2010 Cune "Imperial" Reserva Rioja

SKU #1221577 94 points James Suckling

 Lots of plum, chocolate and rose aromas. Licorice and cloves too. Very subtle yet rich. Full-bodied, very fine and balanced. Lovely firm and silky mouthfeel. It still needs some bottle age to soften but is already long and beautiful. Elegant. Drink or hold.  (7/2015)

93 points Vinous

 Saturated ruby. Spicy, intensely perfumed cherry and dark berry aromas are complemented by vanilla, potpourri and an exotic Indian spice quality. Smooth, round and concentrated, offering sweet, focused red and dark berry compote flavors lifted by juicy acidity. Appealingly sweet and broad on the impressively long, youthfully tannic back end, showing finishing notes of allspice, raspberry and bitter chocolate. (JR)  (11/2015)

93 points Wine Spectator

 *Top 100 Wines of 2015* Smoky and tarry notes give this rich red an austere character, but plum, licorice, soy and mineral notes promise an expressive future. The tannins and acidity are balanced and unobtrusive. Best from 2016 through 2030. (TM)  (9/2015)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 A worthy follow up of the 2008, the 2010 Imperial Reserva is the usual blend of Tempranillo with 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo (aka Cariñena) fermented with yeasts selected from their own vineyards and matured in American and French oak barrels for two years before being fined with egg whites and bottled unfiltered. This was a textbook Rioja Alta vintage that produced very balanced, fresh wines with plenty of stuffing. This is no exception, showing some fresh orange-peel notes intermixed with hints of leather, blackberries, cherries and pepper with the oak perfectly folded into the fruit. The texture is soft and the tannin fine-grained. It has good acidity and flavors that start to reveal some development and complexity, although this feels very young. A textbook Reserva with the ability to develop in bottle."  (4/2015)

92 points Wine & Spirits

 Red velvet is the first impression from this fine vintage of Cune’s Imperial. That tight weave and richness is detailed by scents of dried thyme, bergamot and layers of spicy umami tannins. Cool, round and supple, this has the balance to age with grace.  (12/2015)

K&L Notes

Cune is one of the legendary 19th century founded Rioja bodegas. Their Imperial bottlings are seriously structured and traditional; these are wines built to age. 2010 was a fantastic vintage in Rioja, a vintage with a nearly perfect balance of fruit ripeness, flavor intensity, and more than sufficient acidity to lend freshness and serious ageability. To be sure, the 2010 Imperial should continue to improve for quite a while.

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Price: $34.99

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By: Keith Mabry | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/31/2016 | Send Email
I'm such a huge fan of this classic producer. The 2010 lives up to the expectations of the vintage with its spicebox nose, roasted cherry fruit and subtle notes of crushed herbs. Full-bodied, beautifully textured, sweet fruit on the palate, this is such a fine wine now, but you know this has the distance to go 10+ years. Probably even longer. It's going to be hard to wait.

By: Illya Haase | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/4/2016 | Send Email
There is no other wine like the Rioja from Alta! The moment you pour the glass and it hits your nose, you know exactly where you are. Aromas of subtle spice linger in the glass. Violets, cinnamon and dried cherries are the benchmarks for an old world Rioja. As it is relatively young, the fruit is a little more seductive, but the underlying earth, leather and sweet crushed floral are the highlights. Rounded out by amazing acidity and polish tannins this is the ultimate food wine! Start out with Morcilla and end with a roasted leg of lamb. Nothing could be more perfect!

By: Diana Turk | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/31/2016 | Send Email
Beautiful bright magenta in the glass with a snap of bright cherry on the nose and black fruit throughout, this is classic Rioja from a celebrated property, and a great vintage to boot. Subtly herbal with soft vanilla notes and deft use of oak, Cune "Imperial" is smooth and dark - delicious without being cloyingly lush or overbearing. There is structure and spice, plus enough lift to keep things interesting. If possible, it was even better the next day, although I wouldn’t expect a bottle to last that long… Awesome buy.

By: David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/30/2016 | Send Email
I LOVE this wine for its ability to straddle the line between authentic, old school Rioja, and rich attractive opulence. Yes, it's built like the old school - dense dark aromas of tanned hide and tobacco, sweet herbs, and dense black fruit but it's never esoteric in the slightest. Balanced and full-bodied with a juiciness that keeps the dark aromas feeling fresh. The structure and length bode well for a long haul in the cellar, yet nothing sticks out or says, "I need more time." Everything is right there, right now. A wine that will undoubtedly serve you well over the course of this year and many, many more to follow.

By: Olivia Ragni | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/29/2016 | Send Email
Aromas of cocoa and baking spices lead to a palate of deep, dark fruits reminiscent of black plum and cassis. A backbone of graphite and fennel round out this supple and rich Rioja. Pair this with roasted red meats and enjoy!

By: Joe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/27/2016 | Send Email
This is a fantastic vintage of Cune's Imperial Reserva, possibly the best since the heralded 2001 vintage. Unlike that great vintage, 2010 was not quite so warm and dry, and this wine has a classic, spicy, fresh and firm quality to it. Aromas of spicy oak, dried coconut and blackberry fruit suggest classic Rioja Alta fruit sources , but perhaps brighter and with more lift this year. Upon further review, black cherry and cedar also enter the picture. The fruit flavors are pure, spicy, linear and intense. This is gorgeous young wine that will continue to impress for quite a long time (I'm talking well north of a decade.) Take note and buy accordingly!

Additional Information:



- A very important red grape varietal that's native to Northern Spain, grown across the north and central regions of the country. Low in acid and alcohol, with subtle strawberry, leather and tobacco notes, the grape responds well to oak aging and plays particularly well with others. Tempranillo is an important component, when combined with Garnacha, Mazuelo, Viura and Graciano, of Rioja, with the best examples coming for the cooler, higher-elevation regions like Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa. It is also grown in significant quantities in the Ribera del Duero where it is called Tinto Fino and Penèdes where it is called Ull de Llebre o Ojo de Llebre. Tempranillo hasn't gained a particularly strong foothold outside of Spain, achieving some success under the name Tinto Roriz in Portugal. There it is used as a component of Port and in the table wines of the Ribera del Duero and the Dão.


- With more land under vine than any other country in the world, Spain is the great sleeping wine giant. In recent years, a great deal of money and passion has been poured in the burgeoning Spanish wine industry, helping to improve quality among its vast array of wines from sparkling Cava to Sherry to Rioja Gran Reserva. The most important red-wine-producing regions are Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Navarra in the north and Priorat and Penedes in the northeast.


Alcohol Content (%): 13.5