Food & Drink

Sip the World’s Top Rated Wine at a Local Restaurant

And once you place the order, be sure and get some tapas and stay for a while.

The winery is Cune. The brew du jour? Rioja Imperial Gran Reserva 2004
The price of a bottle may also please you. Why is this wine the most special of all this year? Read on…

Cune (an acronym for Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España) was founded by brothers Eusebio and Raimundo Real de Asúa in 1879. Now one of Rioja’s most important wineries, Cune was among the 19th century producers that helped define classic Rioja, growing several grape varieties (predominantly Tempranillo), fermenting and blending the wines in large wooden or concrete vats, and then maturing them in barrel for many years before release.

Cune was one of the first bodegas to bottle and export its wines, and one of its earliest labels, which gained renown in the 1920s, was called Imperial. It was intended for the English market, and bottled as an “Imperial pint,” about 500ml. (There are actually two Imperial bottlings—Reserva and Gran Reserva. In general, Gran Reserva is made with fruit from older vines and spends extra time in barrel.)

The wine itself has maintained a consistent character. Imperial is rarely aggressive or musclebound, but it doesn’t lack structure or grip. New oak never protrudes, nor the oxidation that can result from excessive barrel aging. There is ripe fruit, but it is framed by spice and mineral notes. The wine never seems too young or too old.

“I think Rioja reaches full maturity much quicker than Bordeaux,” observes Urrutia, “but has the virtue of staying on its plateau for a very long time.” The 2004 Gran Reserva, aged in bottle at the winery, was released in the U.S. market in 2013 and, at this price…

Order a bottle during your next dinner or happy hour at Kansas City’s own La Bodega.