This year's Decanter World Wine Awards Regional Trophy for Red Rioja Gran Reserva over £15 went to C.V.N.E, Imperial, Rioja Gran Reserva 2007 (13.5%)

Tasted against:

  • Beronia, Rioja Gran Reserva 2007
  • Montecillo, Rioja Gran Reserva 2007

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‘Imperial is the expression of the best grapes from our best vineyards,’ says CVNE’s technical director Maria Larrea. ‘It shows our five generation-long experience where we have been making quality wines for over 130 years.’(CVNE, which in English stands for Wine Company from the North of Spain, was founded in 1879 by the Real de Asúa brothers and it is still family-owned today.)

Larrea, who trained at Montpellier University, is only the fourth head winemaker in CVNE’s history, joining the company more than 20 years ago. She oversees winemaking operations at all three of CVNE’s wineries (the other twobeing Viña Real and Contino).

This Trophy-winner – 85% Tempranillo from the best plots in Rioja Alta at 600m altitude – is the result of a vintage characterised by a rainy spring and a mild summer in which night temperatures were fresh, allowing for a slow and even ripening. Graciano or Mazuelo are also included.

The first vintage of Imperial was in the 1920s. The wine takes its name from a special bottling done for the English market in a bottle size called an imperial pint, which was 500ml in size.

Written by Decanter