With Imperial, we strive to capture the essence of our soils and the meticulous care of our vineyards located in specific villages across Rioja Alta.
The grapes we use for Imperial derive from our own vineyards in Villalba, Briones and Torremontalvo.
In Villalba, we have the small Remedio and Encinas estates, located at altitudes between 550 and 650 m, close to the Sierra de Toloño mountains and in a climate with a marked Atlantic and continental influence. These estates account for 12 of the 42 hectares owned by CVNE in the village.
Torrentalvo is home to our San Quilez and Pico de Aguila vineyards, located at an altitude of 450 m and with a somewhat more moderate climate than the plots in Villalba. This accounts for 30 of the total 70 hectares owned by CVNE in the village. In neighbouring Briones, Imperial takes up 10 hectares (house vineyard).
All these vineyards are older than 40 years. The main variety is Tempranillo. However, other Rioja varieties, such as Garnacha and Graciano, are found in these calcareous clay soils, poor in organic matter. The vines are low-yield, head-trained and primarily south-facing.
The grapes are hand-picked in 20 kg boxes. The boxes are kept in a cold store for 24 hours to prevent oxidation, stabilise the colour and preserve the fruit’s aromas. Next, the grapes undergo a second selection process before being transported by gravity for fermentation in oak vats of varying capacities (80, 120 and 160 hectolitres), depending on the size of the estate. We use our own yeasts for alcoholic fermentation, selected from vineyards destined for Imperial wines. The maceration period lasts approximately 20 days, during which time we alternate different types of remontage, depending on how the fermentation process is developing and the wine samples tasted. Malolactic fermentation is carried out in concrete and wood vats, and the wine is then aged in American and French oak barrels (new or single-wine barrels). The wine from different vineyards is kept separately, with each estate being aged in the barrel that is the best fit for its organoleptic features. We carry out the final assemblage once the ageing process is complete before clarification and bottling.