2011 CVNE Imperial Reserva, Rioja, Spain
This wine is made from a selection of grapes from CVNE’s Rioja Alta sub-region’s vineyards around the village of Villalba in Spain.
They were hand-harvested in 30kg crates.
To counter the negative effects of heat during harvest, the bunches of grapes were cooled down before fermentation to better control the process without using too much additives and achieve a better extraction.
The fermentation was run in a combination of oak vats and stainless steel tanks.
The wine was then aged in American and French oak barrels for 2 years.
The final blend include 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, and 5% Mazuelo. A rather typical Rioja blend.
Like it’s usual in Rioja, to make sure the wines are rounded up and ready to be enjoyed, a further 2 years aging in bottle was given prior to releasing the wine on the market.
Of course this is the same producing winery and the same brand that the Wine Spectator magazine in 2013 ranked one the wines as number one of their annual Top 100 Wines list.
But this tittle was given to the 2004 Imperial Gran Reserva, a completely different vintage, and a Gran Reserva while the wine tasted here is Reserva (only, so less aging and less drastic grape selection).
Still, on paper, we’re talking here about one of the most famous and reputable brands and winery in the most famous wine region of Spain: Rioja.
So how good this 2011 CVNE Imperial Rioja Reserva really is?
The answer is in the tasting notes:
The wine is dark, dense, red.
Aromas on the nose are powerful, warm from intense ripe red fruits: cherry liqueur, blackberry, strawberry jam. You get the feeling!
It is also very spicy, black pepper and nutmeg lift the nose’s feel providing a spicy chili-like lift.
But this is not only your average jammy fruit bomb and spices, this is not ordinary Aussie Shiraz. An Old-World earthiness also shines through the aromatic profile and gives it a savory feel.
Oaky characters of vanilla, clove, and toasted wood complete the picture of a complex nose.
On the palate, flavors are equally as powerful, and complex too.
Tannins are dense and velvety. The body is full, with a sense of sweetness (though obviously it’s a dry wine) probably from some non-fermentable residual sugars and more importantly the ripe red fruit character.
Spices and oaky flavors also live frantically on the palate up to a long finish.
A powerful Rioja red, filled with ripe fruit and oaky tones. It feels classic in style as it’s exuberant, smooth, spicy and openly approachable. Yet there is a modern twist to the style from respected clean primary fruit aromas, an upfront character and a wealth of new oak tones.