Imperial Reserva, CVNE, Rioja 2017
CVNEs Imperial wines have long been my benchmark Rioja, to which all others must be compared, so it comes as no surprise that yet again they have produced another absolute stunner of a wine with their Imperial Reserva 2017. Using fruit exclusively sourced from CVNEs own 40 year old plus vineyards all within the Rioja Alta region, the Imperial Reserva is primarily made up of tempranillo with just a few traces of garnacha and graciano.
No expense is spared in the viticulture or the winemaking in either time or cost and the results really pay dividends. From the very start, the nose is just so incredibly enticing, pencil shaving oak, the lightest scent of vanilla, crunchy red berried fruit and a warming earthiness and thats just the start. Dark black fruit follows with a real intensity, there are no rough edges here, just soft ripe tannins providing a lovely structure to hold and further escalate the wonderful purity of fruit within.
We have no doubt you could enjoy this wine with any food combination because it is so so drinkable but if you can find it, Iberico Pluma pork could really be a match made in heaven.
What do the critics say?
Reviews of the previous vintage;
"The 2016 CVNE Imperial Reserva is only made in fine vintages and 2016 was a corker. Made from hand-picked old-vine Tempranillo with a touch of Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano for seasoning, its rich and rounded with silky smooth tannins. Already extremely drinkable, it has years ahead of it."
Jonathan Ray, The Spectator Magazine
"The prototype of red from Rioja Alta could very well be the 2016 Imperial Reserva, fine, precise and powerful. The grapes for this cuvée were picked between October 10th and 25th, and it's a canonical blend of 85% Tempranillo and the rest Graciano, Mazuelo and Garnacha with 14% alcohol and balancing freshness. It fermented with their own Imperial yeasts in oak vats of different sizes and matured in French and American oak barrels for 24 months. This wine has a very defined style that should not change; it has more oak than the Asúa Reserva and is made with grapes not only from Haro but also from Torremontalvo, Villalba and Briones. 2016 was a cooler year, and the wines are fresher and balanced. This has the mushroomy touch from the old cave and plenty of tannins that are going to require powerful food and/or time in bottle. A classic among classics. Drink 2021-2032"
93 points, Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate