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cuneThis wine has pedigree. In operation since 1879, The Cune Winery is located in the traditional Rioja Alta region and is one of Spain’s iconic wines. Its 2004 Imperial Rioja Gran Reserva 2004 was named Wine Spectator’s 2013 wine of the year.

This Crianza has the elegance and bearing you would expect of a wine with that lineage. “Crianza” is the Spanish quality level designating affordable wines for daily drinking. They must be aged for a minimum of one year in oak, but the oak is usually used oak and thus does not impart strong flavors.

Playing to type, the Cune shows restrained red and black fruit. Although lacking intensity on the nose it makes up for it with a good deal of subtlety. Dusty, baked earth, hay, all lightly traced by lovely balsamic notes make this a real charmer.

It is similarly modest but full of finesse on the palate. Cherry flavors are draped on a  tender, medium body,  with gentle tannins supporting an herbal finish. Svelte and endearing, a bit restrained but graceful and well balanced. A perfect wine for a tranquil world, but on the roiling cauldron of planet earth it will remind you of tranquility if you give it some attention. An outstanding bargain.

80% Tempranillo with some Garnacha and Mazuelo.

Score: 89

Alc: 13.5%

Price: $15