Imperial is one of the renowned references in the entire history of Spanish winemaking. It is a true classic in Rioja and was first bottled in the 1920’s. Its name was originally adopted after a special bottling for the English market in a bottle called ‘Pinta Imperial’ or ‘Imperial Pint’ (an Imperial pint, half a litre approximately).
The grapes to make Imperial have always come from our own 28 hectares of vineyards in Villalba (Rioja Alta), and selected vineyards in the nearby communes of Briones and Montalvo, where our vines average age is kept over 20 years to secure quality.
Rioja Alta is the westernmost part of Rioja's three subregions. Its climate is noticeably influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. The soil in Rioja Alta is rich in iron salts, limestone and clay, along with nutrients deposited in the region by the tributaries of the Ebro River. Rioja Alta is known for producing full-bodied wines with a medium alcohol content and a high acidity level that are suitable for being aged in casks, forming the basis of most red Rioja
Aging in cask 36moths and aging in bottle 48 moths before going to market .
This wine is produced from grapes harvested in vineyards that are over 20 years old in the area around Villalba and Haro in Rioja Alta. They are bush pruned, with low yields, and hand harvested. Only the healthiest and ripest grapes are selected, and following destalking, the grapes are cold macerated prior to a cold temperature fermentation. Following a long maceration to achieve optimum colour and structure, the wine goes through a malolactic fermentation, to refine the wine, and to leave it with the necessary acidity to complete its American and French oak maturation, and subsequent bottle ageing prior to its release to the market.
Imperial Gran Reserva – CVNE
Until the end of the 70´s, the main varieties to be found in Rioja were Tempranillo (40%) and Garnacha (40%),the rest (20%) being Graciano, Mazuelo, other red varieties and even Viura. By the end of the 70´s Tempranillo gains priority.
Now days, from the 63,000 ha. of Rioja, 70% is Tempranillo, 11% Garnacha and 7% Viura.
The cask ageing periods until the 70´s was more than 6 years. Over the 70´s and 80´s the years are reduced.
C.V.N.E. has always been one of Spain's leading wine producers. Those who have been fortunate enough to taste the glorious and celebrated vintages of C.V.N.E. Imperial Gran Reserva like 1928, 1937, 1950, 1958 and 1964 have found the utmost satisfaction and perfection that can only be expected from the best names of the wine world.
In 1879, two brothers decided to set up a business in the newly flourishing trade of wine business. C.V.N.E., Compañía Vinicola del Norte de España (The Northern Spanish Wine Company) or la Cuné, as it is commonly known in Haro, was created.
The wines of this new bodega began winning gold medals and diplomas at the biggest international exhibitions at the end of the 19th century and soon Cuné was present on all of Spain’s highest regarded wine lists. It was one of the first wineries of Rioja to bottle its own wines.
In 1900, the winery had an extraordinary aging capacity of 80.000 bottles, which was most unusual at the time, as most wineries were selling their wines as soon as possible. The Imperial Reserva from its vineyards in the Rioja Alta is one of the big brands of Spain. It is a true classic in Rioja and was first produced in the twenties. Its name comes from a special bottling for the English market, in a measure called ‘Pinta Imperial’ or ‘Imperial Pint’ (an Imperial pint, half a liter approximately). From 1928 these wines could be found at top restaurants and shops all over Spain. The Imperial range includes a ‘Reserva’ and a ‘Gran Reserva’ and is only produced in exceptional vintages. The ‘Reserva’ rests a minimum of 24 months in oak barrels and one year in bottle, with the ‘Gran Reserva’ spending an extra 12 months in oak barrels and bottle. This adds smoothness, aroma, maturity and harmony to the wine.
Average age of vines: over 20 years old
Harvest method: hand picked
Ageing: 36 months in oak barrels and one year in bottle