CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva Rioja 2001
Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
Wine & Spirits - "Recently, Patrick Mata and Alberto Orte of Peninsula Wines held a tasting of Riojas they’d purchased at auction in Spain. The wines had been held in the cold cellar of Los Tamarises, the Lazcano family’s restaurant in Getxo, north of Bilbao; the stash included a number of Cune Imperial wines from the 1950s and ’60s, which turned out to be the stars of the tasting. They are selling those wines to restaurants here in the US, providing a rare opportunity to taste grand old Rioja. If you can’t find (or afford) one of those bottles, here’s the next best thing: A vintage of Imperial that will provide exceptional drinking for the next forty years. No exaggeration. This is the stuff. It has the cool presence of Villalba fruit, from the mountains lining the western reaches of Rioja Alta, and a deep, plump currant and fraise de bois flavor with a briskness to balance its meaty, mineral-driven tannins. A 2001 destined to become a coveted classic."
The Wine Advocate - "A more complex, better defined nose than 200, with black cherries, spice and Seville orange marmalade. The palate is medium-bodied, with fine tannins cloaked in sweet dark cherry, bitter orange and strawberry fruit. It is lighter on its feet than the 2000, with less persistence, yet it shows greater harmony and tension. this is a fabulous Gran Reserva with enormous weight and dimension. "
Wine Spectator - "Alluring aromas of spice, cedar and tobacco carry through on the palate in this supple, graceful red. Shows dried cherry, orange peel, vanilla and mineral flavors with light, firm tannins and racy acidity. Balanced and focused, in the traditional style. Drink now through 2018. 8,000 cases made"
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Cvné, is situated in Rioja in the traditional neighborhood of the station, where the oldest wineries of Rioja Alta established themselves, for the main reason of transporting their goods to the port of Bilbao.
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. This cellar still reflects the origins of the company and is kept in the traditional neighborhood of the Haro station.
The Cune 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. View all CVNE Wines
About RiojaView a map of Rioja wineries (ree-OH-hah) Spain makes some of the best Tempranillo-based wines in the world. Once the only DOCa (recently joined by Priorat in 2001), Rioja is divided into 3 sub-regions: Rioja Baja, Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa. There are 4 red varieties and 3 white varieties allowed in the Rioja DOC. Tempranillo definitely takes center stage, followed by Garnacha (Grenache)), which is sometimes added for body, then Graciano and Mazuelo (Carignan). The region also makes roses. For whites, the main grape is Viura (or Macebo), producing fresh, early-drinking wines. Malvasia, the grape that was once the most planted white, is found less often.
Notable FactsThe Rioja wine trade is somewhat confusing. Grapes are typically brought to a merchant's bodega from one of the 20,000+ growers in the region, or via a cooperative. The wine is then bottled and labelled by that bodega. Rioja's Consejo Regulador keeps track of all vineyards and bodegas to make sure they are following the DOCa regulations. Put in place to ensure quality, the system also controls prices.
As with the rest of Spain, the wine label may state Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva, depending on barrel & bottle maturation. Crianzas are usually found within two years of the vintage and offer fresh, ripe wines. Reserva and Gran Reserva will be found a few years after the vintage, as the bodega will be aging the wines in barrel and bottle before release. Both typically show more secondary characteristics of spice and oak ageing.
The most popular red varieties of Spain include Tempranillo and Garnacha (Grenache). Whites don't garner quite as much recognition, but there are some regional varieties not to be missed, like Albarino and Verdejo. The popular red regions of Spain include Rioja, known for its outstanding wines of the Tempranillo grape; Ribera del Duero, producing high quality reds from Tempranillo and Garnacha; Galacia, with the sub-region of Rias Baixas, home to the deliciously crisp and floral Albarino grape; and Priorat, a region increasing in popularity with its high-quality cult reds. Other regions of note are Rueda, growing the Verdejo grape, La Mancha, a wide desert region, covered in the most planted white variety in the world, Airen, and Jumilla, making wines based on Monastrell (Mourvedre).
Spain's wine laws are based on the Denominacion de Origen (DO) classification system, devised in the 1930's. A four tiered system, the most basic level is Vina de Mesa (table wine) followed by Vino de la Tierra (country wine), DO and at the top DOC. Currently, only Rioja and Priorat have DOC status, while over 65 DO's scatter the country.
Most DO regions are classified and regulated by how long they age the wines. On a red wine label, one may find the terms Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva, denoting the wine's barrel and bottle time. Crianza is usually two years between barrel and bottle (the time in each depends on the DO and/or the winemaker), Reserva up to 4 years and Gran Reserva 5 – 6 years. Classifications of each region and wine are controlled by the region's Consejo Regulador.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.