Much of the enjoyment of wine occurs in the moment. Whether you’re alone or with friends, at home or enjoying a night on the town, close by or traveling afar, all of these affect your initial impressions and memories of a wine.
When I was sorting through my wine collection this week, I re-discovered some old favorites I had been holding on to without really knowing how long they last. Most wines aren’t made to sit in a closet or cellar longer than a year or two, or maybe three if you’re lucky and know how to properly store them.
If I was going to enjoy those bottles again, I figured that I’d better do it soon… no time like the present!
Thus, I begin a short mini-series to see if my current palate agrees with the likes and preferences of past me. I’ve been somewhat lax on my wine training, so it’s time to get back to it!
This week, I’m opening a white that struck me as of incredible quality at the very start of my wine studies, when I still felt I was a “red wine person” with few exceptions. Easily I recall the lecture-style course centered on the grapes of Rioja, Spain, my younger self eager to soak it all in and maybe even take the certification exam one day.
While I have yet to complete the Rioja certification, those wines still hold a place near and dear to my heart, and Cune especially.
C.V.N.E., as it was originally known, now also goes by Cune, or “koo-nay.” It’s a company of now four wineries run by the same family who began the group in 1879. The Monopole, my indulgence for today, “is the oldest white wine brand in Spain” according to the brand website, first released in 1915 and using a blend of primarily Viura grapes.
An interesting winemaking note I didn’t know before: a bit of manzanilla sherry is added to the finished wine, which explains its slightly darker color and light nutty/oxidative note on the nose. But I’m getting ahead of myself!
To recap, I’m trying the C.V.N.E. 2016 Monopole Clásico, Blanco Seco. The color is a clear medium straw with touches of old gold.
Aromas are of medium intensity, have both a clean and delicate quality, and include almonds, white flowers, chamomile tea, yellow apple, lemon zest, and wet chalky stones on the nose. Flavors closely follow, again clean at medium intensity with the addition of yeast and hazelnuts. Clearly not a simple wine, especially due to time on its lees and the addition of manzanilla, but it still reads as relatively fresh and vibrant despite its age.
The Monopole is dry, with medium-plus acidity, high levels of alcohol and a creamy, full body with rich texture. With excellent balance, medium length of flavor finish, medium intensities and some complexity, I’d judge the bottle at this moment in time to be of very good quality. Honestly, I’d like to purchase a more recent release to judge whether it really is as exceptional as I remember.
However, the 2016 doesn’t have room to age much further, so definitely drink it now if you find one, or look instead for a more recent vintage.
If you do happen to find a 2016, veer away from foods with strong flavor profiles — think instead of delicate fish in lemon butter sauce, roast chicken with field greens, eggs Benedict on thinly-sliced honey-cured ham, or soft fresh cheeses.
As for me, I think I’ll watch the sunset out my window with another glass of this Monopole in hand, dreaming of days when I can attend wine classes once more.
What sort of wine should I revisit next? White? Red? Rosé? Bubbles? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll pick based on your preferences, dear readers.
Some exciting projects are coming up for the blog, so keep checking in — this is going to be a fantastic year for food trials and new experiences.
As always, thanks for reading!