Richard O’Mahony, Atlas’ co-founder, spotted an interesting parcel of mature Rioja in a double magnum format. Namely, the 2005 CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva at £150 per double magnum in bond.
Richard, in fact, tasted the wine en primeur in 2007 commenting in his notes: ‘a compact, dense, concentrated fruit core promising power and weight after the wine is finally bottled. The palate exhibits the trademark juicy, fresh, lifted quality of fine Rioja and the hallmark of the 2005 vintage seems to be an open, flowing nature in contrast to the drier, firmer style of the 2004s.’ The two critics we quote below confirm Richard’s early appraisal with the wine harnessing incredible depth, precision and sheer elegance.
Compania Vinicola del Norte de Espana may well be a familiar name as the company covers the qualitative gamut with four estates across Rioja. We will stress that both Imperial’s vineyards and winery are completely independent from CVNE’s other properties. Well established within the Rioja canon, Imperial has been producing wines since the 1920s and covers just under 30 hectares of vines in and around Rioja Alta, arguably the finest of the Riojas’ three sub zones. Here, the climate is influenced and moderated by the Atlantic ocean, allowing for fruit to achieve full ripeness while still retaining freshness.
2005 was rated as ‘excellent’ by Rioja’s regional authorities, the top rating granted to a given vintage – and one which is not handed out regularly. A blend of 85% Tempranillo along with 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo, the 2005 CVNE Imperial is aged in a complex regime of both French and American barrels, none of which are new. Having spent 36 months in oak (a full 12 months longer than required by law), this Imperial is full of vibrant dark fruit with a touch of sweet spice and toast. The 2005 has all the powerful and elegance one would expect from a wine and vintage of this calibre.
We include the notes below from Luis Guitérrez of The Wine Advocate as well as Josh Reynolds of Vinous Media, both of whom focus on Spain.
2005 CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva
£150 per double magnum in bond
Luis Guitérrez, The Wine Advocate
The 2005 Imperial Gran Reserva is firing on all cylinders. Smoked cured meats, balsamic notes of beeswax, antique shop and incense define the complex and elegant nose. The medium-bodied palate reveals an impressively powerful wine which manages to feel light on its feet. I needed to swallow a bit of wine to make sure; yes, it’s truly elegant and classic. This is a great wine, which transports you to the old Grand Reservas of yesteryear. It delivers great quality at a great price Drink 2016-2023.
Josh Reynolds, Vinous Media
Deep red. Heady aromas of cherry, redcurrant, vanilla and rose oil, with a smoky nuance and a hint of cured tobacco. Sappy, penetrating, appealingly sweet red fruit flavors put on weight with air while maintaining vivacity. This impressively balanced and focused gran reserva finishes with silky tannins and excellent cut and persistence. One for the cellar (September 13)
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