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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.
A typical vintage with unequal and heterogeneous maturation due to water stress and the lack of temperature contrasts between day and night. These conditions have strengthened the need to make a good selection in the vineyard and in the arrival of the grapes in the winery. The main characteristic of this harvest has been the excellent sanity of the grapes and the development of fermentations without incidences. Although the ripening has been a week ahead of previous years, the wines obtained are well structured, with high polyphenol contents and good color intensities, qualities that augur high quality wines.