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95-Points and a Super-Sharp Price make this 2011 Rioja a Must-Buy - 12/10/2017 - Spain

Earning 95-Points from James Suckling and tied for his second highest rated Rioja of the vintage, we can say with confidence that the 2011 Viña Real Gran Reserva is a very special bottle of wine. Anyone who loves a classically-styled Rioja with a modern flair will be more than tantalized by this beautifully composed effort. Of course, given the long tradition of Viña Real producing world-class wines, we were hardly surprised the 2011 shows as well as it does. The wines of Viña Real remain very affordably priced with this 2011 clocking in at a mere $34.99. This is a lot of wine for such a modest price. Full-bodied, ripe and fleshy, its tannins show excellent grip, indicating a very long and fruitful future awaits. But don’t hesitate to pop the cork now, as after an hour decant, this 2011 absolutely sings. Flavors of wild cherry dominate and are joined by accents of smoke, earth, mushroom, and moments of tobacco. Rioja continues to be a go-to region for us and Viña Real is a big reason why. Whether you well versed in the world of Spanish wines or are a newcomer, this Gran Reserva is a wine you simply have to try.

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2011 Viña Real Gran Reserva Rioja ($34.99)

95 points James Suckling: "This is very driven and structured with blackberry, stone, floral and mushroom aromas. Full body, firm and polished tannins. Finish goes on for minutes. Needs two or three years of bottle age." (01/2018)

92 points Wine & Spirits: "A selection from CVNE's vineyards in Alavesa, Viña Real is ripe and chocolate-rich in 2011. Aged in both French and American oak, the influence of the oak is prominent at the moment, but there's plenty of ripe raspberry warmth to fill it. The wine tastes like a savory version of chocolate-dipped raspberries, and it's hard to argue with its deliciousness, especially if there's a seared duck breast nearby." (07/2017)

90 points Wine Spectator: "A polished texture carries flavors of black cherry, licorice, tea and underbrush in this harmonious red. Well-integrated tannins and balsamic acidity give this a balanced structure. Drink now through 2021. (TM)" (12/2017)

Staff ImageSteve Bearden | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 06, 2017

This beguiling wine is rich, smooth, wonderfully dry and crammed with cherry, raspberry and dark plum fruit. There are hints of cedar, leather, mineral and mushroom embedded in the fine grip of the long finish. A serious and complex wine that is delicious now and has a long life ahead of it.

Staff ImageStefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 05, 2017

If I could pick the perfect food wine, this one would be pretty much there. An incredible blend of fruit and savory notes lead this bottling to enhance almost anything you choose to pair it with. There is good base structure that is overlayed with deep fruits and slight minerality, which definitely makes this wine approachable now.

Staff ImageRachel Vogel | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 05, 2017

The time in new French and American oak brings a beautiful richness and baking spice to this superb Rioja. A touch of Graciano in the wine adds graceful aromatics and the bit of Mazuelo brings a beautiful deep color and texture to the wine. A great vintage with mellow, integrated tannins and long lasting acidity makes this a wine easily enjoyed now with the expectation of a great tomorrow.

Staff ImageChristina Stanley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 05, 2017

The Viña Real Gran Reserva Rioja from Cvne is crafted with a balance of modernity and tradition in mind. The 2011 is a beautiful expression of that philosophy, with classic aromas of stewed raspberry, red apple skin, dill and spice, but with a pronounced minerality on the palate. A bit lighter and more energetic than you might expect from a Gran Reserva Rioja, this is an elegant, modern interpretation.

Staff ImageJoe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 05, 2017

Often times listed as "Cune Vina Real," Vina Real may be under the Cune corporate umbrella, but it functions as its own independent winery (an architecturally award winning one at that) with its own unique fruit contracts in Rioja Alavesa which lend its bright, fruit forward style to the wine across the board. It is also made in smaller quantities than the large sized production of wines such as Cune Crianza, for example. In 2011, the Vina Real GR style is one that I can best refer to as "generosity, defined." As in, the fruit is generous, perhaps even flirting with lush, but clearly defined by a thread of acidity that leads to a wonderfully fresh finish and points towards great drinking for years to come, or at least (conservatively) 7-8 additional years. Savory, meaty notes are only just beginning to emerge, with tell-tale notes of sweet baking spices flirting with the fruit, though ultimately it is the beautiful mixed berry fruit which carries the wine. Expect lots of deliciousness, endless pairing possibilities, and a nicely drawn out drinking window for this fairly priced, iconic Rioja.

Staff ImageJoe Bruno | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 04, 2017

This wine stands out in the 2011 vintage with more liveliness and bright fruit than typically seen that growing season. An expansive nose of dark cherries, plum, and dates followed by caramel, oak barrels, and spice notes. The flavor profile on the palate evolves seamlessly with prunes, both dark and red cherries, and strawberries. Cocoa powder flavors play with silky tannins and the aforementioned elevated acidity. This wine is built for the long haul; drinking nicely now but another 4-6 years would put this in a really fun place. Pair with paella; preferably of the fennel sausage and rabbit variety!