Bringing CVNE´s Riojan Elegance to the Ribera del Duero

A Misprint Leads to a Name Change

CVNE (pronounced Coo-nay), is a shortened version of the Northern Spanish Wine

CVNE label
image: aranousa

Company (Compañía Vinicola del Norte de España). Founded in 1879 in the Haro district of Rioja by two brothers, the first wine produced was suppose to represent the company’s initials, however a misprint changed the “V” to a “U” and CUNE was born. 

Today, the winery is run by the fifth generation and has 1350 acres under vine which represent 50% of the total production of the company. The vineyards are split between the two subregions of Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa. The winery has 22 buildings including the original 1879 structure and has led the industry in innovation by being the first to have a concrete fermentation cellar and the use of gravity fed vinification. 

Making Wine in the Ribera del Duero

The Ribera del Duero is located in Castilla Leon and is made up of nine distinct provinces. Today it holds the honor of being the top region in terms of Unesco classified sites. The region is known for monastaries, castles, churches and Tempranillo. 

Ribera del DueroThe region obtained its name thanks to its proximity to the Duero River. Although wine making has been part of the Ribera del Duero’s history since the middle ages, during the twentieth century, the grape vines were ripped up and were replaced with cereal grain. 

Wine was almost forgotten during that time, until Robert Parker gave top scores to a very small producer, Tinto Pesquera, and as they say.. the rest is history. Cereal grain was ripped up and grape vines were once again planted and in 1982, the Denominacion de origen (the regulatory institution that controls wine procedures and overall quality in the region) was created. 

image courtesy of EJ Gallo

Within the region, Tempranillo is King, with the majority of the Tinto Fina wines being 100%. Over the past forty years, the demand for wines from Ribera del Duero have increased.  

The name, Tempranillo, comes from the Spanish temprano, meaning “early.” This grape variety tends to ripen earlier than other native grapes. The first documentation of Tempranillo was in 1807. It is thought to have been introduced to the Iberian Peninsula by the Phoenicians over 3,000 years ago. 


Bela’s label pays homage to one of CVNE’s original labels. Each of the three stars represent one of the three children of CVNE’s founder, Eusebio Real de Asua. The eldest child, Sophia was known as Bela. 

The fruit is hand harvested from estate vineyards located in the village of Villalba de Duero. The vines are situated above 800m altitude and are grown in calcareous clay and sandy loam soils. After a cold soak, the wine is fermented in stainless steel and aged for six months in American and French , new and one-year oak barrels.  

2017 Bela Ribera del Duero (SRP: $19)

Bela Ribera del Duero
media sample: opinions and comments are my own

? medium ruby

?? pronounce aromas of smoke, black plum, earth, and black cherry

? dry, high acidity, high tannin, medium alcohol, medium body, medium flavors of clove, tobacco, black plum, black cherry

? medium finish, 100% Tempranillo, 14% ABV, drink now through 2021

Thank you to Arano Imports and Donna White Communications for providing me with the sample. 


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2 thoughts on “Bringing CVNE´s Riojan Elegance to the Ribera del Duero”

  1. Nice work, Lori 🙂 It is interesting that we both wrote about the same wine at the same time 🙂 Had a post last night about a group of Tempranillo wines, including Bela.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Hope to see you soon!

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