CVNE, Imperial Reserva, DOCa Rioja, La Rioja, Spain, 2010
This wine: a tempranillo dominated blend with graciano and mazuelo, reserva regs are a minimum of 1 year in oak (US and French used here) and 2 years in bottle, natural cork closure, 13.5% abv, Majestic Wine, £20 (2016)
Consumer tasting note: opens with toasty berries on the nose, spicy with vanilla and cinnamon, with some stewed berries, tobacco, sun-dried red pepper and liquorice; medium-full body, tannins need a little time to perfect, but does not affect drinkability now, on the palate more sweet spice, stewed red berries and a complementary edge of creamy black cherry, showing some interesting complexity and a medium-long length.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, deep intensity ruby, showing tears.
Nose: clean, medium (+) intensity, developing, with aromas as they come, of toasty ripe red and black berries – mostly ripe red cherry with some cooked strawberry and an elderberry/black berry edge, sweet spice, cedar, touch of vanilla, passing whiff of sulphur, some florality – peony perhaps, sweet tobacco, cinnamon, edge of liquorice, dried red pepper.
Palate: dry, medium acidity, ripe medium (+) tannins, medium (+) alcohol and a medium (+) body, medium (+) intensity, showing a sweetness of ripe fruit in mid-palate, with flavours of stewed red cherry and strawberry, touch of creamy ripe black cherry, sweet spice, cedar, toast, vanilla and coconut. A medium (+) length, with a clean stewed red fruit edged with vanilla and black cherry moderately grippy finish.
Quality: a very good quality wine, a little time is needed to round the tannins out further and for the toasty oak to integrate a little more, otherwise a good balance of tannins and acidity with flavour intensity and alcohol. Decent but not remarkable intensity on the nose, nevertheless showing signs of tertiary development with some complexity and decent concentration of flavour, following into the medium-long length.
Readiness for drinking/ageing potential: can drink now, but has the potential to improve with further ageing, over say 3-5 years, not more than that really as tertiary development is already underway, and whilst the structure is sound and tannins can evolve, the concentration of flavour and indicative length are not ideal.