NEW: Imperial Gran Reserva 2010
Spain remained one of our strongest performing regions in 2016 and with the continued flow of high-quality vintage releases, particularly from Rioja, it’s not hard to see why. This is a wine region that repeatedly defies belief with its quality/value ratio, delivering wines that drink brilliantly straight off the bat but which, at the top level, also have the potential to age gracefully for decades. The good news is that we are starting 2017 with another superstar Gran Reserva at a fantastic price – and in multiple fun formats.
One of the true greats of the region is CVNE, the Compañía Vinícola del Norte del España (the Northern Spanish Wine Company). Originally founded in 1879 in the town of Haro in Rioja by two brothers, the estate is still controlled by the direct descendants of the founding family. Since its inception, CVNE has been focused on the production and aging of high quality, distinctive wines and includes three wineries: Vina Real, Contino and Imperial. All three wineries have distinct philosophies, styles and are run as separate entities.
Imperial is one of the true reference points in the history of Spanish winemaking. Its name was originally adopted after a special bottling for the English market known as the ‘Pinta Imperial’ or ‘Imperial Pint’ (just over half a litre). The grapes to make Imperial have always come from the same 28 hectares of dedicated vineyards in Villalba (Rioja Alta), and selected vineyards in the nearby communes of Briones and Montalvo, where the vine age is kept to a minimum of 20 years to maintain quality. This is the beating heart of Rioja and truly is a wine to stack up with the greats from France and Italy.
2010 was a fantastic vintage in Rioja and should be considered as good as the already famous 2001 and 2004 vintages. However, very little stock remains for these and at around £500 per 6 bottles of the 2001 and £400 per 6 for the 2004, this new 2010 release is well worth picking up while stocks last…
- Sold Out!
Tasting Notes and Scores
We're in for a treat with the 2010 Imperial Gran Reserva, a classic among classics in a classic vintage. It's very spicy and still slightly oaky, with ripe fruit without any excess; it is a serious, somehow Bordeaux-like, less-perfumed red. The palate shows that seriousness, with some dusty tannins and a dry finish. The texture is a little earthy, very good for food. This could be drunk now, but I'd give it some time in the bottle. The oak feels very nicely integrated, less noticeable than in warmer vintages like 2009. A very good vintage for this bottling. The category that was close to disappearing ten years ago seems to be alive and kicking with 50,000 bottles produced in 2010.
- Luis Gutierrez, The Wine Advocate #226, August 2016