January 5, 2017

Imperial Rioja from CVNE

By In Wine To Try
We are going to leave the EU. Brexit is going to happen. Get over it. There will be wobbles and industrial troubles while the country re-adjusts I am sure. Time to grab the new opportunities (those that should arrive if Teresa May does the job properly). Wine prices will probably rise (29p a bottle by some estimates, 32% import tariffs imposed according to others) but exports will be cheaper as the pound falls. So opportunities await.

With the stripping away of European regulations one benefit could be the re-introduction of the Imperial Pint bottle for wine.

This old bottle size, lost to the UK in 1973 when metric measurements were introduced, stipulated wine to be sold in half bottles (37.5cl) and full bottles (75ml). The imperial pint at 56.8cl would sit between the two. Many consider the size to be perfect for sharing. While I’m not really advocating a return to lbs and other such measurements, the wine by the pint concept does sound rather good. 

“The bottle size was made popular in the UK by Winston Churchill, who believed pint bottles held just the right amount “enough for two at lunch and one at dinner”. Simon Berry, chairman of wine merchant Berry Bros & Rudd, has long been petitioning for the return of this bottle size.” Off Licence News

While it is the champagne houses who seem most excited by the prospect – Pol Roger could release pint bottles in time for Brexit and Veuve Clicquot might want to repeat their activities of the early ’90’s (when after five years of preparation to bring 50cl bottles to market the size was prohibited) – others might relish its return.

Take these two stunning Riojas from producer CVNE.

Imperial Rioja from CVNE

Imperial Rioja from CVNE

“Imperial is one of the renowned references in the entire history of Spanish winemaking. It is a true classic in Rioja and was first bottled in the 1920’s. Its name was originally adopted after a special bottling for the English market in a bottle called ‘Pinta Imperial’ or ‘Imperial Pint’ (an Imperial pint, half a litre approximately).”

The CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva 2008 is made from a mix of Tempranillo (85%), Graciano (10%) and Mazuelo (5%) has received 36 months of cask aging followed by 48 months in bottle before release. Its glorious. But expensive (£44.75 The Wine Society, Vivino, Hailsham Cellars, Tanners Wines, Village Wines, The Wine Reserve). Rather enjoyable with beef wellington I should add.

More wallet-friendly is the Imperial Reserva 2010 (£24.40 from Majestic, The Co-op, Waitrose, The Wine Society, Wine Rack, Hailsham Cellars, Bon Coeur Fine Wines, Brinkley’s Wines, The Wine Reserve, Vino Wines, Planet of the Grapes). Same grape mix as the Gran Reserva but receives 24 months of cask aging followed by 36 months in bottle.

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