Oct 5, 2020
In the show, I welcome Victor Urrutia, the CEO of the Compañia
Vinícola del Norte de España (CVNE) one of the most famed
bodegas in Rioja, which has been around since 1879. Victor is part
of the 5th generation of a family that has run CVNE
(said coo-NAY) for 141 years. We discuss the storied history of
this classic, traditional, high quality bodega, and probe into a
dozen other Rioja-related topics.
Victor and I cover many subjects, and I was thrilled to have him
- it’s been really hard for me to find Spanish producers to come on
the show and he comes from one of the most historic, classic, and
outstanding bodegas in Rioja (I drink A LOT of CVNE!).
Here’s a high level of what you’ll find in the show:
- Victor tells us the story of his family in Rioja and in wine,
and his circuitous route to becoming a leader that combines a
progressive attitude with a strong respect for tradition.
- We dork out on the Rioja region. Victor tells us all about what
is important and what is not in the world of Rioja wine. We discuss
the three major regions (Alta, Alavesa, Baja/Oriental) and how they
differ in geography, grape types, and traditions.
- We hit on climate, climate change, and the land that surrounds
- Victor compares Rioja to Champagne (at first I was skeptical,
but I see his point now and you will too) and the movement towards
single vineyard wines to the grower movement. We have a nerdy
discussion about Italians in Barolo, the French in Champagne, and
the Riojanos and how all these regions share much common ground (I
promise, it comes together!).
- Victor tells us about the differences between the four brands
under the CVNE umbrella in short:
- CVNE is the flagship brand. Grapes come
from both Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa, and from warmer and cooler
climates to make highly drinkable, tasty wine. CVNE is made every
year, and is made in a traditional style. It is a classic Rioja
which changes with vintage, but never wavers on quality.
- Imperial is Reserva and Gran Reserva
only. These wines are structured, excellent for aging, and only
made in the best years from estate grown fruit in Rioja Alta. First
made in the 1920s, these wines are the benchmark style of classic
Rioja for many familiar with the region.
- Viña Real was also launched in the
1920s, but it is more fruit forward, has a stronger new oak
component and a higher percentage of Garnacha to make it more fruit
forward and “modern” in style. Grapes come from Rioja Alavesa.
- Contino is CVNE’s single vineyard
brand, established in 1973. These wines are reflective of the site
in Rioja Alavesa and are usually more fruit forward and powerful
than either Imperial or Viña Real.
- Monopole is the white wine we mention, that has
a portion of Sherry blended in, representing the old school style.
We end with a few business questions about how Spain invested to
become such a force in the modern wine world, the future of Rioja
if Alavesa (which is located squarely in Basque country) was to
separate from the larger region, and the plans for CVNE,
which involve never being satisfied and always doing better (an
This is a lively, unique look at Rioja. Take a listen then try
these wines – I have been a pretty loyal drinker for years and I
can promise that if you like Rioja, these will wow you!
And register for current classes at: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes
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