£12 (on offer), Sainsbury's
Textbook Gran Reserva from CVNE, one of Rioja's most admired bodegas. Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España (you can see why it's known as CVNE, pronounced 'coonay') has long since perfected a style that blends modernity with the best of classical approaches: in this case, combining ripe, dark fruit with two years' ageing in French and American oak barrels followed by three years in bottle. The result is a balance of sweet, velvety fruit with creamy cappuccino texture and flavours of vanilla, tobacco, and spiced mocha chocolate. Roast lamb is a classic match, but in truth a Gran Reserva like this will partner almost any roast or char-grilled meat or poultry, fast or slow-cooked, with or without garlic and herbs or spices. It’s also good with roast vegetables and hard cheeses, especially sheep’s: Manchego comes to mind. It's currently on offer at £12, but its good value at the full price of £13.50.
Taste the Difference CVNE Rioja Gran Reserva 2011, Rioja, Spain