Cava and the Cvné Wines from Rioja, Spain

We recently attended a Wine Dinner at Cava, Jalan Bangkung Bangsar with the Wine experts of Cuné wines, Mr Oscar Urrutia and Mr Roderick Hull. Cuné or Cvné, is situated in the traditional neighbourhood of Rioja, where the oldest wineries of Rioja Alta have established themselves. In 1879, two brothers decided to set up a wine business popularly known as , C.V.N.E., Compañía Vinicola del Norte de España (The Northern Spanish Wine Company) or la Cuné, as it is affectionately known as, in Haro.


The Cune winery in Haro, is made up of a group of buildings, mostly from the 19th century and arranged around a courtyard surrounded by pavilions used for wine production, aging, and bottling. Soft and supple on the palate, the Reserva Rioja, is a great wine from a very well-respected linage, and is made from a careful blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Graciano grapes. A wine that would make a good partner for our main course as we would soon find out!


Tapas trio – Kalamanta crab fritters, Pollo Pasteria and Brie Cheese wrapped with Bacon and Dates

So on to dinner.

The first platter known as the Chef’s Special Tapas Platter had an assortment of 3 carefully arranged tapas bites. As we were seated immediately across from Oscar, her strongly urged us to not stick to the recommended paired wines, but rather to fill up our glasses with the different wines and choose for ourselves, what paired with what tapas. This was the first time I had tried this technique at a wine dinner but I must say, that by the end of the night, I quite got the hang of it.

We decided that the both the Contino Reserva 2006 (balsamic finish, velvety) as well as the Viña Real 2008 (good tannins and balanced acidity) paired well with the Pollo Pasteria. The Viña Real complemented the rather strong tasting and spicy chicken pasteria, and so did the Contino Reserva. These two wines managed to mellow the bold flavours of this particular tapas.

We then moved on to experiment with the whites. We found that the Monopole 2010 which was a citrus and floral white, went terrific with the Brie Cheese wrapped with Bacon and Dates as well as the Crab fritters. The white wine had a nice bouquet that enhanced the sweetness of the dates, and brought out the flavours of the porcine and cheese. An interesting and unexpectedly clever pairing. This wine had the same flavour enhancing effect on the Crab fritters.


Mr Oscar Urrutia holds the crowd captive with his riveting stories from the vineyards of Rioja


And if you miss anything, Mr Roderick Hull was there to fill in the bits of the missing puzzle


Lobster Tail Romesco – Fresh Lobster Tail with Romesco dressing and Capellini

This sweet, succulent and tender lobster flesh paired superbly with the Contino Reserva 2006. The Contino was of an intense and deep garnet colour. It also had a high aromatic bouquet and a strong flavour of black fruits. On the palate, it was warm, full bodied and fragrant, with a long fruity and spicy aftertaste.

Contino wines are produced at a small estate located near Laguardia in the Rioja Alavesa region, not far from the Ebro which meanders around the estate in a great, sweeping arc. There is a farmhouse with cellars several centuries old, and 66 hectares of vineyards, all purchased by José Madrazo Real de Asúa in 1973 with the sole aim of producing single vineyard wines in the same vein as any leading Bordeaux château, here using a mix of French and American oak.


Pan Seared Red Lamb Tenderloin with Quince Aioli

The garlicky Quince Aioli and tender pan seared lamb, was a great match for the Imperial Grand Reserva 2001. Bright and deep ruby colour, the nose shows unexpectedly marked Tempranillo characteristics, with undertones of blackberry and liquorice. On the palate it had sufficient body and structure to give great length and finesse in the finish.

The Imperial range, which comprises a reserva and gran reserva, has been around a little longer, since the 1920s in fact – the gran reserva is a great wine, which sits comfortably with the very best Spain can offer. With regard to the Imperial Gran Reserva, the fruit is sourced from vineyards around Villalba and Haro, using only that from vines at least 20 years-old. It is a blend of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo, all harvested by hand, destemmed and cold-macerated, before temperature-controlled fermentation and subsequent ageing for the prescribed time in a mixture of French and American oak.


Pan Seared Wagyu Beef

I loved my mains of Wagyu beef! It had a great fatty marbling that complemented “the final wine and highlight of the night” to perfection – the Imperial Grand Reserve 1999. The Imperial Gran Reserva 1999 is particularly impressive – it was awarded a whopping 94 points on the Robert Parker. This wine is a true classic of Rioja. The grapes for the Imperial Gran Reserva come from the Rioja Alta region, from vines with at least 20 years of age.

The Imperial Gran Reserva 1999 has a very expressive nose of spice, balsamic notes, violets, licqourice and black fruits. Incredibly elegant on the palate, it is a wine of finesse, with intense flavours and a lengthy, pure, silky finish. Imperial Gran Reserva 1999 is an absolutely classic example of the finest Rioja Alta wines and I loved it!


Cava Cheese Cake

This cheese cake served with warm fruit compote, pecan nut and red wine plum dressing was a great end to a fabulous night. Wine and dine, and all things fine.. Life should always be this way, don’t you think;)


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  1. A glass of wine always makes a meal much better ;)

  2. Looking at the post, all I can remember was us wearing caving lights on our foreheads. Those were the days lah!

  3. Man, I feel like my wine knowledge is expanding just from this post alone. Well done, dear! :D

  4. This is some great wine info. I have been walking in the Rioja region in Spain, the earth is such a beautiful red colour and the wine is incredible.

  5. You had me with the red lamb…and everything else in between.

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