Two recent CVNE Imperials (A Reserva and a Gran Reserva)

The Reserva 01 won out. Great bottle of wine, though the 98 GR is no slouch.

  • 1998 C.V.N.E. (Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España) Rioja Imperial Gran Reserva - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja (7/5/2010)
    Medium ruby color. Pungent nose began somewhat lactic, resolving into herbal and spice notes with macerated red cherry and strawberry and some tobacco leaf. Elegant, medium bodied on the palate with a strong acid spine and fine tannins. (91 pts.)
  • 2001 C.V.N.E. (Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España) Rioja Imperial Reserva - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja (7/3/2010)
    Deep ruby color. Elegant and very pretty nose of dark fruits, café au lait and spicebox. Medium bodied on the palate with fine, ripe tannins, great palate presence and some tobacco notes. This is hitting all the spots right now, just a great bottle of Rioja. (93 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

Now the question I’ve asked before: why is the 01 Reserva so much more expensive in the US than Spain? I’d think CVNE would have a decent distribution network across the pond …


Not sure why the price differential on CVNE wines is so much. What I know is that the wines had changed importers at least three times in the last decade and that the two previous importers did not do a good job distributing their wines (CVNE, Viña Real & Contino). A quick look at Wine Searcher and you could see the little amount of those brands in the US. Maybe with the new importer, Eurovin, things might change for the best.

Regarding the wines you had I feel the same way. The 1998 Imperial Gran Reserva is slightly herbal and does not have the complexity as other Imperial Gran Reservas of the past. The 1996 Imperial Gran Reserva, still available in the market, is a much superior wine than the 1998 and it is sold for the same price. I am patiently waiting for the 2001 version of the Imperial Gran Reserva to back up the truck although there is still the 1999 and the 2000 Imperial Gran Reserva in the pipeline before the 2001 Imperial Gran Reserva is released. I had the 2001 and the 2000 Imperial Gran Reserva blind side by side a few weeks ago and although both are drinking very well, the 2001 had much more of everything.

I had a fair share of 2001 Imperial Reserva bottles in Spain and the US and all of them have been very tasty. A solid wine that can be enjoyed now but will still be enjoyable a decade from now.

The 2000 Imperial Reserva is also a very solid performer and a superior wine than the 1998 Imperial Gran Reserva at a lower price point.


Thanks for the reply, José. We’ll be spending some time with Chus Madrazo later this week in Rioja and I’ll ask him about the importer situation.

I should also make clear that we tried these wines partly because they were available at local wine shops. I expect the 01 GR will be excellent, though as you note, it’s not yet available …


Hope you and Reme are enjoying your trip/vacation in Spain. Send my regards to Jesús and make sure you provide us with a Noel type report of your adventures in Spain.


Thanks, José. That’s a tall order – nobody does reports like Noel – but I’ll do my best …