not overly exuberant; it is simply and genuinely good.
Its colour is pale yellow in the glass, with the tears running down slowly. There is a glycerin feel and a fruit-forwardness, as it fills the mouth and sticks to the lips, interestingly revealing an underlay of crunchy popcorn. More of an interior than a coastal Albariño, all things considered, it is flavoursome and concludes with a clean finish, which makes it a good accompaniment to a wide range of culinary options, from shellfish and vegetables pan-fried to seafood rice dishes, right through to white meats, noodle paellas and fish soups. A wine you’ll want to carry on pouring until every last drop has gone.
Grilled shellfish / braised vegetables / noodle paella / white meats / Cordon bleu / fish soups / fish stew
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