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Imperial is one of the great names in Spanish winemaking. It is a true classic in Rioja and was first made in the 1920’s. Its name comes from a special bottling for the English market made in a bottle size of a ‘Pinta Imperial’ or ‘Imperial Pint’ which is approximately equivalent to half a litre.
Aging in cask 24 moths and aging in bottle 36 moths before going to market. The grapes for Imperial Reserva come from our best and oldest vineyards around Villalba, Briones and Torremontalbo, and which are over 40 years old. Rigorous work in the vineyard followed by hand harvesting into 20kg boxes with exhaustive selection in the field ensured the collection of great quality grapes.
Once in the winery, the grapes were held in a refrigerated chamber for 24 hours and then subjected to a second manual selection on a selection table. To ensure gentle handling, the grapes were fed by gravity to French oak vats for the alcoholic fermentation.
Once completed, the wine was then aged in French and American oak barrels for 24 months, followed by another 24 months bottle ageing in our century-old cellars until being released to market.
Tempranillo is perfectly adapted to the 'terroir' of Rioja Alavesa where the
growing conditions are ideal. Furthermore, the Tempranillo grape is a variety with a unique capacity to produce wines which benefit from long barrel and bottle aging. Only in exceptional vintages can wines such as Viña Real Gran Reserva be created. The harvest has always been carried out by hand cutting. The time which elapses from the moment the bunch is cut to their arrival at the bodega has a very important effect on the quality of the wine.
The shorter the time, the better the chance that the wine will be high in quality. For that reason, in 1946 C.V.N.E. took the decision to give Viña Real its real home near the vineyards, where not only the wine is produced but also aged and bottled. Viña Real winery is composed of an enormous building in the shape of an oak vat, a building made out of red cedar wood from Canada and two enormous tunnels drilled inside the hill. The vat is divided into two levels, on the upper level is the vinification winery with its state-of-the-art technology, including the first two
vertical hoppers installed in Spain and the spectacular central crane for the use of gravity vinification.
On the lower level there is the circular barrel room. This vinification plant is linked to the bottling line and aging tunnels.
Once the grapes reach the cellar, they are placed in the vertical hopper, and then transported via a conveyer belt, which doubles up as a selection table, where less healthy grapes and leaves are manually and carefully extracted. The conveyer belt transports the whole bunches into a crusher-destemmer, prior to the filling of small mobile stainless steel tanks. These small tanks are elevated by a central crane that transportes the grapes to a
stainless steel vinification vat. This system is the least aggressive and most natural way of grape transportation according to C.V.N.E. As soon as the alcoholic fermentation is finished, the wine is transported by gravity into the tanks situated underneath the fermentation tanks and finally into the barrels. Viña Real Gran Reserva spends a minimum of 60 months in a mixture of American and French oak barrels and Burgundy-shaped bottles. Once the wine has been bottled, a further bottle aging is carried out in one of the underground tunnels, prior to being labelled.
In 1879, two brothers decided to set up a business in the recently flourishing trade of the 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.
Cuné currently counts with 125 years developing tradition, prestige, innovation and quality. Cuné’s 125th anniversary has been celebrated by the inauguration of the Viña Real Bodega in the heart of the Rioja Alavesa, in addition to the Real de Asúa project in Rioja Alta, Haro.
Although Cuné is still controlled by the direct descendants of the founding family (fifth generation), the company has been quoted in the Madrid stock exchange since 1997.
Tradition & Prestige
Cuné has been producing wines from the Rioja region since the 19th century, respecting the traditions it helped to establish.
The Cuné winery in Haro, is made up of a group of buildings, mostly from the 19th century and arranged around a courtyard surrounded by pavilions for the purpose of wine production, aging, and bottling.
Cuné is present in 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.
Tradition & Innovation
Although Cuné is 125 years old, one of its features has always been to innovate in the production process.
At the end of the 19th Century, the company acquired a pasteurizer “Malvoisin”, a revolutionary machine that placed Cvne at the pinnacle of innovation in the wine world.
On the16th of July 1941, the new vinification plant was inaugurated and baptised with the name “El Carmen”. It was the first vinification plant, made out of epoxy lined concrete, which was vastly copied. Nowadays, after the stainless steel boom, this material is having a renaissance due to its high neutrality and stable temperatures...
On the 12th of October 1989: The state of the art vinification plant was inaugurated and baptised with the name “El Pilar”. This winery was the first large production plant to handle
unfermented grape juice with real care. This was done by using small stainless steel tanks which are elevated by a crane in the style of gravity and therefore positioned on the top of a fermentation tank and flushed in order to break the cap of skins floating on the top of a fermentation tank. This practise eliminated the use of pumps and hoses in the vinification winery.
Cuné pioneered and developed this new revolutionary concept, which has later been copied by other wineries around the world.
In 1981, the first barrel fermented white Rioja’s were made by Basilio Izquierdo, Cuné’s head winemaker. These experiments gave way to the birth of Viña Real Barrel Fermented White.
1997-2000: Cuné develops an innovative method for piling casks in shelves, allowing the winemaker an easier access to rack wines and to check the progress of the aging evolution of wines.
Tradition & Quality
Cuné farms half of its grape crush. The remainder is purchased from long term growers from the Rioja Alta province.
Basilio Izquierdo, has been the head winemaker of the Cuné group of wineries since 1973, with Maria Larrea as second in command in Cune, Haro.
The first wine of this cellar was named after its initials. At the beginning a red ‘clarete’ wine was made as a fine wine in the style of the Bordeaux “Claret” produced by the great chateaux’s of the Medoc.
The red grape varieties planted are: Tempranillo, Garnacha, Mazuela and Graciano.
The white grape varieties planted are: Viura, Garnacha blanca (white) and Malvasía.
Imperial 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 after a special bottling for the English market, in a measure called ‘Pinta
Imperial’ or ‘Imperial Pint’ (an Imperial pint, half a litre approximately).
From 1928 these wines could be found at the top restaurants and shops all over Spain. It has always been characterised for its very high and constant quality, in every vintage.
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.