2011 Cune "Imperial" Gran Reserva Rioja

SKU #1388479 97 points Wine Enthusiast

 This is a fabulous gran reserva from a very good but lightly heralded vintage. Aromas of spiced plum, black olive, fig, tobacco and cassis come together like a puzzle. A deep, pure palate shows near-perfect balance, while this tastes of plum, berry fruits and earthy spice. Smooth, elegant and chocolaty on the finish, this delivers all one can ask for from Rioja. *Editors’ Choice* (MS)  (2/2019)

94 points Vinous

 Vivid ruby-red. Highly perfumed aromas of red fruit liqueur, candied flowers, vanilla and incense; spicecake, vanilla and smoky mineral flourishes emerge with air. Palate-staining raspberry, cherry-vanilla and rose pastille flavors display excellent depth and energy, and a spine of juicy acidity provides added lift and back-end cut. Melds richness and vivacity with a sure hand and finishes with lingering sweetness, fine-grained tannins and a touch of smokiness. (JR)  (2/2019)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 I'm always looking forward to tasting CVNE's Gran Reserva bottlings, especially the 2011 Imperial Gran Reserva, as the year was highly praised, and I was very curious to see how it behaved. It's a classical blend of Tempranillo with 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo that matured in barrel for two years. It has good depth and complexity in the nose, nicely layered, very balsamic and tertiary. It feels elegant and harmonious. The palate is surprisingly fresh and vibrant, with finesse, freshness, fine and mostly resolved tannins and a fine thread of acidity that holds and lifts up the finish. (LG) 93+  (2/2018)

93 points Wine & Spirits

 Imperial focuses on CVNE’s bush vines in the Rioja Alta town of Villalba, including fruit from some mature parcels nearby in Briones and Montalvo. A blend of Tempranillo (85 percent), Graciano and Mazuelo, it ferments in French oak vats, then ages three years in French and American oak barrels, followed by long aging in bottle before release. In fact, it needs more bottle age, as the wine is reduced, with a rubber scent when first poured. That reduction doesn’t get in the way of the tense, purple-black fruit or the mineral power of the tannins. And by the next day, the reduction is gone, leaving a luxurious red wine in its wake, deep and silken, smoky and refined, while still tough in its structure. Built for long development in bottle, the top vintages of Imperial live for decades.  (12/2017)

K&L Notes

The historic, Haro-based winery of Cune produces Imperial Gran Reserva only in very good vintages, in limited quantities, and it is always their most structured and ageworthy cuvée. Based on high-quality Rioja Alta fruit, from their best vineyards, it is a wine that is one of the most iconic bottlings in Rioja, as its impressive presence of back vintages in many of northern Spain´s best restaurants certainly attests. A fantastic wine from one of the most important names in Rioja.

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Price: $74.99

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By: Joe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/31/2019 | Send Email
Cune's Imperial is always one of the Gran Reserva releases that I most look forward to. The profile, one might say over in Rioja, is "alta, alta" - meaning, it comes from vineyards in the coldest part of Rioja Alta. This is the epitome of structured, nicely chiseled, high-toned Rioja that is built for the long haul. I would concede that 2011 was a particularly warm and dry year, which from my experience really benefited Rioja Alta wineries that have the ability to select and blend from many excellent sites. Drinking beautifully now, this will continue to blossom in bottle and develop complexity over the next decade, while it will drink well and last well beyond that. A gran reserva that is not to be missed!

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