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Waitrose Cune Rioja Review

Spanish wine hasn't always fared well against its French and New World rivals, but the popularity of Rioja (made predominantly from the tempranillo grape in northern Spain) seems to have surged in recent years.

This one, a blend of tempranillo, garnacha (aka grenache) and graciano grapes, boasts some glowing reviews on the Waitrose website: "delicious, rich and robust," " a fabulous example of what Rioja can and should be," are among the comments. And at £13.49, expectations are high. Can you sense there's a "but"coming? Yep. Having spent two years in oak barrels, for me it's just too oaky.

It certainly gets out of the blocks quickly. Its smell shoots out as soon as you pull the cork, like a genie escaping from a lamp. Leave it to breathe and blackcurrant notes emerge, followed by coffee, but generally it's not especially complex. On the palate it's gentle but firm: soft fruit with a solid smack of tannin.

A decent drop then, to be sure, but it suffered from raised expectations caused by a combination of the reviews and the price tag. That said... I did only pay a tenner for it, because it was reduced by 25%. If I'd paid full price I'd have been a touch disappointed.

Rating: 3.5/5

Cune Rioja Reserva, 2016. 13.5% vol. Screw cap. £13.49 (£9.99 on special offer at the time of purchase).

Gary Rose

I’m Gary Rose, a full-time (ex BBC) magazine journalist with over 15 years’ experience as a writer and chief sub-editor on one of the UK’s biggest print magazines. I’m also the guardian of an unimpressive scroll certifying that I know a bit about wine.

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