2019 Cuentaviñas, Garnacha “CDVIN” Rioja, Spain.
This beautiful and elegant 100% Garnacha shows pretty floral aromatics, mineral tones, delicate spices and an array of silky red fruits led by strawberry, black raspberry, dusty plum and cherry flavors that are unburdened by noticeable wood, making for a high quality effort that has surprising depth and complexity. The mouth feel is wonderfully vinous and ripe, but with a sense of weightlessness and the finish echos the medium bodied palate lingering on and on impressively. I had never had these unique, and pricy, Cuentaviñas offerings before, but I have heard of the Eguren family and have had their excellent Sierra Cantabria Rioja. Cuentaviñas is located near the town of San Vicente de la Sonsierra where owner Eduardo Eguren grew up, which was the inspiration for this high-end label. This dark garnet colored wine was sourced from their indigenous Garnacho (Grenache) vines from the upper Najerilla area, that has a cooler climate and clay-ferrous iron rich soils that have a reddish earthy hue. Interestingly, before these Cuentaviñas wines, the centenary Garnacha vineyards planted here had been undervalued, according to Eguren, and it was almost exclusively used for the production of Rosé, but now they are getting the love and attention they deserve, especially with this CDVIN Garnacha, with its dense core of fruit, along with its hints of rose petals, subtle savory notes and anise. These Cuentaviñas impressed me and in particular this vintage that delivers almost Burgundy like class and style, I highly recommend them for serious wine enthusiasts that want to engage with some alternative versions of Rioja.
Cuentaviñas, a name that means Storytelling of Wine in Spanish, is owned by Eduardo Eguren and his wife Carlota Gonzales, is small lot winery with wines crafted from three distinct terroir parcels planted to native varietals, mainly Tempranillo along with Graciano and Garnacha, as seen in this wine, located within the D.O. of Rioja. All the wines of Cuentaviñas are from organic grapes and holistic farming practices with small yields and heightened acidity to make these gorgeous and finely balanced wines. For these passion project wines, Eguren typically employs a spontaneous indigenous yeast fermentation in large 3,000L French oak vats, with very gentle extraction with daily pigeage. The wine’s maceration usually lasts around 20 days, after which the Garnacha gets a pressing in a vertical basket press. Then the Cuentaviñas wines are aged close to 18 months in neutral 500L French puncheons, that allows the true vineyard nuance to show through with a raw transparency. The Continental climate, in the higher elevations of Rioja, with strong its Atlantic influence and moderated by the Sierra Cantabria mountain range makes for a long growing season and perfectly ripe berries. These vines, for the Garnacha, were planted in 1923, are all old heead trained, dry farmed, goblet vines from the Tejares vineyard, in the upper Najerilla Valley, near the village of Cordovín, for which this wine CDVIN is named. Located in the foothills of the Sierra de la Demanda, with a northern exposure that helps keep things lively and freshens the finished wine’s profile in the glass as this one displays, making it a wonderful expression of place and a great food wine.
($79 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive