Today we are delighted to offer a true Rioja classic, a wine that has earned its place among the world’s finest reds, the 2014 vintage release of CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva. The CVNE Imperial, a wine which Luis Gutierrez of The Wine Advocate has named as, “an icon among classical Rioja” is only produced in the best vintage years and undergoes a lengthy ageing process, so each release is highly anticipated and sought-after. The 2014 vintage, a cuvée of Tempranillo with 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo, is a powerful yet elegant wine which stays true to its character as a “classic Imperial.” It has been awarded 94 points by both The Wine Advocate and James Suckling who admires it as, “A fine-tuned and polished Gran Reserva with lots of finesse and linear character. Medium body. Refined and beautiful.”
The price today on release is £200 per case of 6 IB, which represents fantastic value for a wine which has such immense drinkability now, but which has the capability of ageing at least several more decades. There is a tremendous amount of care that has gone into each bottle, which will have been aged for 36 months in cask and then an additional 48 months in bottle before being released to market today. Only 4,000 cases are produced on average. We are also able to offer this release in a range of stunning large formats, each of which will arrive in a wooden case, including magnums at £210 per case of 3 IB, or as an individual double magnum or imperial at £145 or £300 IB, respectively.
Bodegas C.V.N.E, which stands for Compagna Vinicola del Norte de Espana is one of the most renowned bodegas in Rioja and all of Spain, having remained in the hands of the Real de Aua family since its establishment in 1879. The winery is a marvel within itself, having been inspired by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, with metal trusses being used from wall to wall, rather than conventional columns, in order to improve open space, helping the ageing and management of barrels. Imperial is an independent winery within CVNE with its own 28 hectare of vineyards in the Rioja Alta zone and was first produced in the 1920s, deriving its name from the Imperial Pint measurement. The grapes for Imperial Gran Reserva are sourced from the best and the oldest vines around Villalba, Briones and Torremontalbo. After hand-harvesting and a thorough manual selection the grapes are fermented in French oak vats. The wine is then aged for 24 months in French and American oak barrels and spends another 36 months in the bottles before it’s released.
The Imperial Gran Reserva is produced from vineyards around Villalba and Haro in Rioja Alta, which have a minimum vine age of 20 years, up to 80 years in many cases. The bush trained vines are protected by the Cantabrian Mountains, which create a microclimate within a microclimate. Only the healthiest grapes are selected from the fittest bushes; many long-retired bushes remain, yet not replanted due to the intricate and co-dependant root system. The singular thought is quality. Only hand harvesting would work here due to the terroir, then bunches are hand selected and cold macerated, prior to a cold temperature fermentation. Following a long maceration, the wines go through malolactic fermentation and then into barrels of American and French oak; before there lengthy period of bottle ageing.