£20.49, 14%, Co-op; Majestic; Wine Rack; Berry Bros; Wine Rack; Wimbledon Wine Cellars; Cambridge Wine Merchant;
CVNE's Imperial is one of Rioja's best value, ageworthy wines. This is still an infant and will need at least another five years in bottle to come close to its best. Dense, concentrated and sweetly oaked with a chalky undertone adding freshness and bite to the plum and raspberry fruit flavours. Traditional Rioja at its youthful best.
This is a complex blend of old vine Garnacha with Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignan (Samsó) from one of the best cooperatives in Spain. Think of it as a mini-Priorat, but at a slightly lower price. Plum, spice and chocolate-like flavours are appealingly intertwined here, with the Cabernet adding some leafy freshness to the herbal, earthy Mediterranean flavours. The minerality and the acidity keep the wine fresh, despite its comparatively high alcohol.
£26.17, 14.5%, contact winery
The top red wine from LaFou is an impressive blend of mostly Grenache with lesser amounts of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, again showing judicious oak handling, refreshing minerality and ripe, but not over-ripe flavours of plum, chocolate and red fruits, with hints of tapenade and a brisk, refreshing finish. This is winemaking of a high order.
The more popular David Molas’ wines become the less we will see reds with some bottle age, which is a shame as these certainly develop over time. Combining Cariñena, Garnacha, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, this is a stylish, spicy, sun-kissed wine with subtle oak and notes of incense and dried herbs.
Mature, concentrated, figgy fortified style made in a tawny, barrel-aged style. The volatility is quite marked here, but it’s a complex, aged style with nutty, almond and rancio flavours and impressive, Christmas cake complexity
A Cariñena-based blend with some bottle age. Despite the high alcohol, this is a stylish wine, with savoury tannins, sweet flavours of fig and wild strawberry and a rich, satisfying finish.
A stylish, well-balanced blend of Grenache, Syrah, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon couched in an international style. Aromatic, raspberry and bramble fruit with sweet vanilla oak, bright acidity and smooth tannins.
Blending Garnatxa and Syrah and aged for six months in oak, this is an ambitious rosado with good concentration and notes of red fruits and wild herbs. Subtle wild strawberry fruit, a nip of tannin and fresh acidity. Slightly pricey.
Unusually for Empordà (uniquely?) this is a varietal, organically-farmed Tempranillo with minimal sulphur. It’s the cheapest red from the bodega: vibrant and juicy, with plum and raspberry fruit and good concentration.
A varietal Samsó (Cariñena) from one the region’s most ambitious producers, this is a modern style Emporda red with lashings of sweet oak. The freshness and spiciness of the Samsó give the wine lift and balance, with dark, black fruits to the fore. A wine that needs some time in the bottle to show at its best.