Cune Imperial Rioja was first produced in the 1920's as a bottling specifically for the English market, hence 'Imperial'. This 2004, a top vintage in Rioja, is released ready to drink but will certainly keep for another 5-10 years particularly as a magnum.
Drink now + 3 years
The Rioja region of Spain
Rioja has long held the crown as one of, if not the, most famous Spanish wine.
Sprawling for 120km along both sides of the bank of the Ebro river in northern Spain, the region’s name is actually derived from a combination of the words rio (river) and Oja, the name of a tributary off the Ebro.
Rioja is divided into three distinct sub-regions: Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa, and Rioja Baja.
Rioja Alta is has a large amount of clay in its vineyards and, much as the name suggests, the wines are at relatively higher altitudes. This has the largest vineyard plantings of the three.
The smallest area, Rioja Alavesa has terraced vineyards and feels less distinctly Spanish because of its very strong Basque influence, which can be seen not only in the language but in the local funding its wine industry has received, as the region boasts some state of the art technology and wineries.
The third region, Rioja Baja has soils that are also very compacted with clay and as the warmest of the three sub-regions, has wines that generally higher in alcohol.
Red Rioja is dominated by the grape variety Tempranillo, but blends seamlessly with Garnacha and Graciano, while Mazuelo (Carignan) is also coming back in favour, and as the internationalisation of the wine industries leaves no stone unturned, Cabernet Sauvignon can be found here too.
Rioja, as a wine style (as opposed to a region) is given various classifications, according to how long the wine has been aged; Crianza must be aged for a minimum of 2 years, one of which must be in oak; Reservas must be aged for at least 3 years, one of which must be in oak; and Gran Reservas, which are usually only produced in the best vintages, can only be released after ageing for 5 years, 3 of which must be in oak.
White Rioja is not uncommon either, an uncomplicated white wine that is largely made up from a combination of Viura (Macabeo), Garnacha Blanc and Malvasia Riojana and not does challenge the region’s red counterpart in terms of quality.
700 glasses of wine a day…is good for balance?
According to new research a compound found in red wine could help improve balance, but sadly for those looking for better levels of stability, the 700 glasses needed a day to achieve the effect would almost certainly lead to anything but a healthy equilibrium.
Rioja: The region and places of interest
Ahead of CellarVie Wines' focus on Rioja, we thought we would take a closer look at the region and its places of interest. Situated in the north, La Rioja is the smallest but arguably the most diverse region of mainland Spain and is located between Navarra and Pais Vasco to the north, Aragon to the east, Castilla La Mancha to the south and Castilla Leon to the west.
Salads & Vegetables
This wine would work well with a Thai style beef salad or a shredded duck equivalent. It suits most barbecued and grilled meats so a Mexican dish would work well.
Fish & Seafood
This wine is generally too heavy for fish and seafood.
Pasta & Other Sauces
Rich creamy sauces, such as cheesy carbonara, work well with this wine.
Casseroled game such as pheasant and venison work well with this wine but it is also perfectly suited to duck, beef, lamb and boar!
Herbs & Spices
The strong flavours of black pepper, garlic and chives make an excellent match for this wine. It would also stand up well against mint, rosemary and thyme.
Oaky wines can be tricky to pair but we think paprika flavoured foods would work well with this wine.
This wine works well with Brie, Camembert, Edam, Red Leicester and Chaume cheeses.