Neal Martin writes in Wine Advocate: "The 2005 Imperial Reserva is a blend of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo. The fruit is fermented in large oak vats and aged for 24 months in new and second fill barrels, of which 60% are French oak, before aging for three years in bottle. The aromatics are powerful and broody, with blackberry, cranberry, kirsch and singed leather. It has impressive purity and focus, although it is still very primal. The palate is full-bodied, with a sweet, luscious entry and then layers of sweet dark cherry and cassis fruit that need a little more tannic grip. Yet there is certainly good persistency towards the finish, suggesting that there is substance here to age over 10 or 15 years. Drink 2013-2025+.
C.V.N.E. needs absolutely no introduction. It is seen as a bastion of traditional Rioja, and older vintages are revered (even though I myself found some of them rather enervated when tasting in London in 2009). The company owns Contino, which is run independently, as well as Vina Real."