That the storied Rioja producer CVNE’s flagship wine, its Gran Reserva, is known as ‘Imperial’ is perhaps fitting. CVNE has, after all, been among the most stately of Rioja names since its formation by the Real de Asúa brothers in 1879 (thirty years later, its cellar was built by no less an architect than Gustave Eiffel).
The wine in question actually took its name not from any regal connotations, but from a special bottling for the English market known as the imperial pint. Nonetheless, CVNE, or Compañía Vinicola del Norte de España to give it its full name, has, over the last 150 years, established itself and its Imperial release as one of the benchmarks of Rioja wine.
We are delighted, then, to welcome Victor Urrutia, the winery’s CEO and a direct descendant of the founding brothers, to the Club to present a vertical tasting of the wine, stretching back almost half a century. Also in the tasting will be CVNE’s single-vineyard ‘Pago’ wine, La Virgen, and its tribute to the winery founders, Real de Asúa.
The Imperial Gran Reserva is produced only in exceptional vintages and is sourced from small plots of low yielding, 40-year-old bush-trained and dry-farmed vines. The vines, set between 550 and 650m in altitude, account for just a quarter of the vineyard area that CVNE owns in Rioja Alta. The wine is aged for a minimum of two years in new French and American oak barrels, before further ageing for a minimum of three years in Eiffel’s cellar. The wine is known for its marriage of finesse and power, and its prodigious ageing capacity.
Urrutia describes his mission at CVNE as twofold: ‘My ancestors worried about one thing only: making the best possible wine. I have added another concern to this (very short) list: to make our wines known across the world’. We invite you to join in the not-too-onerous task of helping him realise this quest…
The wines we will be tasting:
2020 CVNE, Real de Asúa
2020 CVNE, La Virgen
1976 CVNE, Imperial Gran Reserva
1988 CVNE, Imperial Gran Reserva
2004 CVNE, Imperial Gran Reserva
2012 CVNE, Imperial Gran Reserva
2016 CVNE, Imperial Gran Reserva
2017 CVNE, Imperial Gran Reserva
Tuesday 3rd October
St. James’s Room
18:30 – Glass on arrival
19:00 – Masterclass starts
20:30 – Masterclass ends
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